Earlier this month, I posted a quick guide to the questions you should ask when hiring your interior designer. Since then, I’ve received a lot of great feedback on the post and on our socials. One topic, however, continues to linger in everyone’s minds: are interior design costs really worth it?
My answer to that is a resounding “yes!” And I say this not only as a designer, but as someone who has renovated a couple of my own homes. For most of us, we approach a home remodel for a few key reasons:
- Improved flow (e.g., an open-concept first floor)
- Upgraded function (e.g., a finished basement for the kids)
- Better aesthetics (e.g., installing custom woodwork or mosaic tile)
An interior designer will help you achieve all of these, while at the same time increasing your home’s value to its maximum. A true win/win. Below, I’ll detail the cost and the benefits of working with a designer, plus give some online options for smaller projects. While we focus on full-home projects at Laura U, I believe interior design is worth the investment at any budget.
What is the Cost of Hiring an Interior Designer?
The cost of hiring an interior designer varies and depends on where you are and what services you need. As you’re evaluating interior design costs, consider whether you need an interior decorator or an interior designer for your project. While these terms are often used interchangeably, and I go by either one, many people in the industry make distinctions.
An interior decorator might be best for your project if you’re looking to make cosmetic updates (e.g., changing paint colors or updating window treatments). If you want to make structural changes and update your home’s aesthetic, you’ll want to work with an interior designer. Make sure to ask your designer if they are certified, what their specialties are, and what their favorite projects entail.
Considering Interior Design Costs and Benefits
When you consider your interior design costs, I encourage you to think about the project as a whole. How much time will you devote to managing the project? How much effort will be needed on your part to communicate between builders, architects, and movers? And the biggest, question of all, how much will you need to invest? Taking it from that holistic standpoint, you may find that outsourcing these tasks to a professional is well worth it.
A professional interior designer takes the guesswork out of the perfect design by handling all aspects of the project from start to finish. Not only that, an interior designer will save you time, money, and energy in the long run. And that’s at any budget.
1 – Budget Savings
With our experience in project management and knowledge of product costs, interior designers help you create the right budget from the very beginning. Setting clear expectations is the starting point to design success. You may find out that you were budgeting far too much or alternatively, far too little. That initial consultation may save you from heading toward a project you aren’t ready to approach. On the other hand, an interior designer will keep your actual costs from spiraling out of control. Being certain from the start is crucial.
If you are moving forward with a design, working with an interior designer can actually save you money. As our client, you will receive insider access to the interior design world. We have trade discounts, partners in moving and shipping, and the inside scoop on material costs that we share with you. With exclusive access to certain vendors, an interior designer will give you reduced pricing on items you won’t find in a retail environment.
In the luxury space, where we practice, we help our clients know when to splurge on that exceptional piece for the room. We bring these pieces to you and make recommendations.
If we’re out of budget, we know who to recommend you to that is IN your budget. This saves you money and ensures you’re working with the interior designer best suited to bring your interior design dreams to life.
2 – Optimizing Your Time
Time is a big factor in any interior design project. Depending on the size and scope, it can take anywhere from a few months to years to complete. Our projects can take 6 months (furnishings only) or they can take 2 years (new construction). It’s a big time investment!
And our clients are busy. They own businesses, love to travel, have families, and frequently entertain. (Just like I do!) We handle the entire process for them, so they can focus on the other things happening in their lives. Having a professional manage your interior design project saves you time because you’re not working on it.
3 – The Benefit of a Liaison
One of the biggest challenges of a new construction or renovation project is communication. If we’re working on a new construction or renovation, we liaise with the build team and architect for you. You don’t have to worry about things falling through the cracks or wonder if information is being communicated to the right people.
Having your interior designer be in control and be the “go-to” person allows problems to be caught before they turn into costly mistakes. We work to address any issues quickly and efficiently which helps to keep the project on track. Being able to cut down on labor costs and prevent mistakes saves money and ensures you don’t go over budget.
4 – Improved Home Value
The #1 outcome of a design project is the happiness you will feel in your beautiful new home. You can’t really put a price on the enjoyment of a refreshed space that perfectly reflects who you are and supports your lifestyle. Secondarily, you will experience an uptick in your home’s value…as long as you’re making smart updates. Home additions generally project the biggest return on investment, as well as bathroom and kitchen remodels. An interior designer will guide you in making the right upgrades if ROI is your main goal. Knowing the market is essential here. When your home is up for resale, it’s important that the updates you’ve made fit into the comparable upgrades of the neighborhood.
