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Interior Decorator Cost


How Much Does an Interior Decorator Cost?

 
 average costRange: $500-$10,000 
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  Typical costs:
  • Some decorators work for free; they're earning commissions from merchants and may steer you to the highest priced products. Others charge a fixed fee, of $500-$10,000 or more depending on location and reputation. Hourly rates can be $35-$500, again based on location and reputation. Decorators working on a flat rate or hourly basis may also charge a percentage of any products purchased. It's possible to hire a decorator for just a few hours, to give you guidance and ideas.
Related articles: Architect, Painting an Interior, Bathroom Remodeling, Kitchen Remodeling

What should be included:
  • An interior decorator does the research and legwork for you, using training and experience to help choose paint colors, textures, furniture, fabrics, flooring and accessories?--everything relating to decorating your home in the style you want. A professional decorator knows the best resources and may save you money on purchases. A decorator should visit you at your home, listen carefully to your ideas and needs, and then come up with a creative plan for your project.
Discounts:
  • Use your decorator's talents and experience to decide what painting, sewing or minor construction is needed, then do the work yourself to avoid paying contractors or other labor. Explain this plan before hiring a decorator.
Shopping for an interior decorator:
  • Find or take pictures of rooms you adore. BetterHomesandGardens.com and HomePortfolio.com[1] offer inspirational photos.
  • Decide on a realistic budget and be clear about which styles and colors you prefer, any objects that must stay in the room, your lifestyle (children? pets? lots of entertaining?) and exactly how you intend to use the room.
  • Search for designers' websites by state through the American Society of Interior Designers or search for one-day redecorators at the Interior Redecorators Network.
  • Review several portfolios and personalities. Most decorators have a signature style; be sure you like it. Decorating takes time: you need to communicate easily and work well together. Check for any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[2] .
  • Have a written agreement listing all costs including design fees, any deadlines and an explanation of exactly what the decorator will do.
  • Design centers are traditionally ?to the trade only,? but many now offer buying/design services, such as New York Design Center.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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Save $ with Online Decorator
Amount: $300.00
Posted by: Shealyn in Seattle in Seattle, WA.Posted: September 6th, 2011 08:09AM
For Val in San Diego. I had same need for my home & we had a small budget. We hired someone who provides an online decorating service (daily decorator). They provided a plan, picked the furniture etc. then gave us all the info to let us purchase everything ourselves. We saved a lot of $ and the family room turned out great! Good luck!
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Would it be worth hiring a decorator?
Amount: $2,000.00
Posted by: Val in San Diego, CA.Posted: July 20th, 2011 02:07AM
Number of Rooms: 1 LargeType of firm: None
I want to hire an interior decorator but not sure if it's really worth it.
My boyfriend and I are first time homeowners of an 840 square foot condo, I don't want my budget to be too big because I hope this is just our starter home.
Our budget would be 2-3k for an open concept living room/small dining room/small kitchen. Would it really be worth it to hire a decorator with a budget like ours? Is the budget even big enough to work with?
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Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Cheri Tyner in Washington, DC.Posted: July 15th, 2011 09:07AM
Number of Rooms: 0Type of firm: Personal
Thank you very much Melissa Jennings for your comment about the ethics of doing business as an interior designer/decorator. I am a real estate agent and I agree with you 100%. Many of my clients and friends ask for my help in decorating and/or designing the interior of their home. I don't have any formal training, but I do have a gift for design and decorating. I also have friends who are in the business of home remodeling/construction and I am often asked to help with the development of floor plans. I came to this web-site because I have decided to start an interior design business. I have many highly satisfied customers and many clients who are interested in my services. My issue is, I tend to underprice, because I have a love for the trade and money is not my primary motivator. So the comment about a person who is not trained in the field being referred to as the little old lady down the street is way off point. By the way, I don't have formal education in interior design, but I do currently hold an undergraduate degree in business and two masters degrees in science. We really need to be careful about how we speak about people in the trade and degrade them because they don't hold the same credentials as we do; I would take an interior designer who has the gift of design over one that has an elite degree in the field any day.
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Interior Designer vs Interior Decorator
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: ValerieW in Memphis, TN.Posted: July 6th, 2011 07:07PM
Number of Rooms: Type of firm: Residential & Commercial
We can nitpick all day about interior designer vs. decorator & not get anywhere. Personally, I don't care what you call me. I graduated with a design degree & am a member of IDS, which suits me better because my specialty is residential but I do both. Some commercial & residential designers have had a battle going on between each other since the beginning of their education which is ridiculous because you either have talent or you don't & once you get in the field you have to work together anyways & must keep up to date. My firm & I charge different ways. If someone wants personal shopping I charge a hourly fee. If someone wants a paint consultation I charge a flat fee. I also work off of a % in some cases which means I charge retail. Why? I don't work for free, I have to eat too just like you & cover overhead costs which means I don't make as much as you think. Make sure your designer is educated, get referrals, & your personalities mesh because your building a relationship.
