This is of course our second most asked question during initial client consultations, and with good reason! You’ve been sacrificing and saving to buy your home, and then to turn it into the space that you know it can be. Those dollars need to go where they will have the most impact.

There is a two-part response that I give to clients when we start talking about the cost to work with an interior designer. The first, is that a good interior designer is likely to save you money on a remodel. While there is a cost for their services, the amount of planning that they take on, and the ways in which they are versed in talking with building departments, architects, vendors, and contractors, will save you significantly in keeping the project on schedule. When your GC comes to an area where they have questions, or multiple suggestions, a designer will help you to determine what is worth saving on, and what is worth spending on. Most designers will also help with handling returns in a timely manner, communicating with vendors about compensation for damaged goods, and acting as conflict management between various parties.

The second part of the response is that a huge part of how much a project costs is dependent on the client, and on their communication with the designer. Sometimes, we present a client with concepts, get great feedback, and take a few more attempts before we get to a place the client loves and we move forward with ordering. Other times, a client will come back to us several times with changes, new ideas, input from their neighbor, a list of events that are likely to never happen but if they did the blue sofa choice may no longer work, and then a request to revisit the first 6 concepts again, and see where we can fit them into the most recent top three…..

It is of course my job as the consultant to help with narrowing down the options, and really helping you t trust me in finding you the best choices for you and your family. It is also part of my work to let you know when the decision making process is at risk of putting us over budget, and working with you to find ways to feel confident in the choices we are making together. But, sometimes a budget does run away from us in the decision making process, so being sure that open communication and trust is at the top of your priorities list with your designer, is key.

Those two points aside, I know that I still haven’t answered the root question, and the answer to that is: It depends. I myself charge and hourly rate. I pass along my trade discounts to my clients most of the time, unless there is a vendor agreement not to. We can stop at anytime and assess the project and the budget. My lowest hourly project and my highest are vastly different totals, being the difference between a bathroom refresh and a full home renovation.

My best advice is to be completely honest with yourself and the designers you call about your budget. I always ask my clients what the preferred budget is for the entire project, and what the drop-dead budget is, meaning that if the perfect thing comes along, you’ll spend that extra bit, but have no dollars to spend past that. Rather than compartmentalizing the interior design budget, work with your preferred designer to see what the best use is of your overall budget, and what they can provide for you based on that number.

As always, if you are feeling overwhelmed by understanding how much to budget for your project and where to start, please give me a call and I can talk through the first and next steps with you to get you on your way. And if you feel that you need even more help but aren’t quite ready to dive into that full project, look into our Overcome the Overwhelm service and we can get your moving confidently in the direction of a successful remodel or renovation project.