How much does an interior designer or decorator cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does an interior designer or decorator cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does an interior designer or decorator cost?

$50 – $200consultation fees per hour
$450 – $1,500cost per room (design only)
$5 – $12cost per square foot (consultation, design work, & furnishings)

The average cost to hire an interior designer is $5,406 with most homeowners spending between $1,893 to $11,180. Hourly rates range from $50 to $200 on average or around $5 to $12 per square foot. For furnishings, expect to pay cost-plus, which is 17% to 45% over retail prices.

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$50 – $200 consultation fees per hour

$450 – $1,500 cost per room (design only)

$5 – $12 cost per square foot (consultation, design work, & furnishings)


The average cost to hire an interior designer is $5,406 with most homeowners spending between $1,893 to $11,180. Hourly rates range from $50 to $200 on average or around $5 to $12 per square foot. For furnishings, expect to pay cost-plus, which is 17% to 45% over retail prices.

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tom Grupa
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Tom Grupa

Cost to Hire Interior Designer or Decorator

The average cost to hire an interior designer is between $50 and $200 per hour, in addition to the cost of furniture and accessories, which is marked-up based on their fee structure. Most spend $1,900 to $11,200, or $5 to $12 per square foot for consultation, design work, management, and furnishings.

Average cost to hire an interior designer - chart
Average cost to hire an interior designer - chart

A home designer charges based on what the client needs and their fee structure—a fixed rate or per room, by square feet, per hour, per day, per furnishing, or as a marked-up percentage of a contractor’s or builder’s charges (if working in tangent with a general contractor).

Interior Designer Cost
National Average Cost $5,406
Minimum Cost $449
Maximum Cost $50,000
Average Range $1,893 to $11,180

Interior Design Price List

The cost to hire an interior decorator is also affected by the look you want to achieve, as luxury décor and specialty contractors cost much more than widely available ones. Many homeowners on a budget hire an interior designer to draw up remodeling and decorating plans and oversee the rest of the project on their own.

Here's a typical price list of what to expect:

Interior Design Price List
Charge Type Cost Range Average
1-Hour Consultation (In-Home) $50 – $450 $200
Per Hour $50 – $450 $150
Per Square Foot $5 – $17 $9
Per Room (+ Furnishings) $1,000 – $12,000 $3,200
Per Room (Design Only) $449 – $1,499 $975
Cost Plus (Designer’s Markup) 17% – 45% 30%
Markup on Retail 10% – 35% 22%
Percent of Construction Cost 10% – 30% 20%
Average Total Cost $1,893 – $11,180 $5,406

Whether you’re doing an extreme remodel or just a cosmetic update, an interior designer can help pull together a seamless look with the perfect blend of paint colors, furniture, window treatments, and accessories to complement the use of the room and expected traffic flow.

The designer might suggest bigger projects like knocking down walls, changing the floor plan, installing bigger windows, or raising ceilings.

How Much Do Interior Designers Charge?

Interior designers' rates vary based on the room, the size, the level of luxury needed, and their own experience and portfolio. Larger firms may charge in multiple ways on the same project, adding other service fees to the home design fee.

Interior Design Fees Structure

Interior Design Fees Structure
Fee Structure Details
Designer's Experience Junior Designer $
Average Designer $$
Principal Designer $$$
Purchase Fees Different percentages on top of the cost of items like rugs, lamps, sofas, etc.
CAD Drawings CAD and architectural drawings cost extra.
Management Fee Typically 25% of the job
Travel Fees ½ of the designer’s hourly rate
Reimbursable Expenses Proven with receipts for out-of-pocket expenses

Interior designer shows samples of fabrics and accessories for window treatments
Interior designer shows samples of fabrics and accessories for window treatments

Also, each interior designer structures their payment schedule differently:

Interior Design Payment Structure
Payment Structure Details
Retainer or Deposit Nonrefundable upfront deposit of 10% of estimated project cost.
Design Fee Installments 1 @ 50%
2 @ 10%
3 @ 15%
4 @ 15%
Product Deposit Firms may require 50% deposit for furnishings they will purchase.
Late Fees X% per day / week / month

Interior Design Consultation Fee

Most interior designers charge an initial consultation fee of $50 to $250, which is usually for an hour of the designer’s time. During the consultation, the designer will ask questions about your tastes, likes and dislikes, and budget.