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Bad Experience
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: MelindaSux in Raleigh, NC.Posted: April 22nd, 2011 07:04PM
Number of Rooms: 2Type of firm: Residential
I hired an interior designer to do my bathroom/bedroom for what I thought was a $1700 flat rate. I found out she was charging me 50% to 200% mark-up on the cabinetry, tile, tub, etc. I ended up taking her to court (I won easily), and she had to pay triple damages to me.
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Design Fee
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Lodrak in Worcester, MA.Posted: April 6th, 2011 02:04PM
Number of Rooms: 2Type of firm:
I wondering if someone could give me a general idea of how much I would spend to have someone come in and give me ideas on how to decorate my great room (kitchen/living/dining room.) Since I am in a rental, I cannot change the space structurally or make drastic changes. I have great furniture that I want to keep, but I need help choosing accessories and I have specific themes that I want for each room, I just can't figure out how to incorportate them together. Thanks!
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Interior Design Fee
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Kate Ladwig in Oklahoma City, OK.Posted: April 4th, 2011 07:04AM
As far as fees, I've found that a flat fee works best for me. I'm still building my own business, but I do not like the hourly fee estimates. I don't want to have to keep track of my time & I would never want to open a door to which a client would question my work ethic. To me, a client may never know that it took me 5 hours to find the PERFECT sofa. That might sound crazy amount of time to them, but in reality that can be exactly what it takes whether it be scouring antique shops, stores, or catalogs. For this reason, I prefer a square footage approach. It's a flat fee based on the entire space I will be working on. Complete remodels or new construction is based on one $/sqft. Makeovers of existing rooms is based on a smaller $/sqft. I like this because not only can I tell a client upfront exactly what they will pay, but it doesn't limit me on what I specify. I can special order high end pieces or I can go to Goodwill. Whatever their budget or imagination will allow =)
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Design Experience vs. Training
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Kate Ladwig in Oklahoma City, OK.Posted: April 4th, 2011 06:04AM
I'm a designer in Oklahoma City. I have my bachelors degree in Interior Design as well as 5 yrs out of school experience. As someone with both the degree and experience, I can safely say that it is the experience that makes a designer. While I do feel that it is necessary to have training and knowledge as a base for that experience, you are not going to figure out the inner workings of clients, budgets, and scheduling in a 10 x 10 room with an instructor. It comes from every day experiences, staying current with what is happening in design today and growing your overall design aesthetic. If someone wants to call themselves a designer with training, or decorator from down the road... that's fine by me. It's in the clients hands to recognize whether that person handles themselves in a professional matter, has the experience to complete the job, and the commitment to get it done right.
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You DON'T always get what you pay for!
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Hilary, a self-employed non-degreed designer in Radnor, PA.Posted: March 23rd, 2011 11:03AM
I one thousand percent agree with Wanda H in Simpsonville, SC. - a few comments above, dated 9/27/2010. Just because you have a teaching degree, doesn't make you a good teacher...just because you went to a trade school, doesn't make you a good electrician, plumber, mason, or anything else. EVEN if the school is one of the best. I feel designers hide behind their degrees to justify their sometimes very high rates/fees. Sometimes they are warranted - sometimes they are NOT. It IS a lot of work, and yes, this service is a LUXURY, as many "professionals" above have stated - but inherent in that statement is the very snobbery that turns many "non designer" clients/people off!! There is no reason that you can't get high-end design with a modest budget, along with a talented non-degreed professional providing those services.I have backgrounds in fine art, antiques, space planning, construction and photography...I have married all these with great success. You either "have it" - or you don't - and in many cases, the degree is just a piece of paper. Look for someone with good references who fits your style, budget and personality and you will be fine.
