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Frequently asked questions
How much do interior designers charge in my area?
Interior designers charge $50 to $200 per hour on average, depending on the scope of work and the decorator's experience. Hiring an interior designer costs $5 to $17 per square foot for consultation, design work, management, and furnishings. A 1-hour in-home consultation costs $50 to $450.
What does an interior designer do?
Interior designers provide decorating aesthetics, layout and space planning, and structural design expertise to make interior spaces functional, safe, and attractive. Designers help select color palettes, furniture, lighting, paint, wallpaper, fabric, window treatments, and accessories. Designers also work with you, suppliers, architects, and contractors to coordinate the entire design, building, and installation process.
What is the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator?
Interior decorators provide aesthetic assistance for pre-constructed homes and rooms. Decorators focus on style, color palettes, furniture, lighting, paint, wallpaper, fabric, window treatments, and accessories. Interior decorating doesn't address structural work, exterior elements, or how the space functions.
Interior decorators are not required to be certified or have a degree, but may have taken courses.
Interior designers provide decorating aesthetics, space planning, and structural design expertise. Interior designers work with you, your architects, and your builders through the architectural design phase, the construction or renovation stages, and the complete interior decorating process.
Interior designers are formally trained and may be required to have a degree or certifications to practice as designers. Designers are trained in drafting, lighting, computer-aided design (CAD), drawing, space planning, architecture, furniture design, and color and fabric.
How do interior designers work with clients?
- Interior designers ask the client to complete a detailed questionnaire before the initial consultation.
- After scoping the project, the designer sets the expectations, timeline, and explains estimated costs.
- Designers will begin working on the structural and aesthetic design, while considering building codes, safety and flow, space planning, and current design trends.
- Designers present at least two design concepts, layout plans, mood boards, furniture, colors, and work hands-on with the client to finalize the details and decor.
- Designers can assist throughout the architectural and construction process, or the initial planning or interior decorating only.
- After the furnishings are selected, the decorator organizes the purchasing, transportation, and installation.
How long does the interior design process take?
The interior design process takes 2 to 3 weeks, including the initial consultation, two design concepts, layout planning, 3D modeling, researching (materials, finishes, and furniture), and hiring suppliers and contractors.
How do you find a good interior designer?
To find the local interior designers, do the following:
- Start your search on websites like HomeGuide and Google.
- Ask for recommendations from family, friends, neighbors, builders, and architects.
- Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Peruse their portfolio and look-book from past projects.
- Get at least three price estimates from different designers to compare.
- Select companies that are licensed, bonded, and experienced.
- Verify their insurance, worker’s compensation, and bond guarantees.
- Look for designers who are part of the American Society of Interior Designs (ASID) or have passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) exam.
- Ask about their warranties and guarantees.
- Ask for a full itemized estimate or contract in writing.
- Avoid making large payments upfront. Come up with a payment schedule for work completed.
After asking questions, hire the best interior design service near you.
What questions should I ask local interior designers?
When hiring a home designer, ask them the following questions:
- How long have you been an interior designer?
- What is your interior design style?
- What design services are offered?
- Can you provide testimonials and references from past customers and photos from previous projects?
- How do you decide which projects are a good fit for your company?
- Where do you get your design inspiration?
- Do you work alone or with a team of designers?
- How much client involvement is recommended?
- Do you charge a flat rate, by the hour, use the cost-plus method, or a combination?
- How much will my project cost?
- How do you prioritize my budget throughout the project?
- Are there any potential complications you foresee with my project?
- What type of materials will you use?
- Can you provide me a written estimate or contract?
- What’s your payment schedule?
- What do I need to provide to get started?
What to ask references:
- Did you enjoy working with this designer? Would you work with them again?
- What we're their strengths and weaknesses?
- Did the designer adhere to your budget?
- Did they communicate promptly and thoroughly? Did you feel heard and understood?
- Did any issues arise? If so, how were they handled?
- Did the design turn out as expected?