Whether you’re refurbishing your entire home or purchasing a couple of statement pieces, an interior designer can save you an incredible amount of time and money. Thanks to their expert guidance, creating a space that reflects your lifestyle, lived experiences and tastes is easier than ever.
We know what you’re thinking – aren’t interior designers for the fabulously wealthy? Thankfully, that’s just a myth. Everyone can afford professional input, and online design services start from as little as £99. You don’t need to break the bank to manifest the space of your dreams!
Before embarking on your project, you might be wondering “how much do interior designers charge?”. While we can provide pretty good guesstimates, it’s impossible to pinpoint a figure. The overall cost depends on multiple factors, including location, type of service and project size. Curious? Keep reading to find out more.
What does an interior designer do?
Before diving into the details, let’s explore what an interior designer does. After all, it’s helpful to understand what you’re actually paying for.
Interior designers are consultants that work with you to create eye-catching and functional rooms. Alongside prioritising gorgeous aesthetics, they think about how a space feels. Floor plans, furniture layouts and lighting have a dramatic impact on ambience.
The level of input rests on your budget and preferences. Some designers oversee the renovation from start to finish, collaborating with contractors and manufacturers. Others provide mood and sample boards to get you started – once you have the inspiration, you might want to complete the project yourself.
Ultimately, you have total control over the cost to hire an interior designer because you can pick and choose what you want.
How much do interior designers cost?
How much do interior designers charge? We wish we could give you an exact figure, but it depends on countless factors. On the bright side, the hiring process is flexible and it’s easy to find budget-friendly options. The following sections break down key cost considerations to keep in mind when comparing interior designers.
As you can imagine, the cost to hire an interior designer will be more in urban areas than in rural environments. There’s more demand in bustling cities, which pushes the prices up exponentially. On top of this, fees vary in line with wages. London, Cambridge and Oxford are some of the most expensive locations, whereas Leicester, Newcastle and Coventry tend to be more reasonable.
What about hiring an interior designer from further afield? It probably won’t save you as much money as you think. Besides being less practical, you’ll have to cover their travel and accommodation expenses for any time where they’re working on site – or travel for an initial site visit at the very least.
How much do interior designers cost? As much as you want them to! Setting a realistic budget is the secret to success, and your interior designer will do their best to bring your vision to life within those parameters.
You’ll need to produce two figures – how much you’re prepared to spend on interior designer fees and the project’s total cost, including building work, painting and furniture. We also suggest putting extra aside as a buffer, especially for large-scale refurbishments. Providing this information will help everyone understand the scale and scope of the assignment.
As well as the interior designer, one of your most significant expenditures will be the decorators who work underneath them. How much does a decorator charge per hour? Again, it depends. Shop around for the best prices and factor them into your total calculations. Remember that many designers have their own networks of trusted tradespeople, which you can benefit from.
Type of service
Once upon a time, interior designers only worked face-to-face. However, increasingly sophisticated technology has paved the way for equally valuable online services. One isn’t always cheaper than the other, but virtual consultations tend to be the more affordable option. Which should you choose? Why not combine the two for the best of both worlds?
Online services are perfect if you’re searching for inspiration but want to complete the bulk of the work yourself. Packages start from as little as £99 but often range between £150 to £895. You’ll usually receive:
- Concept or mood boards
- Space planning and layouts
- 2D elevations
- Shopping list
What are the benefits of online interior designers? Generally, the prices are more competitive because they don’t have to bill for travel or accommodation. Moreover, some clients prefer the convenience and flexibility of virtual working, particularly if they have unsociable schedules.
Although we can’t sum up “how much do interior designers charge?”, face-to-face services are typically pricier. In-person consultations often start from £250, including an introductory call to get the ball rolling.
Many people prefer this route if they have a large project with complex requirements. Sometimes, details get miscommunicated via email or telephone, so it’s best to catch up around the same table. Having someone regularly on-site is also more suitable for those who want to take a hands-off approach. You can sit back, relax and trust the designer to supervise the entire operation.
