How Do Designers Quote Interior Design Costs?


A quotation is the first document that the designer sends to the client for the services he will be offering. It is important that this letter is documented well so that there are no issues later on. There are various billing methods that are used by a certified interior designer to charge clients for the services rendered. No matter what method an interior designer adopts to quote interior design costs, it should be very well communicated to the client so that both parties are in sync with each other.

How do designers charge clients for their work?

  1. Fixed Rates

This fixed amount covers all contingencies and when both the parties agree, a small fee is paid in advance before the work actually commences. This initial amount can be 10% to 40% of the total payment that has to be made to the interior designer. Some interior designers don’t like this approach because they feel that the scope of work expands later and they end up spending more time on the project. This is why they go for hourly rates. But from the client’s point of view, this is a great method because he has an excellent understanding of his design investment before signing a design agreement. It is that one fee structure that is the most transparent and has no possible conflict of ethics.

  1. Hourly Rates

Many professionals like engineers, interior designers, architects, lawyers, and accountants charge their fees based on the number of hours they have spent on the project. The interior designer in this case keeps a detailed record of daily work and the number of hours spent to execute this work. Later the client is billed according to the number of hours expended. This is a great method for a client who requires a small scope of work. This method can actually be a cost-effective method to work with a designer. The drawback of this method is that homeowners feel that the interior designer deliberately works slower when they are paid according to the number of hours spent on the project.

  1. Cost per Square Foot

This is a very simple method to quote interior design costs. Here, the interior designer measures the client’s space so that he can come up with the square meter to be designed. He then multiplies this value with the pre-determined amount. This method is usually used for space planning tasks and the amount is mutually agreed upon by both the parties.

  1. Percentage over costs

This is a popular way of charging for residential projects. In this, a predetermined percentage markup on the charges that the designer pays to the vendors and merchants is applied. The markup is on the furnishings, furniture, labor, etc. the actual net cost is then paid to the interior designer along with a commission which includes design and planning, installations, and delivery.

  1. Combination Rates

This method is generally good for large and complex projects. If someone is looking for the cost of interior designs for small homes, then combination rates might not work. Here the initial work of space planning is charged as per square footage at a pre-fixed rate, or maybe an hourly rate by the interior designer. Above the billing cost, the interior designer might ask for a percentage for ordering the furniture, deliveries, and furnishings.

To conclude

During the initial interview, it is the duty of the designer to explain all the options available to the prospective clients. This will help the client to decide which the best mode of payment is and which one is preferable to him. Once both the parties meet an understanding, they can hit off with the project. The quotation that the interior designer sends should be written in simple words and should also be informative. Just making this document is not enough. It should be sent at the right time so that the client gets enough time to evaluate it. Also, a written quote for interior design costs is always better than a verbal one. Once the project has started, the client should trust the designer he has hired if he wants to enjoy a better design journey. There should be utmost clarity about the fee of the interior designer so that the same topic doesn’t come up once the project has started.


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