Hiring Your Own Interior Designer
If you decide to hire an interior designer, it’s important to understand how they charge for their services. There are four common types of interior design cost structures designers use.
- Cost Plus – Designers use this structure when they’re purchasing products for their clients. The client’s bill includes the items purchased plus the designer’s service fee.
- Fixed Rate – This single amount charged to the client covers all the work, materials, and other expenses involved in completing the project.
- Hourly Rate – For simple, smaller projects, it’s common for designers to charge an hourly rate.
- By the Square Foot – This cost structure charges clients a flat rate based on the size of the property.
Working with an Online Interior Design Service
Online design services are great options for smaller projects and quick design help. Here’s what you need to know about the most popular online design services:
Decorist is wonderful because this platform allows you to work with a high-profile designer on a smaller budget! You choose what space you want designed, provide the necessary details, and submit inspirational photos. Then you’re matched with a designer who provides you with two design concepts. Once you’ve submitted your feedback, they’ll send you the final design and a list of everything you need to bring your design to life.
With this design service, you can have your new design in as little as two weeks. You’ll be given a shopping list and can order your furnishings from multiple retailers in one shopping cart. Talk about convenient!
If you want a quick consultation or to design a room from scratch, Havenly can help. They offer three different services to give you the design assistance you need. You start the process by uploading photos of your room and completing a survey about your personal style. Then a designer will schedule a meeting to talk more about your style and what you’re looking for. Five business days later, you’ll be sent two design concepts. After revisions, the designer will send you the final design and you can start shopping!
All the items in the design are put into your shopping cart and then you decide which ones you want to buy. Once you make your decision, their team places the order and sets up the delivery. Having someone help coordinate the installation logistics is super helpful! I recommend this service for many of our potential clients with smaller projects.
Choosing to use an online design service doesn’t mean you can’t be hands-on during the process. Homepolish connects you with designers who provide custom design proposals. Once you’ve submitted your project details, you’ll chat with a designer who will give you ideas on the best design for your space.
When you have a final design, their team will place your order. Plus, they can recommend any necessary contractors you might need. They also offer additional services for clients doing full construction projects.
Envisioning what furnishings will look like in your home can be a challenge. With Modsy, you get two design plans of your actual room in 3D. All you have to do is upload images of the room, provide the measurements, and take a style quiz. Then viola, your design is complete!
I love that you get an unlimited number of design revisions. And you can purchase exactly what you need in one place.
Interior Design Costs at Laura U
We specialize in full-service, full-home interior design for new construction and large-scale renovation projects. The process starts with a discovery session to uncover and summarize your design needs. We’ll talk about all the details like:
- The size of your home
- The type of project
- Where the project is located
- Your preferred design style
- Project timing
Next, we offer up a budget. For renovation and construction assistance with furnishings, our projects are typically $100,000 per 1,000 square feet of space. If we’re only assisting with the furnishings, we recommend a minimum furnishings budget of $200,000. Based on the budget we develop, we’ll share past projects similar in scope. This gives clients an idea of what their home’s interior could look like with their budget. If need be, we can also do a site walk-through. This is one of the best parts of my job. I’m able to assess the current structure of the home, inside and out. I’ll point out to you all the potential of your new home!
Interior Designers Are Worth The Investment
Yes, there are interior design costs, but there is also great value in working with a designer. Our insight into the construction process will help keep your project on time and on track. We refine your vision, source all the furnishings and accessories, and manage all the details. Their knowledge about where to source the perfect furnishings for your home saves you time and money. They streamline the process and allow you to make the most of your budget.
Interior design, as we practice it at Laura U, is a true luxury. We custom design furnishings, assist with construction drawings, and handle the entire process from start to finish. The human hand is present throughout the process, creating a unique interior that reflects who you are and how you live.
While we work in the luxury residential space at Laura U, there are designers at EVERY budget. Whether you use an online design service or work one-on-one with a designer, the cost of hiring an interior designer is worth it.