Is Home Furnishings a Good Career Path? What It's Really Like

Published November 23, 2021
Home Furnishings Career

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in home furnishings? If you like the idea of helping people select and purchase the items they need to make their home cozy, comfortable, and functional, this may be an interesting career path for you to pursue. Learn about some of the different types of jobs and opportunities in this profession so you can decide if it's a good fit for you.

Interior Designer

Interior design tends to be the highest-paid occupation in the home furnishings sector. They recommend, select, and arrange furniture on behalf of their clients, and provide other services related to the decor and safety of interior spaces. Most interior designers work for design firms or architectural firms. Some work in high-end furniture stores or do home staging work. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to work as an interior designer. A few U.S. states require interior designers to be licensed. They are Florida, Louisiana, and Nevada. In some places, interior designers must be registered with their state; others encourage voluntary registration. The median annual compensation for interior designers is over $57,000 per year.

Residential Furniture Salesperson

The most common way to enter the professional side of the home furnishings business is as a sales representative at a home furniture store or showroom. People who do this work perform inside sales in a retail environment. They interact with customers who come to the store looking for furniture. They work with customers to find out what their needs are, and recommend suitable items that the store has available or can order. This job does not require specialized training, but it does require sales and customer service skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean earnings for retail salespeople in the home furnishings sector is around $30,000 per year.

Inventory/Order Clerk

Some furniture stores also have inventory and/or stock clerks on staff. They are responsible for clerical tasks associated with inventory and delivery. For example, they use the computer system to verify product availability, place orders with suppliers, and communicate with customers about product arrivals and/or delays. They also coordinate delivery times with customers and prepare the delivery schedule and route for drivers and laborers. This job does not require formal education, though being analytical and organized is a plus. BLS indicates that the median pay for inventory and order clerks in home furnishing stores is around $29,000 per year.

Freight/Material Mover

Getting furniture from manufacturers to warehouses or stores, then from there to customers' homes, requires manual labor. There are opportunities for laborers and delivery drivers to work in the home furnishings industry in jobs that require moving, loading, transporting, unloading, and setting up furniture. These jobs are physically demanding and require the ability to lift and carry large, heavy items. Some positions require the ability to operate a forklift and/or to drive a panel delivery truck. According to BLS, the mean pay for these jobs is around $29,000 per year.

Furniture Store Manager

Like other retail establishments, furniture stores have managers on staff. Most stores have a general manager. Large stores and retailers that are open extended hours may also have assistant managers, shift supervisors, or managers who oversee specific functions, such as sales or the warehouse. In a home furniture store, managers are responsible for overseeing all staff members and handling the day-to-day store operations. For example, they handle hiring, scheduling, facility management, budgeting, and other related operations. BLS indicates that the median pay for furniture store managers is around $50,000 per year.

Furniture Manufacturer

Not all home furnishings jobs are in the retail sector. Someone has to make the furniture that is sold in stores; that is what people who work in furniture manufacturing do. People who work in furniture manufacturing typically work in large factories. Jobs tend to be specialized, such as roles specific to furniture assembly, furniture finishing, or upholstery. These jobs require specific trade skills, which can be learned in trade school or, in some cases, on the job. The average hourly wage in furniture manufacturing is $24.75 per hour, across all jobs. When supervisors are removed from the calculation, the average wage is just over $20 per hour.

Home Furnishings Industry Considerations

If you like the idea of working in manufacturing or retail, the home furnishings industry is a good one to consider. The home furnishings market is growing on a worldwide basis. According to a 2021 Research And Markets study, this sector is expected to grow from worldwide sales of nearly $373 billion in 2020 to more than $481 billion in 2025. While many aspects of the retail sector are suffering due to drastic increases in customer reliance on online shopping, that is not the case in home furnishings. This is likely due to the cost and difficulty of shipping large pieces of furniture, paired with the fact that it is difficult to gauge the quality of furniture via a virtual storefront. If you're ready to begin your home furnishings career, there are definitely some interesting options to consider.

Is Home Furnishings a Good Career Path? What It's Really Like