Price isn’t necessarily an indicator of talent, but it does reflect experience. Expect to pay more for interior designers with glittering portfolios and less for recent graduates or emerging talent. Here’s how we define our terms:
- Established: Ten or more projects
- Emerging: Five or more projects
- Graduate: One or more projects
Before starting work, interior designers will gauge the project size, complexity, and timescale. Of course, the bigger the square footage, the higher the cost. However, some rooms simply take more planning than others.
Residential vs commercial
Commercial properties are usually larger and more elaborate than residential buildings. Take a company office as an example – the space must be multi-functional and suitable for meetings, breaks, socialising and more. As such, interior designers spend more time on floor planning and designs, building regulations, and health and safety.
The total cost to hire an interior designer boils down to how long you expect the project to take. Hiring someone is more complex than a flat rate, so you’ll probably have to budget by the day or hour.
Be warned – unrealistic expectations are your worst enemy. You might want to save money, but pressuring the designer to complete everything in a few weeks only leads to expensive mistakes and frustration.
Fortunately, interior designers can help with this stage too, creating a schedule for your project. They will help you identify important milestones, dedicate a reasonable amount of time to each task and stay flexible. There are invariably hiccups along the way, such as sourcing the right materials and negotiating delivery times. Being adaptable and open to change will alleviate stress.
One of the best things about hiring an interior designer is that you can take the lead. You can cherry pick what you need depending on your budget and prioritise the things that matter most. Confused? Here’s a closer look at some of the design stages an interior designer can help with…
Every successful project starts with an inspiring mood board that reflects ideas back to the client. It acts as a lighthouse, keeping the team focused on the concept. Without a mood board, it’s easy to go off-track and over budget, especially if several strong personalities are working together.
Floor and space planning
Floor and space planning is crucial for complicated projects. The interior designer will map out the flow of your room so it’s functional as well as breathtakingly beautiful. There’s nothing more annoying than impractical spaces to make everyday tasks a chore!
It’s a non-negotiable service if you’re redesigning a commercial property. Shops use floor planning to spotlight best-selling products, while offices arrange the space to maximise productivity.
A sample board presents furniture, fabric, wall paint and accessories – basically, the elements inside the room. It’s similar to a mood board but more specific and in-depth. Seeing the materials and statement pieces together helps clients visualise the final look.
Rendering and sketches
Rendering and sketches are scaled-down images of your space. Some people struggle to imagine the end result, but these photorealistic images bring ideas to life and show how everything will fit together.
There are two types of renderings you might receive – hand-drawn or computer-generated. Both are impressive, producing 3D-simulated replicas of your renovations. Above all else, having accurate illustrations allows clients to make changes if necessary before the work’s completed.
Shopping list or Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E)
Quite simply, a shopping list collects everything you’ll need to complete the project. The list should include the following information:
- Room and item measurements
- Colour names
- Product names or numbers
- Shop name and location
- Number of items
- Cost of each item
- Total cost
As you can see, every component of an interior design project matters, from the initial mood board to the sketches. Budget-allowing, we recommend investing in a full service that covers all the details. Understandably, this is the most expensive option, but can you put a price on peace of mind?
Is an interior designer worth it?
We might be biased, but yes! There’s nothing more valuable than having a knowledgeable professional on hand to help you navigate the project. Everyone should be able to express themselves and create a life-affirming environment, regardless of budget. An interior designer can transform abstract ideas into tangible results while keeping an eye on the pennies.
Most importantly, this guidance will put you at ease. Renovating is a full-time job, and many clients don’t have the time to double as project managers. An interior designer will oversee the operations, so you don’t have to worry about feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or confused.
Although the initial cost might seem daunting, hiring a professional will save you money in the long run. Interior designers know how to spend your budget wisely and have access to the best deals and approved contractors. What’s more, you’ll be consulted every step of the way, meaning fewer mistakes.
Lastly, interior designers are a long-term investment because they increase the value of your property. Eye-catching and practical spaces are always in demand, so you’re guaranteed to make your money back if you decide to resell.
Find your dream interior designer today
We match you with vetted professionals based on budget, location, style and the specific design elements you need help with. Services start from as little as £99 if all you need is some inspiration, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. Who said interior design is only for the rich and famous?