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January 11, 2023

Consultation fee for interior design


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What Is The Role Of An Interior Designer?

Interior designers enhance the interiors and occasionally the exteriors of a building. Their job is to create functional, aesthetically appealing, and safe spaces. Researching, planning, designing, and supervising the layout and design of the project is part of their job – all this while keeping the client’s budget in mind. 

Interior designers work with homeowners, architects, builders, and corporations. And their projects range from simple home decorations and remodels to large commercial projects.  

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What Factors Could Influence Interior Design Costs? 

There is no straightforward answer to how much a designer will charge you for their services. We could give you a rough range, but honestly, several factors are at play here. These factors help determine the final cost and could vary from project to project. 

Experience Counts – A designer’s experience level defines their value in the market. A novice will charge you a nominal fee, but you could run the risk of dealing with incompetence. 

Building Size – Some designers charge by room or based on square footage. In this case, bigger rooms could cost more than a smaller room. 

Project Scope – Projects where designers charge you by the hour – a big room with lots of repetition can lower the overall cost as compared to a smaller room with customized design requirements.

Quality of Products – This is a no-brainer – the higher the quality of the products – the higher the cost. Although, bear in mind better quality products last longer and will save you more money in the long run. 

Location – The higher the valuation of your residence, higher will be the cost of your interiors. This works both ways because once you work on your interiors, the valuation of your home automatically shoots up. 

Before getting into the pricing aspect, let’s first break down the responsibilities of an interior designer. This will help you understand a designer’s pricing structure better. 

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What Are The Responsibilities Of An Interior Designer?

Here is a walkthrough of the duties an interior designer has to fulfill and what clients can expect from them:

  • Firstly, an interior designer would try to understand the requirements and specifications of their clients. This includes learning the client’s vision, design style, goals, and timeframe.
  • Site analysis is another preparatory phase of design. Here the designer visits the location to gain an authentic and accurate spatial experience. The orientation of the building is taken into account, and all the dimensions are jotted down. They analyze user movements and patterns, which enables the designer to think of interiors that are sensitive and responsive to the space. 
  • After conducting the analysis, designers work on a concept, make rough sketches, and use visual aids to illustrate their preliminary designs to the client. Clients then give feedback and express their likes/dislikes giving the designers more clarity.   
  • Designing the layout of the space based on its function and the client’s preference is the next step. 
  • Determining the materials, furniture, accessories, and other decor pieces is crucial. The design team researches materials based on the client’s specifications and budget. Once the selection is complete, orders are placed for the materials.   

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  • Sometimes designers prefer to shop with their clients, which provides them a unique insight into the client’s personal tastes. But if the client has hired a full-service firm, the items for the projects are sourced by the design team, and the client won’t have to make time for decor shopping. Until and unless the clients are particular about choosing statement pieces like wall art and sculpture.    
  • Various design applications are used to design and demonstrate the final look. And these final design ideas are presented to the clients for their approval. 
  • Once the client approves the final plans, the on-site work commences. Interior designers will collaborate with painters, builders, architects,  and engineers for the smooth completion of the project. They will be required to frequently visit the site to oversee painting, wallpapering, electric work, plumbing, and carpentry – installation of materials, furniture, and other decor elements. 
  • Once the project is complete, the designer sets up the furniture, lighting, and other decor elements. And invite the client to take a look at the finished space. If the clients have any complaints or concerns, the designers work on fixing the issues as soon as possible.

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How Much Do Designers Charge?

Different design firms opt for different methods when they bill their clients. This purely depends on the scale and requirements of the project and the design firm’s standing. Listed below are some of the common billing methods. Designers can stick to either one method or apply a combination of these methods depending on the project. 

Consultation Fee 

This is the preliminary phase, where the designer dedicates their time to figure out the client’s requirements, tastes, and goals.   

Billing By The Hour 

Compensating for the designer’s time is a standard method. This method works for small or individual projects. Most small firms and independent or freelance designers follow this approach. The charges are levied for a designer’s consultation time and design services. And the rates are decided based on the experience level of the designer. 

Additional charges will be billed on an invoice for procurement of raw materials, material and furniture purchases, and coordination charges (which includes site visits, additional travel, communication time, etc). 

It’s a good practice to check for line item charges when signing a contract with your designer. This will give you better clarity on all the extra service charges that will be included, along with the designer’s fees. 

Billing Per Square Footage

This billing structure is often used for larger projects like commercial or hospitality-related projects. Unlike the previous method, additional service charges like the cost of purchases and coordination charges aren’t added to the bill separately. Thus, this billing method works for large-scale projects where customization is minimal.  

The design cost depends on the square footage of the project. The rates could be higher for luxury homes. 

This pricing structure is convenient if you are getting a section of your house redone or only a particular room. It could also work for your entire house remodeling if you are not up for individual pricing of various services and materials.  

Billing Per Room 

The size and use of the room will help determine the number of furniture and other materials that need to be purchased. The design will decide the complexity of the project, the quality of furniture to be used, and the amount of time that will be spent managing contractors. These are crucial factors that determine the cost of designing a room.  

Thus, applying a flat rate for a project is not common practice. However, some companies, especially larger ones, might favor this system, and they consider the size and usage of the space to generate a flat rate per room.  

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Compensation Methods

Designers are compensated in various ways, including taking a percentage of the total construction cost, using a cost-plus method, or charging a commission on purchases. The payment schedule is tailored to align with the project’s progression, with cuts taken at various stages of construction.

The percentage of construction cost method is a common approach for large-scale residential projects where a contractor is involved, and significant coordination is required on-site. Designers who handle renovation projects or oversee the construction from start to finish often prefer this method. They charge a percentage of the construction cost, but this does not include the contractor’s fees.

The cost-plus method involves the designer charging the client for all expenses incurred for the project and adding a percentage, as agreed upon with the client, to the final cost.

Sometimes, designers charge an hourly rate and a separate commission on purchases. They purchase materials at a discounted rate and charge clients the retail price as compensation for the coordination and effort involved in the purchasing process. Some firms may charge a higher commission on top of the retail price, which is reflected as a separate line item on invoices, often referred to as purchasing fees. It’s important to have a clear understanding of each firm’s unique approach before signing any contract.

Do You Need An Interior Designer? 

When decorating one’s personal space, everyone wants to be a designer. Easy peasy DIY youtube tutorials, those impressive Pinterest boards on home decor, and the numerous online furniture stores are all too tempting to skip hiring a designer and wearing the hat yourself. However exciting the idea of decorating your home may sound, we strongly believe in letting professionals handle this business. Here are some reasons why we recommend hiring an interior designer:

Time Saver   

Decorating a space can be time-consuming. It involves a ton of research work. Having a decent knowledge of different decor styles reduces the time spent figuring out what looks best. As professionals, interior designers can work swiftly and manage multiple complex projects. Clients are expected to do basic research to communicate smoothly with their designers. 

Access to Resources 

Interior designers have their trusted network of dealers, masons, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians. They can guarantee the quality of their work and save you the hassle of finding the perfect raw materials and people for the job. The workers use modern tools and technology to speed up the process. These tools are expensive for homeowners and aren’t easily available. The workers also adhere to tight schedules and guarantee quality work each time.      


Won’t Stray Away from the Budget

A designer won’t indulge in impulsive purchases. They stick to your budget and pick items essential for the project. They are aware of all the best deals and work with their vendors to find you quality products at reasonable prices. Even though you have to spend on the designer’s fees, it is worth it as it avoids all the unwanted expenses.

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Interior designers are trained at their job. They visualize a space differently from non-designers which helps them produce creative and cohesive spaces. They have a good knowledge of different designs and can mix these styles effortlessly to suit your space. They also pay attention to all those minute details that non-designers might overlook. This knowledge and expertise help create a safe environment with error-free construction.    

Increase Your Home’s Value 

A well-designed home creates a good impression on potential buyers. If you are planning to sell your home and need to renovate your space, employing a designer is a good idea. They can make your home look spacious and transform the overall look. Even if you have no intentions of selling your house soon, maintaining your house and periodically indulging in home improvements can benefit you eventually. It will reduce the overall cost spent on renovation and fetch you a good deal in the market.  


In short, hiring a professional saves you time and money. Plus, you don’t have to fret about finding the right resources or the final outcome.  


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How to Find the Right Interior Designer?

Before you start your hunt, you have got some homework to do. Evaluate your budget for your project. This will help you narrow down your search. Make a list of needs, wants, likes, and dislikes. Have a decent understanding of different interior styles (a google search would suffice) and find out what styles speak to you. Remember, the more work you do in advance, the less time your designer spends on your project.  

Once you have your preferences figured out, you can start looking for designers. Asking for referrals is the easiest and safest way to finding the right fit for your job. Else, you could search on social media like Instagram and Pinterest. You can find someone who is well versed with your decor style – look up their portfolio or uploads of their previous work to get a better idea. Alternatively, you could visit their showroom (if they have one) and look at the displays to get a feel of their sense of style and quality. Online reviews and ratings on Google should give you a better idea of their professionalism and personality. It’s important that your personalities are compatible and communication is crystal clear for them to emulate your style through their design. 

Margarita Bravo Green Interior Designer

Margarita Bravo

Denver’s Best Interior Designer

Margarita is a luxury interior designer and decorator, remodeler, furniture curator, and creator of experiences. Margarita’s unique skill set has evolved from her strong educational background and European and Latin American sources of inspiration. Now with design studios in Denver, Miami, Montecito, Aspen And Barcelona.