After the consultation, the designer will put together ideas for each room. Decorators usually offer one to three design ideas for each room to give you choices. Once you have the design ideas, you can hire contractors and buy furnishings yourself or leave everything in the hands of the designer on a cost-plus basis.

Interior Designer Hourly Rate

Interior designers hourly rates are $100 to $200 on average but can range from a minimum of $50 per hour for a junior designer up to $450 an hour for an experienced designer or principal of the firm.

Interior designer hourly rates - chart
Interior designer hourly rates - chart
Interior Design Cost Per Hour
Charge Type Cost Per Hour
Junior Designer $50
Average Range $80 – $200
Top Professional Designer $450

In addition to an hourly rate, designers may charge for travel, deposits, communication minutes, and purchase fees. This itemized method is typically used for smaller projects. Ask about line item charges before you sign any contracts.

Interior Design Cost Per Square Foot

Interior design costs $5 to $17 per square foot (or more for high-end homes), with most homeowners spending between $7 and $12 per square foot. When working on an entire house or a good portion of it, pricing by the square footage is easier than pricing everything out separately.

Interior Design Cost Per Square Foot
Square Feet Average Cost
1,000 $4,400 – $12,400
1,500 $6,600 – $18,700
2,000 $8,800 – $24,900
2,500 $11,000 – $31,000
3,000 $13,100 – $37,300
3,500 $15,300 – $43,500
4,000 $17,500 – $49,800

Interior Decorating Cost Per Room

Interior designers charge $1,000 to $7,800 per room on average, which includes design work and furnishings. It's common to see a living room at a flat fee of $2,500 to $5,000 and each bedroom at $1,000 to $2,000. For design work only, costs range from $450 to $1,500 per room.

Interior decorating cost per room - chart
Interior decorating cost per room - chart

The cost to design each room, manage contractors, and buy the furnishings to fill the room depends on the size of the room, its purpose, the design complexity, and the quality of the furnishings.

Online Interior Decorator Costs Per Room - Design Only

A remote designer conducting the decorating portion of the work online may charge as little as $450 a room for design-only services.

Interior Decorating Cost Per Room
Room Average Cost
Living Room $600 – $1,400
Dining Room $500 – $900
Living & Dining Room $700 – $1,300
Bedroom $550 – $1,300
Home Office $500 – $1,100
Kitchen $600 – $1,500
Entry/Hall $450 – $700
Bath $600 – $1,400
Patio $450 – $1,400
Nursery $500 – $1,100

Professional interior design with modern and sleek country look
Professional interior design with modern and sleek country look

Freelance Interior Designer Day Rates

A freelance interior designer’s day rate will typically range from $600 to $2,200 for an 8-hour day of labor only—designing structural changes, window changes, furniture and accessory arrangements, color swatches, and flooring choice combinations to transform your home.

Cost Plus, Commission, or Percentage Fees

An interior design percentage-based fee can start as low as 10% and go as high as 45%, but an average commission fee is usually a 15% to 30% markup on the total cost for furnishings, contractor management, and materials costs. For example, if the total scope of the project is $15,000 and the designer’s cost-plus-fee is 30%, the fee would be $4,500.

Once you know what the cost of your project will be, the designer will add the percentage on top of that. They might also set up a payment schedule for you—usually a set of benchmarks that coincide with the progress of construction or remodeling. This is one of the easiest ways to pay your interior designer.

