The cost of a professional interior designer will vary depending on the scope and needs of the project.

The cost of a professional interior designer will vary depending on the scope and needs of the project.

When I receive a call from a potential client or tell new acquaintances that I am an interior designer here in San Diego and Los Angeles, I usually get a variety of questions. People ask me about the latest design trends, what type of furniture they should choose for their living room and if shag carpet will ever come back in style (answer: please, no).

The most common question I get, however, is, “How much do you cost?”

I understand why this question is so popular. We all want the convenience of seeing a price tag before we put any time and effort into making a purchasing decision. I also think many people have a fear of brainstorming with a designer and getting excited about a new vision for their home only to be walloped with a huge price quote.

As much as I understand why you want to know how much an interior designer costs, I actually can’t give you a standard price menu for my services. Interior design is a process that adapts to fit the unique needs of each customer. It is not a beautiful dress on a department store mannequin or a one hour personal training session. These items are defined. The dress doesn’t change, no matter who buys it. While a personal trainer may (and should!) adapt his method to each client, a one hour session will still always take an hour of his time.

Interior design is not a cookie cutter process. So, while I cannot provide you with a list of quotes, I can tell you a little more about the considerations I take when pricing out a project:

Scope of Project

If you want to refresh the look of your living room and have an idea of the styles, fabrics and colors you prefer, this will be a smaller project than if you want to decorate a brand new house from scratch. More space usually takes more effort to brainstorm and more hours to decorate, which will reflect in the price tag.

Plan Creation and Implementation

Very broadly, my services can be divided into two main steps. Step number one is where you and I get together and do some fabulous brainstorming together. From these meetings of the mind, I put together a design plan for your room or entire home. This is a very fun, creative and exciting process that many clients enjoy a lot. Once the plan is in place, I roll up my sleeves and get to work. This is the implementation stage where I take the plans we created and turn your home into the stylish abode that won’t fail to impress. Implementation could mean ordering tile for the floor, bringing in a remodeling company to put up new cabinets, and shopping for eclectic and tasteful design elements (pillows, vases, and art, oh my!).

I typically provide a single fee for the design plan portion of the project, which depends on the scope of the project. The bigger space I have to plan, the higher the project quote. The implementation phase is typically charged on an hourly basis, because it is nearly impossible to predict with any precision how much time this portion of the project will take.

Project Management

In many cases, new interior decoration coincides with a big home remodel. Perhaps you’ve moved into a new home and want to turn it into your dream home. This may require a big remodel and an interior designer to add style and posh to the finished masterpiece. An interior designer may step into the role of a project manager or coordinator, working with the remodeling team to help implement the design of a room or full home. Project management is time-consuming, and it is a specialized skill. Any project management needs will be incorporated into the implementation phase of my service package and will be billed on an hourly basis.

I hope that this post has given you some insight into how an interior designer determines the price of a project. As always, I am happy to speak to you on the specifics of your project if you live in San Diego, Riverside or Los Angeles. Once I know more about your needs, I can give you an accurate price quote for your project.