How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Interior Designer?

Average range: $2,000 - $12,000
Average Cost
(full-scale services for one room in the home)

Get free estimates from interior designers near you
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How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Interior Designer?

Average range: $2,000 - $12,000
Average Cost
(full-scale services for one room in the home)

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Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez. Written by

Working with an interior designer helps you realize your home dreams. Designers work with you to make the most of a space, from the layout to the furnishings that best suit the room and your tastes. You can hire a designer as a consultation or use them for full-service designs, which means there is a wide range of associated costs with this service.

The average homeowner spends between $2,000 and $12,000 on interior design services, with most homeowners paying around $5,500 for full-scale design services for one room in the home.

Interior Designer Costs
National average cost$5,500
Average range$2,000-$12,000
Minimum cost$900
Maximum cost$30,000

Interior Design Cost by Project Range

Designer for a day consulting session
Average Cost
Full-scale services for one room in the home
Full-scale services for the entire home

What Does an Interior Designer Do?

Interior designers provide many services for designing, decorating, and planning the interior of a home. They can assist you with the layout of a space during remodeling or construction, planning the furniture layout of the room once the room is built, and choosing which furnishings and colors will work best for the room, including the size, shape, and coordination of it all.

Hiring an interior designer helps you make the most of your home’s interior potential. If you want to maximize the way a space is used, create a cohesive look, or upgrade your furnishings to best suit the space and your needs, an interior designer can help.

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Interior Designer Consultation Fee

Interior designers work for you in different ways, but all involve a consultation. For full-service designs, the consultation is the initial meeting where you and the designer determine the scope and scale of the project. For consultation services only, this meeting gets you started on creating your personalized interior design plan, with future consultations as needed. Some designers offer all-day consultations called Designer for the Day, where they assist you with basic layouts and choices, and then you complete the project yourself.

For most consultations, designers charge a flat fee of $50 to $250. This is in addition to any other fees or schedules the designer may provide. For all-day consultations, the price may be closer to $600 - $900, depending on the level of involvement.

Interior designer choosing color samples for a home project

Interior Designer Price List

Interior designers charge for their services in a variety of ways. Most new designers begin with an hourly rate, while more seasoned designers charge by the square foot or have a flat fee per room. For big projects, such as the interior design of an entire house under construction, expect to pay a percentage based on the total project costs:

Fee typeCost range
Hourly$75 - $450
Per square foot$10 - $17
Flat fee per room (design only)$500 - $1,500
Percentage of project costs10% - 30%
Cost Plus (designer markup)20% - 45%
Markup on retail10% - 30%
Per room with furniture$1,000 - $15,000
1-hour consultation$50 - $250
Total Average$2,000 - $12,000

Interior Designer Hourly Rate

This was once the gold standard for how most interior designers charged, and it is still how most junior designers price their services. Some senior designers may also charge an hourly rate for staff services like drawings. Most designers also provide an hourly range when pressed, but due to more designers wanting to be transparent with their time, most charge based on flat fees or by the square foot, and only charge hourly for additional services. The hourly rate for a junior designer is about $75 - $100, while a more experienced designer may charge up to $450. Most designers have an hourly rate of around $175.

Interior Designer Costs Per Square Foot

Many designers charge based on square footage. This is easier for homeowners to understand because they can easily calculate the size of a room and determine its square footage. Keep in mind that these fees are for their design services only, which includes drawing, planning, and furniture selection. It does not include furniture or the consultation fee and may not include things like travel.

Most designers charge between $10 and $17 per square foot, with $12 being the average. This means that designing a 100 sq.ft. room costs about $1,200.

Interior Designer Cost Per Square Foot

Interior Designer Cost Per Square Foot

Square FootageAverage Cost

Interior Designer Costs Per Room

Some designers charge a flat fee based on the room you are working on, which may change depending on the room size and your intentions. If this is the case, your designer may wait until the consultation to give you a fee schedule based on the scope of the work they feel it will need.

