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How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Interior Designer?

Did you know that hiring an Interior Designer is a lot like planning a vacation?

Watch my video below, where I show you how both of these things are a lot alike.

This is the most common question I get asked, and even though it seems like a simple question, the answer can be a little bit more complex.

Here’s the short & sweet answer: Interior Design is a custom service that is (usually) built around the needs and desires of the client. Since every client is vastly different and the jobs themselves can vary a lot, the way that Interior Designers work and bill for their time can vary on a case by case basis.

Instead of focusing on a fee, I suggest you focus on what you want to get out of the process and ask yourself more about the journey you are about to embark on with this Designer and/or Design Firm.

Most interior design project last between three months for a quick refresh, to more than a year for full interior architecture and building projects. As a ‘full-service’ provider, my team of pros stick by our clients throughout the process from beginning to end. As a client, that means that you really need to know, like & trust both your Lead Designer and the company or firm that they are working for.

The Designers’ portfolio of work is their virtual resume and will speak volumes about the depth of their knowledge, the breadth of their client list, and their powerful industry connections. A big part of what clients hire Designers is to have access to their connections to a trusted network of vetted professionals that can make completing the job and getting a fantastic result that they are beyond satisfied with into reality.

The Designer’s portfolio of work is their virtual resume, and will speak volumes about the depth of their knowledge, the breadth of their client list, and their powerful industry connections. A big part of what clients hire Designers’ for is their connection to a trusted network of vetted professionals that can make completing the job and getting a result that they are not only satisfied with, but love, much more likely.

An experienced Designer has been ‘in the trenches’ on many projects and has most likely seen similar issues and challenges on past projects. Knowing how to react or whom to call to fix an unexpected problem or issue is part of the value of hiring for experience, and can pay off in spades.

There’s a reason why this quote is so popular!

Not every job is a complex or lengthy remodel or building job, and often can be a simple refresh and even a virtual decorating job (*Important note* There IS a difference between an Interior Designer and a Decorator. A Decorator helps with the finishing touches of a space like color palette, artwork selection, furnishings, and drapery. They rarely manage construction or deal with plan sets, and so their jobs may be quicker and less expensive than an Interior Designer.)

When it’s appropriate to do a quick decorating job or get some assistance to purchase a few pieces of furniture, the investment you’ll make will be far smaller. Clients may even opt for a virtual interior designer/decorator to help them plan and purchase items. Sometimes these virtual designers will even provide a shopping list to help you do it yourself.

The most important advice that I can give anyone considering hiring a professional to help them with their home or office project is to have an open and candid conversation with the Designer and really lay your cards on the table. Be frank about your budget constraints, time limitations, and other considerations (and assumptions) because they will all affect the final result as well as impact who may be available to help you. The more honest you are in this process, the better the final match will be!


Have questions about a potential project? I love talking about design and will happily chat with you at no-obligation, to give you the best guidance and advice I can (even if it has nothing to do with working with my team!) You can reach me by emailing hi@designbossonline.com or schedule a consultation by clicking the button below.

Want to know about The Design Boss? go here> DesignBossOnline.com

Tamara Romeo is the Founder and CEO of two award-winning Interior Design firms in San Diego. Named one of San Diego’s top Interior Designers, as well as Business Woman of the Year, she has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of Interior Design.

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