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How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Interior Designer?

interior design
interior design

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Interior Designer?

Interior renovationsHow Much Does It Cost to Hire an Interior Designer?

What was once considered a luxurious service reserved for hotels and restaurants is now increasingly sought-after by homeowners. Interior designers are called upon to revamp living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Hiring the services of an interior designer can be a wise choice if your goal is to tailor your home to your favoured aesthetic, rather than settling for something that vaguely resembles it. 

Resorting to the services of a professional is akin to having peace of mind and unearthing new ideas you may not have thought about in the first place. So, how much does it cost to hire an interior designer? And, what are the foremost reasons for hiring their services? Keep reading to find out!

How Much Do Interior Designers Charge Per Hour? 

interior design

Source: Canva

Prices and More

During your initial meet-up with the designer in question, make sure you talk budget. Index-Design, a Montréal-based studio, recommends inquiring about the consultation fee and duration of the meeting. Some agencies offer said service free of charge, while others charge for it. Interior designers offer their services according to a multitude of billing structures:

  • fixed rates (project-based pricing), 

  • hourly,  

  • percentage-based.

Professionals who are paid based on a fixed percentage will invoice you between 8-15% of the project’s total cost. 

In terms of flat fees, Index-Design highly recommends inquiring whether plan alterations are included in the rate and what the additional costs might be beyond that. It would be unfortunate to soar through your budget if you tend to go back and forth on your decisions. A fledgling interior designer’s rate typically starts around $60 an hour. However, rates can skyrocket to $100, maybe even closer to $150, when hiring the services of an experienced professional who reaps a certain notoriety. 

Now then, note that the world of interior designing has one taboo: commissions. Some designers receive as much as a 15% commission on all products and materials. If you hire a designer and purchase a $3,000 kitchen, wallpaper for $500, and an $800 bathtub, you could save up to $650 with their 15% discount. Some interior design professionals share certain perks with their clients while others prefer not to. Ask them directly. The whole commission issue might make your decision a whole lot easier. 

Why Hire an Interior Designer?

interior design

Source: Canva

Whether renovating or building, interior designers come up with different interior concepts. They deal with both the functional and aesthetic side of the equation. It’s rather common for such professionals to also present 3D renderings of their ideas for you to better visualize their concept within your future space. 

Said design specialist understands the various standards and regulatory requirements, as well as material specificities and the latest trends. They will be able to spill their expert knowledge atop your ideas, while also helping you further develop concepts to achieve the sought-after results. Hiring an interior designer also means saving on those hours spent shopping around, as they will be able to pinpoint strategic locations where you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether it’s materials, light fixtures, furniture, or decoration, interior designers will guide you into making choices that align with your needs and budget. Moreover, interior designers know where to go and will help you find what you need for cheaper.

What Is the Difference Between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator?

First and foremost, interior designers must complete an interior design technical training program. In Canada, such training is offered by Cegeps, colleges, and universities, as some will go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in interior design. 

The line defining said professions is often blurred, yet neither profession is remotely alike. If you’re looking for some guidance on how to pair your furniture, curtains, and other accessories in a given space, hire an interior decorator. If your needs are beyond the aforementioned, aligning with the ergonomics of a room, and rethinking the space’s structure, countertops, cupboards, etc., you should seek out the help of a qualified interior designer.

What Are the Advantages of Hiring an Interior Designer?

Save Time and Money 

It might seem contradictory to say that hiring an interior designer will save you money, but it’s really not. Their expertise and industry know-how will ensure that your project is feasible and done efficiently. The interior designer’s level of expertise will limit the margin for error that as an inexperienced DIYer, you’re likely to experience. Designers can also leverage their industry-related connections.

Get Professional Tips & Tricks 

The training completed by interior designers allows them to better understand their clients’ needs and, therefore guide them along the way to achieving the perfect interior design. 

Sidestep Interior Design No-Nos

Hiring a professional means ensuring your interior design will prevail with an ageless aesthetic. Interior design projects are often accompanied by a steep price tag, which is compelling enough to choose a timeless look, one that's sustainable to avoid having to start again in a few years’ time when trends have come and gone, yet again. 

How to Find a Good Interior Designer for Your House

interior designer

Source: Canva

Interior designing is a trade that’s regulated and subjected to strict quality standards. All interior designers must first have one of the following: an Attestation of College Studies (ACS), a Diploma of College Studies (DCS—DEC in Quebec), or a Bachelor’s degree. 

Prior to hiring anyone, take a peek at their interior design portfolio to assess past projects, see whether their design style aligns with yours, and so forth. You can also go as far as to review the feedback provided by past clients.

Vibe Check

First things first, before going ahead and hiring the services of an interior designer for your renovation project, make sure things jive between you two. This is super important given that they will be responsible for bringing your vision to life. During that initial meet-up, you will be able to assess whether the vibe’s there or not. Try to ascertain the designer’s personality to ensure it’s compatible with yours. Are they good listeners? Are they considering your ideas? Is this meeting making you want to pursue this collaboration or not?

Interior designing is teamwork between the client and the professional, but the end result has to be representative of who you are. Part of a winning team is compatible personalities and a collaborative atmosphere. The upside of “vibing” with the interior designer is you’ll feel comfortable suggesting ideas. 

Designer’s Style 

By perusing the designer’s website or online portfolio, you’ll swiftly have an overview of their artistic direction. Every designer’s style is showcased by their use of patterns, materials, and colours. They can either suit you…or not. 

Modern, minimalist, retro, or classic, there are a plethora of interior design aesthetics. Rest assured, even if you aren’t sure what style you’d like your living room or master bedroom to embody, the designer will help guide you in your choices. 

As is commonly said, there’s no accounting for taste or colour preferences. Therefore, we highly recommend working with an interior designer who has similar tastes as you. It’s always best to work with someone with whom you’re on the same wavelength, as you might be able to piggyback off of their ideas for your renovations.  

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Different Interior Design Agencies

While it might seem simple, weighing an agency’s merits and pitfalls is complex and disconcerting, especially if you aren’t familiar with local designers and agencies. Prior to scheduling a meeting, do your due diligence and carry out in-depth online research. Doing so will allow you to learn more about an agency's team of designers, and each of their styles and, in turn, have a better idea of their industry reputation.

Meeting with at least four professionals is recommended prior to hiring the designer of your choice. Make sure they have worked on similar projects in the past and confirm their years of experience in the industry. An experienced interior designer shouldn’t be hard-pressed to provide references from a dozen clients. Rates are also an especially important discussion point. From there, you’ll know whether your budget foots the bill or not.   

A Few Pointers:

  • Do your research and peruse the Internet to figure out what you like prior to meeting up with the designer (Pinterest and Instagram are the perfect tools to find worthwhile ideas/concepts);

  • Avoid hiring your neighbour’s designer as you may not be like-minded;

  • Establish a realistic budget and stick to it;

  • You don't always have to pay more for better; get that out of your head;

  • Take time to ponder over the choices you have to make (materials, colours, patterns).

Rundown of Applicable Rates

Interior Designer Rates

Average Pricing

Hourly rate (budding designer)


Hourly rate (reputable designer) 

$100 - $150/hour

Percentage-based rate

8% - 15% of budget

Click here for a detailed account written by one of our staff writers about her experience of working with an interior designer during her large-scale renovation project.

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Last modified 2024-07-15

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