When it comes to interior design, there’s no such thing as an average budget. Some of our clients spend less than $10,000 to revamp a room, while others think nothing of investing five figures for a complete luxury redesign.
Interior designers structure their fees a variety of ways. As with other professions, fees are calculated based on a number of variables, including years of experience, geographic location, client demand and professional reputation. The most common fee structures include:
- Hourly rates - Some designers charge based on the time they spend on the project. However, hourly rates can vary dramatically. Young designers might charge as little as $50 per hour, while seasoned designers who specialize in luxury homes might charge $500 an hour.
- Flat fees - Some designers will set a fixed price at the beginning of the project. This typically covers everything design related, from initial planning to final installation. However, it does not cover the cost of items purchased or expenses such as travel costs.
- Percentage of the project - With this formula, the designer’s fee is a percentage of the total project cost. The designer calculates how much was spent on furnishings and services, then adds a percentage markup.
- Cost-plus - In this case, the designer buys all furnishings and materials at a discounted rate and then sells them to you at cost plus a preset percentage increase to cover their fees. In most cases, the total end price including fees is equal or less to the retail price of the items.
- By the square foot - This is less common, but it does exist. Designers charge based on the square footage of the project.
In many cases, no matter how the project is billed, designers will also charge a retainer. This means a set fee is due up front to cover initial design work. Once the retainer money runs out, you will be billed for additional charges.
At Elements of Style, we charge $750 for the first meeting and fixed design fee of $175 per hour thereafter. Typically, a retainer is due upfront based on the number of hours the job is expected to take. Goods are billed at the wholesale price, plus a small markup for commission, but we never buy anything until you sign off on the price. Prior to starting a job, we always take the time to understand your budget and limits.
How to Save Money on Interior Design Services
Hiring an interior designer doesn’t have to break the bank. Hiring a skilled professional is worth the investment, but that doesn’t mean you have shell out more than you’re comfortable spending. Here are our best tips for keeping your spending in check while also getting a beautiful design.
- Know what you want - Designers are paid to help you create a beautiful space, but they can work better and more efficiently when they have an idea of your style and what you envision. Having an idea of what you want in advance speeds up the process and saves money in the long run. Our best work happens when the homeowner is upfront.
- Set a budget in advance - Never go into a design project without setting a budget first. This is a slippery slope for spending too much. Decide what you can afford and make sure the designer knows your limit.
- Repurpose old items - A little creativity goes a long way toward saving money. If you’re on a tight budget, ask the designer about the possibility of reusing or repurposing some items you already own. Can an old coffee table be refinished or an old chair recovered? Are there antique or interesting decorative items around the house that will work with the new design?
- Consider just a consultation - Don’t assume that you have to hire a designer to handle to process from start to finish. Some designers are happy to do a few hours of paid consulting to offer tips and advice. We believe even a few hours with a designer is money well spent.
Jessica Dauray Interiors is a full-service, residential and commercial interior design firm with offices in Greensboro and Wilmington, North Carolina. Founder, Jessica Dauray and her design team specialize in custom interior design, as well as renovation and new home construction project consulting and management. JDI' unique interiors can best be described as livable and sophisticated. The designs incorporate classic, clean lines that function to fit your family's lifestyle and design aesthetic. JDI's projects include residences and corporate interiors throughout the New York Metropolitan area.