Here's how to calculate interior design fees based on the type of markup:

interior design fee calculator - chart
interior design fee calculator - chart
Interior Design Fee Calculator
Type of Markup Percentage-Based Fees
% of Construction Cost 10% – 30%
% of Furnishings 10% – 35%
Cost Plus 17% – 45%

Fixed or Flat Rates

Fixed or flat-rate fees for home design and décor range from $1,000 to $12,000 per room and $5 to $17 per square foot, with most design firms charging between $1,500 and $4,900 a room, or about $9 per square foot.

Be sure to ask in advance what this fee structure includes, such as the estimated amount of time to be spent and the number of design revisions. A highly custom interior design project may be limited on a fixed rate due to the amount of unique items, worker skills, or the number of revisions needed.

Design Fee

Design fees range from $450 to $1,500 per room. Design fees are generally reserved for larger jobs, and they cover all the work done for the first presentation of design choices. However, some designers include their design fee in their total price per hour or square foot.

Choose between having an online designer put your design plan together without ever stepping foot in your home or having one visit your home, take measurements, and create a design presentation.

Modern designed room with table pillow and artwork
Modern designed room with table pillow and artwork

Management Fee

When an interior designer must work with a general contractor while construction or remodeling is going on, they typically charge a management fee of about 25%. This fee is added to the other costs on a line-item invoice.

Retainer or Deposit

A retainer is typically paid upfront when signing the design firm's contract and is nonrefundable. The amount of the deposit is usually about 10% of the total cost of the project.

The purpose of the retainer is to protect the designer. If you change your mind halfway through the project and cancel, the retainer covers the money they’ve spent on your project so far in time, furnishings, and contractor communication.

What Is an Interior Designer?

An interior designer makes indoor spaces more functional and visually appealing by improving the flow, presenting furniture and décor suggestions, and overseeing the decorating process. Interior designers plan, research, and coordinate projects, and may also manage the other contractors involved.

Interior designer sitting on counter after decorating kitchen for client
Interior designer sitting on counter after decorating kitchen for client

What Do Interior Designers Do?

Interior designers are both the designers of the overall look and the people who make the look come to fruition. They:

  • Visit a home and measure the rooms.

  • Find out the client’s likes, dislikes, and budget.

  • Present design ideas that might include adding windows or moving walls.

  • Design the layout of the room(s) based on its function and client’s style.

  • Present furniture and accessory suggestions.

  • Purchase the furniture and accessories and oversee the delivery.

  • Oversee painting, wallpapering, and carpentry—often with custom-made cabinets or shelving.

  • Arrange the décor and bring it all together cohesively.

  • Install furniture.

  • Accentuate light in the room with new lighting, rugs, furniture, wall colors, texture, art, fabrics, and accessories.

Living room interior designed with classic earth tones and accessories
Living room interior designed with classic earth tones and accessories

Is An Interior Designer Worth It?

Should you use an interior designer? If you can afford it and the appearance of your home is important to you, then yes, it could be a great idea. Some areas where the services of an interior designer could tangibly prove their worth is if:

  1. Your home has a poor layout, and you’d like to resize all the rooms, add storage space, improve traffic flow, and add more light.

  2. You want to stage your home before you sell it. Professionally staged homes typically sell for more money and faster than homes that are not staged.

  3. You have a room or part of the house you’d like to rent out for temporary stays.

  4. You purchased a new home and need help decorating.

  5. You frequently host guests.

Interior designer at fabric store choosing colors and patterns for decoration
Interior designer at fabric store choosing colors and patterns for decoration

Interior designers will set up a contract with you itemizing everything they will do, and it will include how and when they want to be paid and how long you can expect the project to take. They will generally want to receive a downpayment or retainer of 10% to 50% at the time you sign the contract.

The majority of interior designers will invoice you online, and you can pay through one of the many online payment apps available.

Be aware of what professionals call "scope creep", the continuous growth of the project's scope after it begins. To stay within your budget, make sure all your decisions are set in stone before work begins, as every change in the design plan will result in higher fees.

