Hiring An Interior Designer 101: What they do, what they cost & how to make the most of your design project

Are you tired of feeling uninspired by your living space? Or maybe you love DIY projects, but you've hit a wall with a room in your house? Whether you're starting from scratch or trying to improve what you already have, an interior designer can help you create the space of your dreams. In this article, we'll outline what exactly an interior designer does, what to consider when hiring one, and how much it typically costs.

What Does an Interior Designer Do?

First, let's make sure we're all on the same page: what exactly does an interior designer do? Essentially, they help you plan and execute a vision for your living space that is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and within your budget. This can include a wide range of services, such as choosing materials for a new home or remodel, suggesting new furniture and accessories, selecting color palettes and patterns, rearranging existing furniture, organizing spaces, and even planning and overseeing a full-scale renovation. A good interior designer will also take your needs, lifestyle, and personal tastes into account to create a space that truly feels like yours.

What to Consider When Hiring an Interior Designer

If you're considering hiring an interior designer, there are several factors to keep in mind to ensure the best outcome. First, look at the designer's portfolio and social media pages and make sure their style and past projects align with what you're looking for. Some designers specialize in a very specific style while others have the ability to create spaces that originate from a variety of styles. You should also consider their experience and how they work. Some designers are very creative but don’t have experience with in-depth projects or a proven work process in place. Look for a designer that is a great problem solver, but also presents a sound process for working with you and managing your design project. It's also important to have a conversation with the designer to make sure your personalities and communication styles mesh well, as you'll be working closely together throughout the project. Finally, be clear about your budget and timeline from the start, and make sure the designer is comfortable working within those parameters.

How Much Does an Interior Designer Typically Cost?

The cost of hiring an interior designer can vary widely depending on several factors, including the scope of the project, the designer's experience and credentials, and your location. Some designers charge a flat fee for their services, while others work on an hourly basis and bill for their time. Most designers work off a project retainer system that is determined by an average combined hourly rate of their fee, along with any other staff members they have that will work on your project. Typically this rate ranges from $75 - $375 per hour. In addition to these costs, you'll also need to consider the cost of any materials, furniture, or accessories that the designer recommends. That being said, many people find that hiring an interior designer is a worthwhile investment in the long run, as it can save time, money, and headaches by avoiding costly errors and creating a space that truly reflects your style and needs.

*PRO TIP – Make sure you are very clear on how your designer charges and how you will be billed. If you are working with a designer to order furniture, lighting, art, etc., make sure your design contract clearly denotes how and when you will be billed for these items. Some designers mark up the products they are tasked with ordering, but you should never pay more than retail for these pieces if you are also paying a design fee.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Interior Designer Relationship

Once you've hired an interior designer, there are several things you can do to make sure you're getting the best possible outcome. First, be open and honest with your designer about your needs, style, and budget. It's important to communicate your expectations clearly so that the designer can understand what you're looking for and deliver it. You should also be willing to trust the designer's expertise and creative vision, even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone a bit. Finally, be prepared to be involved in the process; giving feedback and staying engaged will help ensure that the final result is a space that you truly love.

Hiring an interior designer can be a great way to update and improve your living space, but it's important to approach the process with an open mind and clear expectations. By considering factors like the designer's experience, style, and cost, and being willing to communicate and collaborate throughout the process, you can create a space that truly reflects your personal style and needs. So, whether you're starting from scratch or just need a little bit of help, don't underestimate the value of bringing in a professional to help you achieve the home of your dreams.

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