Americans used to be free to practice interior design work and succeed or fail based solely on their skills. But, to the detriment of consumers and would-be entrepreneurs, that is changing. The American Society of Interior Designers, an industry trade group, would like state governments to define what it means to be an interior designer and then dictate who may perform that work. The group and its allies have successfully lobbied 22 states and the District of Columbia to impose stringent education and training requirements that create a single route to practicing interior design or to using titles associated with interior design work.
Drawing upon national census data, this report finds that interior design regulations not only create serious barriers to entry for entrepreneurs, but also raise costs for consumers.
We find evidence that in states where interior designers are regulated, consumers are paying higher prices for design services, fewer entrepreneurs are able to enter the market, and blacks, Hispanics and those wishing to switch careers later in life are being disproportionately excluded from the field.
Specific findings include: