Cost guides, Home Design & Decor, Painters & decorators

A Guide To Interior Designers Fees: How Much Do They Charge?

Hiring an interior designer is often a worthwhile investment. As part of renovating or decorating your home, they can help you to articulate your vision and inspire you with the possibilities to bring that vision to life. Not only that but they can manage all the little details that bring that something special to the décor.

interior design cost


At times one may find that their house interiors look dull and drab and well behind on latest fashions and trends that make the ambience look inviting and fresh. However, fortunately, there are solutions that will assist homeowners in transforming their outdated and tired looking house for the better and this is by redecorating their house with assistance of an interior designer.

This can sound like an extravagant option but nowadays there are several house owners who look out for professional interior decorators who can help them in configuring their homes with latest looks. Moreover, interior design cost is not as much as homeowners think of. As per house owners, interior designer fees are structured so as to assist you in paying for the things that you require and it spreads out the total cost over number of months that follow during project completion.

Remember, an interior designer is different from an interior decorator. The latter only has experience in how to improve the aesthetic qualities of your home – making decisions on colour schemes, wallpaper, flooring, lighting and other accessories.

What does an interior designer do?

An interior designer, on the other hand, understands how such aesthetic features match the structure and layout of the building; they are fully trained to re-design and oversee construction work expensive, so if you are merely looking for a few interior flourishes a decorator might do just as well. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare to hire an interior designer and get the most for your money:


 Firstly, it’s wise to draw up a realistic budget that won’t have you stretching your means and getting carried away. Once you’re set on this, think about the scope of your project – whether you want a complete interior overhaul or simply wish to refurbish a couple of the dullest rooms in the house – and start thinking about how much work your plan will require.

Choosing an interior designer

Secondly, you’ll need to decide if you are going to hire from within a company or look for an independent, freelance designer. The former usually comes with good references and is more liable for the quality of work they put in, but the latter might be more reliable (they will probably have fewer commitments to other jobs) and be able to fit their hours around your schedule – so think carefully about what best suits you.

Get some inspiration

Sensible and extensive preparation for the arrival of your interior designer might also help you save money. To get your ideas flowing you should look through household magazines, or visit showrooms and think about your own personal preferences in colour, pattern, fabric and styles and what is best suited to the atmosphere of your home. That way you can set out your vision clearly and firmly and the designer can get on with their work straight away rather than spend costly time talking ‘ideas’.

Collect samples

You will be paying for all the materials used as well, so it’s helpful to have examples of colours and fabrics you like before the initial meeting to avoid any unwanted purchases of items or paints you find too garish or unsuitable for your refurbishment.

Fee or commission

Finally, think carefully about whether to opt for a designer who works for a fixed final fee or one that works on hourly rates of commission. Although the former offers security and involves a one-off payment which rarely involves any extra costs, the latter can keep the designer more interested and motivated in your project – and if necessary can be readjusted to suit your budget.

Hiring an interior designer

while looking for an interior designer, you think about having a great reputation with someone and find a contractor who can work well with you. The most important feature that should be there in an interior designer is communication especially when one is trying giving a perfect look at their new rooms that suit their day-to-day lifestyle. There are few interior decorators who’ll initially offer a free consultation so as to assist you in getting an idea as to how they’ll work and what all you can expect from them.

Hence, take advantage of such meetings for asking questions that you have in your mind. These can include questions like will they give mood-boards, blueprints, and drawings, for instance? One also requires inquiring about fees that an interior decorator will charge and how they expect being paid. As per maximum interior designers work for hourly rates that are nearly Euro 60 though there are some who prefer taking a percentage of the final project cost- usually around 12% – 15%.

Benefits of interior designers

Interior designers have a wide range of skills. As well as being experts in selecting fabrics, ensuring the coordination of colors, they can also help to choose the best furniture, flooring and window treatments. They are often well versed in elements of interior architecture, able to provide drafting and drawing and other key services. An interior designer can help with space planning, barrier-free design, getting the best kitchen and bath design, arranging for custom cabinets and can even help with furniture design, furniture plans and lighting plans. In fact, they know everything you need to get great interior design for your home.

As well as their educational qualifications many interior designers also join professional societies. One of the key organizations is the American Society of Interior Designers, but there are more, and there is information about these later. In some states, your licensed or certified interior designer will be able to obtain the relevant building permits.

Interior Designer Vs. Decorator

Although many people assume that designers and decorators do the same thing, they are actually two very distinct professions.


In order to be a designer, they have to pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam which involves attending and graduating from an accredited college or university and then continuing to complete a design internship. Only then can they be eligible for an interior design license.

Designers will work with homeowners bringing with them their extensive knowledge of building codes, construction requirements and are current with architectural best practices. These unique skills ensure that you have a home which is both beautiful and functional. It is this huge range of expertise which means that it costs a lot more to hire an interior designer than it does to hire an interior decorator.


Decorators work in existing homes and help to provide a more aesthetically pleasing and updated décor. The decorators will work with what is there in terms of structure and they do not need any formal education or certification in order to provide their service and so will always be less expensive than hiring a qualified interior designer. They will recommend things like new colors and window treatments, but will not be involved with anything structural. They often provide the finishes touches to the home.

Interior design materials


Your room can be assessed on how things function regarding dimensions or space available but there are many who have important contacts with manufacturers and retailers that help them in acquiring discounted products on behalf of you thereby saving your from shopping hassles. The interior designing cost can be kept to a minimum if you select employing the right connections in the industry. The interior designer will also assist you in determining the best patterns, shapes, and colours for your ambience.

Why hire a professional?

There are a number of reason why homeowners employ a decorator or interior designer:

Saving time: Professionals know what to look for, where to look for it and have a lot of contacts in the industry. This makes it really easy for them to locate exactly what you are looking for meaning that you are not spending hours, days and weeks looking for those perfect decorative elements, and then having to set about comparing prices. When it comes to researching the benefits of different types of fixtures and fittings this is second nature to a professional.

They have all the necessary skills: Both designers and decorators are extremely knowledgeable. A good decorator is like an artist – with a great eye for colour and composition. A good decorator can make sure that they arrange furnishings both aesthetically and functionally in order to create a welcoming environment. An interior designer goes further; they can create a space that maximizes the use of acoustics, lighting, and temperature.

They have the necessary tools: Professional contractors bring all the equipment and materials they need with them. There is no need for you to worry about finding tools, products or equipment that are needed to get the project finished.

They make it simple: A renovation project can be complex, but because designers work alongside architects and builders and have a comprehensive knowledge of building codes, they keep things running smoothly and take the strain from you. Both designers and decorators can quickly identify and act to resolve or prevent problems. This means there are less costly delays that can really put a strain on your budget.

You should always make sure that you understand exactly what you will be paying for before you decide to hire an interior designer or decorator, If you are just looking for a brand new look for your living space then a decorator rather than a designer is probably the more cost-effective solution. However, if you are planning construction or have a complex project, a designer will be the best choice to keep the work on track (and budget), using their skills to plan and execute the work.

How to Prepare

An interior designer can work wonders – helping to bring your ideas to life and making your dream home a reality.   Make sure that you have thought very carefully about your requirements before you go ahead and hire someone. By planning ahead you will be able to let the designer know what your hopes and expectations are and will provide a basis for any consultation.

Things to consider:

Define your goals

If you are thinking about building an extension on your property then you will need to obtain the necessary planning permission as well as looking for a designer. If you are just wanting to change the colour scheme in your home then a decorator will be all that is required. If you have already set clear goals and know exactly what you want to achieve, it makes it a lot easier to hire the right person and helps the professionals know exactly what you are looking for.

Get inspired

Think about the sort of styles you love, and also the ones you really hate. Taking cuttings from magazines, or printing some images from the internet can be useful to give your designer an idea of what you are looking for.

Set your budget

Tell your designer from the start exactly what the budget limit it. This will make it a lot easier for them to research and buy suitable décor for your home.

Stay in charge

Ultimately this is your home and your project and only you know what your own preferences are. As a trained professional it is expected that your designer will make suggestions. However, if you don’t feel this matches your own taste say so. If you have any particularly strong ideas, for example, if you want to use sustainable timbers, or you want organic paints, then make sure they know this from the start.

Interior design labour

You finally need to check whether the project and labour management have been included in interior designing fees that is originally proposed by a prospective employee of yours or not. Few interior decorators only assist with planning stages hence one must confirm if they are employing someone who sticks with a project. In case this is not so, there will be few who’ll be ready to work for you with decorators, builders, or labours who’ve worked for you in past.

Interior designer cost

Hiring an interior designer can be costly but often the final result of a beautiful, tasteful and well- decorated home is something that many homeowners consider is well worth the interior designer cost. Of course, the cost to hire an interior designer can vary, and the factors that can affect this are discussed later.

How much do interior designers charge?

How much are interior designers supposed to charge? Now if you’ve previously tried to research interior designer’s fees online, then you will probably have found out what a herculean task it is just to get a basic understanding. The British Institute of Interior Designers asserts that there are no scales reflecting the fees to be charged and that fees are often charged according to the experience of individual designers or firms as the case may be.

The cost of your interior designer will be determined by a number of factors which includes experience, expertise, and the extent of the project and of course the budget of the client. The range of the designer’s services provided during the project may also have an influence on their costs. The fees may be determined based on the hours spent on the work or as a certain percentage of the total cost outlay of the project, or as a one time contractual sum.

How do interior designers estimate their fees?

Each interior designer has their peculiar style of work and may charge with those peculiarities in mind. The four main ways an interior designer could charge for the services they provide are discussed below:

The Room by Room Method: This is by far commonest method used to remunerate interior designers. Especially for small uncomplicated projects. £500 will probably be a starting point for the fixed fees a concept design per room fetches in the case of a small, simple home project, inclusive of the drawings and samples previously supplied.

The fixed lump sum: Here the fees are calculated as a product of the    hourly rate and the estimated time the project should take. This allows you to more efficiently budget.

Allowing, you to have an idea of the cost outlay from the start. This also allows for proper conceptualization of the project and segmentation into stages (e.g. concept design – detailed design – overseeing the project on site.

Time charge: this is another commonly used method of charging way of charging. This method allows for the inclusion of project management during the course of the project. Hourly rates usually start at £50 but can vary up to £150 per hour or more.

Percentage: Here the fees are worked out as a percentage of the total cost outlay of the project.

John Lewis’s home design advisors offer anything from a complete redesign to a seasonal update of one room, The firm will work closely with you to fashion out and create a unique finishing and outstanding experience while at it.  You can book a free in-store appointment, or opt for a more in depth home consultation for £250.

Laura Ashley’s design service brings their unique service to bear by starting with a home consultation with an interior designer, who’ll display, the appropriate swatches, catalogues and sample books, answer your questions at a very reasonable of £100 for two rooms and £200 for the bigger projects.

When Do You Pay an Interior Designer?

Before work starts you will want to sign a contract with your interior designer. The contract will provide exact details of the work you are commissioning, the complete cost and when payment should be made. Be sure you completely understand what your designer is charging for each service before you go ahead and sign your contract.

Always keep your eye on the costs especially if you decide to make changes to the project part way through. You may be tempted to swap something like a flooring material. In some extreme cases people have even decided to scrap a plan in its entirety and ask the designer to rethink an alternative. These sorts of changes will cost you time and money.

It is usual for an interior designer to request an upfront payment before they get started on a project. The follow-up payments are usually made as project milestones are achieved. These vary so be sure to check with your own designer so you are aware of the payment schedule for your work.

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