Interior Decorator vs. Home Designer

It’s good to know the difference between a decorator and a designer before you sign any contracts, as the two roles are different.

Interior Decorators

An interior decorator focuses exclusively on décor and will arrange (or purchase new) furniture and accessories for each room. They will choose color swatches and arrange furniture in a way that reflects the desired style and mood of a room. Interior decorators also offer home staging services to increase your home's value when it's for sale.

Interior Designers

An interior designer is certified or licensed in the development, space planning, onsite assessment, design, research, project management, and implementation of room designs. Because there are so many more aspects of work to the project, designers cost more than decorators.

How to Prepare for an Interior Decorator

  1. Write down any questions you have before the meeting.

  2. Set your budget.

  3. Bring your ideas. Create a Pinterest board and link your designer to it. Put together color swatches you like. Save links to artwork or furniture you like in a favorites page.

  4. Know which of your current furniture pieces you want to keep.

  5. Let the designer know if you have a preference for sustainability and organic items, and if you need safety measures in place for children or people with disabilities.

  6. When the designer comes to your home, have the clutter cleared so they can measure the rooms.

  7. Set all design plans in stone before beginning any work, and resolve not to change anything halfway through.

  8. Trust the designer you’ve hired. You’ve chosen them based on great reviews, an up-to-date license, and you’ve seen a portfolio of previous work. That said, though, speak up when you need to. You’ve hired them to help you, not take over.

Modern interior decorated living room with wood floors rug dining table and small office
Modern interior decorated living room with wood floors rug dining table and small office

Interior Designer FAQs

How Much Does A Painter and Decorator Cost?

A painter and decorator will charge $2 to $6 per square foot of paintable surface area, including prep work and painting the trim. That works out to $300 to $850 to paint a 12’ x 12’ room.

How Much Do Interior Designers Make?

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, interior designers earn a salary of around $60,000 per year. The typical interior designer has a bachelor’s degree.

Commercial Interior Design Costs

Commercial interior design costs about $50 per square foot. Some firms charge 10% of the construction budget or 15% of the construction budget with engineering.

Hiring an Interior Designer

Instead of making this a DIY project, there are many reasons for hiring an interior designer if it’s in your budget to do so:

  • They can help you narrow down your ideas.

  • They can summarize a room look faster with better suggestions.

  • They get discounts from contractors and furniture salespeople in their network that they pass on to you for your shopping list.

  • They are trained and licensed to arrange space in the most logical and mood-enhancing way, staying up-to-date on local and federal building codes rewiring, plumbing, moving walls, etc.

  • They project manage every aspect of the changes, leaving your time free for more important things.

How to Hire a Decorator

When searching for a decorator, hire based on the guidelines below.

  • Ask friends for referrals.

  • Check online reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • View their showroom or online portfolio.

  • Get quotes from at least three different designers.

  • Make sure the designer is a good personality fit with you too—they will be working closely with you in your home.

  • Make sure you understand what is involved in the contract—what they will do and when they will do it. Ask questions before you sign or make any downpayment on services.

Interior Design Associations

Consider employing professional interior designers that are certified and licensed with either the ASID, NCIDQ, or the CID to ensure you get the best results. There are also colleges, such as the New York School of Interior Design where students can earn a Certificate of Design.

  • The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID): Founded in 1975, the AISD is the oldest and largest professional organization for interior designers with over 13,500 design members, and 5,500 up and coming student members.

  • The National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ): NCIDQ Certification showcases college-educated interior designers who have proven their expertise by demonstrating a specific set of core competencies.

  • Certified Interior Designers (CID) & The California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC): Students must have seven years of experience or have passed the minimum educational requirements to apply. The students must pass a three-hour exam that is administered by the NCIDQ.

Interior Design on a Budget

It's possible to hire an interior designer on a budget, especially with a small project. The most efficient way is to sign up and pay for an online interior design service that gives you exactly what you can afford. Interior designers generally offer three tiers of services depending on how much you want to pay.


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