These costs have an enormous range, depending on whether this is a remodel, new construction, or decorating an existing home. It is not uncommon for fees to fluctuate greatly, depending on what you hire the designer to do. The following costs are averages for full-scale design services per room. Consultations and smaller-scale packages have different prices.

Interior Designer Costs per Room

Interior Designer Costs per Room

RoomAverage costs
Hallway$500 - $5,000
Bedroom$1,000 - $2,000
Kid’s bedroom$1,000 - $2,000
Home office$3,000 - $5,000
Living room$4,000 - $5,000
Family room$4,000 - $5,000
Bathroom$4,000 - $10,000
Kitchen$5,000 - $10,000
Entire home$30,000 and up

Freelance Interior Designer Day Rates

Many designers now offer day rates, which means that you can hire a designer for up to 8 hours, with the occasional phone call consultation later as needed. This gives you the expertise of the designer at a much lower rate because you will do the project management, driving, ordering, and placement of furnishings yourself. Not all designers offer this service, and most high-end firms require you to purchase full-scale design services, but for smaller firms and freelance designers, this can be an option. Expect to pay between $600 and $900 on average for the day, but some designers charge up to $1,200 for very involved consultations.

Interior Designer Flat Rates

This is less common, but some firms charge a single, flat rate. This may be a minimum fee, such as $4,000 for design services, or they may have flat fees for each service, such as each drawing costs of $60, a consult at $250, and furniture selection for $500. There is a push for more designers to be transparent in their pricing, so if your designer has a flat-fee schedule, this will likely detail which services they provide for the fee.

Expect flat rates to range from $1,000 to $12,000 per room designed.

Cost Plus, Percentage, or Commission Fees

Interior designers have a range of other costs that they may charge in addition to their design and consultation fees. For example, they may have a charge called Cost Plus, which is their cost, plus an additional percentage, usually around 20% to 45%. They also frequently charge a percentage for furnishings in addition to the cost of the furnishings. For example, if you purchase a chair through them, they may get a discount, and then charge you the full rate, split the discount with you, or charge you the full price plus an additional 25% for the ordering and other work involved. These rates are standard, and most designers charge them, whether they disclose this or not. They are sometimes referred to as commission rates.

If you have a major project like an entire house build or remodel, you can hire a designer at the same time to help with the layout of the interiors, as well as decorating and furnishing them. If this is the case, their fee will be a percentage of the total budget, ranging from 10% to 30%, but this fee may change as the project progresses, depending on the scope of work.

Expect to pay travel fees for when your designer shops for furniture or travels to your home. This is often charged at $75 an hour. There may also be charges for communications like emails and phone calls, which are billed in 15-minute increments at the designer’s hourly rate.

Your designer will likely charge you a deposit or retainer at the start of your project, which is roughly equal to 10% of the cost. From there, your designer will likely have a fee schedule, where you pay the remaining amount in installments throughout the project. A typical breakdown of this fee schedule may look like:

FeeCost (%)
First installment50%
Second installment10%
Third installment15%
Final installment15%

If you purchase furniture from them, you will likely need to pay 50% of these costs upfront.

These costs may change as the project goes forward, but a transparent designer will work with you and show you changes in the fee schedule before you receive an unexpected bill.

Domestic Kitchen Design

Cost Factors of Interior Designers

Numerous factors impact the cost of your project with an interior designer. This is in addition to the fee structure they charge. Furnishings have a range of prices, rooms may need more or fewer pieces of furniture, and you may make major changes to the layout of a room or simply coordinate furnishings. If the designer oversees a big project, this can add another 25% to the total budget. If the designer has associates working for them who do the drawings, they will be charged at an hourly rate. To be transparent, many designers calculate the amount of time that it will take to do a specific project and charge based on this number. Others charge by the hour for everything and then add in their Cost Plus at the end. Whenever possible, a designer should give you a letter with the scope of the project and transparency of fees so that you can see what you are paying for when you hire them.

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Benefits of Interior Designers

Interior designers work with you to maximize the potential of your home. They understand space planning and help you lay out the rooms of your home to meet your needs. They can choose furnishings that fit the space perfectly - not too large or too small. They also work with you to create a cohesive design for the space so that it looks put together and meant for the home.