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I recently purchased a new home. I need help with drapes and paint choices. I have new furniture throughout. Should I consult an interior decorator and how much should I expect to pay for this furnitu
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Jena in Arlington, TX.Posted: February 16th, 2011 07:02PM
Number of Rooms: 5Type of firm:
I recently purchased a new home. I need help with drapes and paint choices. I have new furniture throughout. Should I consult an interior decorator and how much should I expect to pay for this furniture/
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Design Fee's
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Hissong | Design in Anytown, USA, WA.Posted: December 22nd, 2010 01:12PM
Number of Rooms: 0Type of firm: Design | Planning
I am a commercial Architectural Designer. I mostly deal in large restaurant design, though I do residential on a regular basis. What homeowners need to understand is that a designer should actually be saving you money on the overall cost of your project. For instance, I come to your house and you have a bid in hand from Joe's contracting for 40,000 to open up walls and create a huge kitchen with all new appliances and so on. A material list at the cost of 20,000. My job is to lay out the kitchen on AutoCAD, (Plumbing, Electrical and Structural walls) Then I take the materials list and Joe's quote and I have them redo the bid based on actual sq. ft. costs. I take the material and I farm out everything to all of my vendors. Now the quote from joe comes back at 26,000, the materials are now at 13,000, you paid me 20% for a grand total of 46,800. And the project was done properly, on time and 13,200 under your original budget. Contractors know we know labor prices.. Hissong | Design
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LIVING ROOM
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Daniela in Boca Raton, FL.Posted: December 16th, 2010 07:12PM
Number of Rooms: 2Type of firm: Residential
Hello,
I am going tomorrow for my first ever consultation with a real life client. I have a residential design diploma and I am also on my 3rd year for my Bachelors in Interior Design. I have done really well in school and my projects are usually the 'most liked' in class, but I understand school and real world are 2 different animals. I am going tomorrow to measure, sketch, photograph etc the space and get everything ready for brainstorming...So my questions are:
How much should I charge if I want to charge a flat fee?
She already has the furniture, I am basically providing: space planning, fabric, paint, accessories and finish selections, sketches, perspectives, rendering and the leg work to get these items. As far as I know, her budget is only $2k, so will $500 out of those $2k be sufficient as a flat fee? considering it's my first job EVER and I know I can do a good job, but I don't want to neither under nor over charge..
PLEASE HELP! and thanks in advance for the tips...
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Residential Design Diploma
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Stefanie D in Suburban Philly, PA.Posted: November 1st, 2010 04:11PM
Number of Rooms: 0Type of firm: Residential
So... Where do I fit into this. I recently graduated with a Residential design Dipoloma of 39 college credits. I learned about all types of residential design, including the placement of walls. We learned about plumbing walls, lighting, reflected ceiling plans..... I feel capable of being able to do all of this things with the help of a contractor that I would be working with to get it done. I don't feel that I should be an Interior Decorator? I spent a full year everyday for 4-8 hours a day on assignments and projects. I feel that I have earned a prestigious background and extensive education, yet I can not sit for exams and certifications. Help me to understand where I fit in.
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Having a degree doesn't mean you have talent.
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Wanda H in Simpsonville, SC.Posted: September 27th, 2010 09:09AM
Number of Rooms: Type of firm: Freelance Designer
I have done design work for homeowners, for commercial businesses. When I say design work, I don't mean tearing out a wall and tearing out a ceiling, etc. I mean walking into a room seeing the flow and knowing it isn't working, or looking at the furniture and accessories and immediately knowing they are not right for the space. I am not an interior designer, with a degree. I am a human being that God has graciously gifted with the vision of design, layout, placement and good taste. I'm sorry but I disagree that you have to go to school to know about interior decorating, or design work. I have worked with designers with degrees in the past, and they made a mess of things, and I went in and cleaned it up. I am not bragging, I'm just saying you either have it naturally or you don't. I do agree however that you should do your homework, and know exactly what the design person you are hiring can and cannot do. Make sure you know and they know exactly what to expect, so there are no assumptions, or blind area's. You need to be sure they are confident in what they are doing, because your home is very important. I personally wouldn't take on remodeling a bathroom, where I had to tear out everything, but I would be able to pick out the tub, the tile, the accessories and give you an amazing space. I hate when people assume you are incapable just because you don't have a degree. I've sold three homes that I've owned in my lifetime and every time the realtors couldn't stop talking about my decorating and design work. And every time someone new comes into my home I am always asked who is my interior decorator, I just laugh. So don't judge.....it's just not fair..
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Interior Designer Charges
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Audrey D. Allied ASID, IIDA in Newport Beach, CA.Posted: September 25th, 2010 01:09PM
Number of Rooms: Type of firm: High End Residential / Commercial Design
To All: I am in agreement with Fred Dawg in Austin TX. There is a very clear distinction between an interior designer and a decorator. An interior designer has a min. 4 year degree from an accredited college. They are members of ASID ( American Society of Interior Design), IIDA (International Interior Design Association), USGBC ( United States Green Building Council). If you have any of these appellations behind your name you have taken the exams required to be a professional interior designer. These all supersede CID which can be taken by decorators who are not degreed. As a member of ASID, IIDA, LEED AP( USGBC) you are required to take continued education classes in order to keep your appellations.
Now that you all know the difference here goes, as a child you mother always told you, you get what you pay for and this is very true. I am always amazed that people will not take the time to research designers when their home is their most valuable possession. Let’s be honest if you can’t afford an interior designer shop in retail show rooms that offer that service. As for HGTV… people please, they are not showing you how much they pay the interior designer, the electrician, the carpenter, and other trades people. I cringe every time I hear HGTV mentioned it is not realistic. If you want HGTV pricing call HGTV. Interior design is a luxury. As an interior designer we can help with color, fabrics etc. and cut cost if you do all the leg work yourself. Please remember all true interior designers have a legal contract and will provide you a design fee prior to commencing work.
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Designer vs Decorator
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Claudette in Somers Point, NJ.Posted: September 4th, 2010 09:09AM
Number of Rooms: Type of firm: Independent Interior Decorator
I am an Interior Decorator. It is true a decorator doesn't need a degree or certification to decorate. I have been decorating over 20 years and have a clientele base.
My clients are happy with my work and have passed my name to others.
My fee is based upon an hourly rate, usually $70-80/hr., I have a contract between my client and myself, and am upfront with. I do not mark up any purchases and work within their budget. I also know the concept of structure in a home because I have worked with the builders and architects who have built many of the homes that I have lived in.
I may be less expensive than a designer, but that doesn't mean that I am not as professional or as good.
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Interior decorator charges
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: allen SMITH in west palm, FL.Posted: August 25th, 2010 10:08PM
Number of Rooms: kitchenType of firm:
We are moving into a new development and used an interior decorator. We took from the developer the basic kitchen and the interior decorator will upgrade this kitchen having her kitchen specialist reface the cabinets and do other upgrade work. She charges a 25% commission. Should the interior decorator's commission be based on the materials purchased and used (cabinets, lighting etc) but also on the labor costs. I thought commissions are based on purchases of items and not including labor costs of installing them. For example, if the cost of redoing the kitchen is 10,000 dollars, should the commission be 2500 or just based on the materials and therefore less as the person who will upgrade the kitchen works for the interior decorator.I am confused as other rooms will be redone also. Please help.
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By the project
Amount: $4,200.00
Posted by: Re-decorate in Quarryville, PA in Lancaster, PA.Posted: July 21st, 2010 01:07PM
Number of Rooms: 10Type of firm: Design
I am a professional interior decorator with credentials residing in PA. I just completed 2 floors (residential) which consisted of approximately 10 rooms. We had installed a new kitchen floor, tiles for bathrooms and kitchen, placement of furniture, wall texturizing, light fixture changeout, paint, furniture layout, new furniture and decor/art. All of this on a $4200 budget. This is an excellent price for this area.
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The REAL cost
Amount: $5.00
Posted by: MichaelWilsonDesign in Charlotte, NC.Posted: June 11th, 2010 04:06PM
Number of Rooms: 1Type of firm: residential
I have a successful decorating business. I add 30% on items I purchase (usually expensive quality goods that are to the trade only. In addition to this I charge $85 per visit (limited to up to 2 hours). OR I sell clients the idea ( room illustrations showing each wall view) for $750 and they can do the legwork and save or spend all they want by buying items similar to the ones I show in the illustration. Furthermore I consult with the client as they handle shopping and purchasing by approving their selections. Each consultation is $30 per hour. Not bad if your looking for a fabulous room but want to keep your budget your own business. Every one wins in my business process.
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Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Melissa A. Jennings in Chesapeake, VA.Posted: June 7th, 2010 07:06AM
Just to clarify to all readers, the main difference between the two is education. Interior Designers usually attend a 4 year institution that is accredited by CIDA. Interior Designers tend to understand more of the structural aspects of a building, which allows them to make structural decision when designing. On the other hand, an Interior Decorator mainly deals with surface finishes, furniture and accessories selections, and drapery. Interior Decorator's do not require formal education, but that does not take away the talent that many possess. We need both Decorator and Designer, because not every client needs the same level of work. Both an Interior Designer and Interior Decorator should be professional and practice good ethics. Always research online, email or calling a few designers and decorators before employing one, many are willing to help you understand what your needs are before taking your money. I'm a 2010 Interior Design graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University. I want to share what my wonderful school taught me about design (and decorating) and ethics should be high on any designers list; whichs means to never talk bad about anyone because our business is through word of mouth, by our clients.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.homeportfolio.com/GetInspired/RoomsForThought/index.jhtml
  2.  search.bbb.org/
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