In some ways, hiring a designer can save you money long term. For example, if you purchase furnishings yourself for a space that does not work, you will end up buying more furniture later to replace it. Hiring an interior designer from the start may avoid that situation.

Is Hiring an Interior Designer Worth It?

This depends entirely on you, your goals, and your home. For some people, hiring a designer means that they get a perfectly put together home that is tailor-made for their family all at once, which is worth it to them. Other people may not care as much about whether the space has that finished, pulled-together look, so for them, hiring a designer may be an expense they cannot justify.

Hiring an online design service, virtual design service, or doing a day service can help split the difference. You get advice on what will work while doing the majority of it yourself to save money. Only you can determine if these costs are worth it.

Elegant living room interior design with corner sofa and coffee table

Interior Design Associations

Many interior designers belong to associations that lend some influence and credence to their firm. To join these associations, the designer must be accredited and licensed, which gives you peace of mind that you are hiring a reputable professional. The American Society for Interior Designers and the Interior Design Society are the two associations most professionals are associated with.

Interior Designer vs Interior Decorator

You may hear the terms interior designer and interior decorator used interchangeably. These are two different professions, despite some degree of crossover.

An interior designer has experience in the construction industry. They understand space planning and layout and often work with architects and builders when designing spaces. They can also furnish and decorate a space when it is complete.

Interior decorators only furnish and decorate spaces. They do not offer drawings, space planning, or project management services, and they only begin work once the home is built.

Interior Decorator Cost

Interior decorators usually charge by the hour, although some charge by the room as well. Most people pay between $3,500 and $5,000 on average for projects involving a decorator.

Interior Decorator Hourly Rate

The hourly rate for a decorator is between $100 and $200 for most decorators and up to $500 an hour for some luxury decorators. These rates are usually inclusive.

Decorator Consultation Pricing

Just like interior designers, some decorators offer a consultation at the start of their services. This is in addition to their hourly rate and usually runs between $150 and $250.

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Color Wheel for Interior Decorating

The color wheel is an important part of any interior design or decorating project, and your designer will likely rely on one to help you see the connections between the potential colors. Color wheels help your designer choose subtle or dramatic color combinations, and you can visualize what your finished space will look like.

Color wheels for interior design

Additional Considerations

  • In most states, professional interior designers are required to pass an exam and register with the state’s governing council. This varies by state, so always check your designer’s credentials to make sure they are in line with state regulations.
  • Always get at least three references from your designer like you would from any other household contractor. Also, check with associations like the Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no outstanding complaints against them.
  • If you are on a budget, you can still hire a designer on a consultation basis or use an online interior design service, which costs far less.
  • Your project will likely take place in stages to ensure that everything is done in a timely way, and any concerns can be addressed immediately, including the budget. If subcontractors are on the job, they need to follow the same schedule to keep the project moving forward.
  • Interior designers often have access to more sources for furnishings than you have. They can purchase quality materials and furniture that may last for years without needing to be replaced, which saves you money long term.
  • Treat the furnishing of your home as an investment, and budget accordingly. When on a budget, splurge on the most important pieces, such as the couch and bed, and save on the accent pieces like rugs and art.


  • How much does it cost to hire a decorator?

The price depends on many factors, including project size and scope. The average cost is around $5,500, but it may be much higher or lower.

  • How should I prepare to work with an interior designer or decorator?

The first step is to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Spend time looking at pictures, and bring the ones you like to the consultation so that the designer can get a glimpse of your tastes.

  • How much involvement do I have in the interior design process?

You can be involved in the process as much as you like. Some designers offer a sliding fee scale based on how much work the homeowner puts into the project. You can do most of the work or none at all, depending on your budget and comfort level.

  • Should an interior designer have a license?

This depends on your state. Most must be accredited, which means passing a test and registering with the state.

Cost to hire an interior designer varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Minimalist Interior Design of Duplex Home Living Room
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Cost to hire an interior designer varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources