An authoritative guide to Interior Design Costs and Pricing
Renovating your home is a major decision and a significant investment. One of the first questions potential homeowners want to know is How much will using an interior designer cost?
If you are considering whether to hire an interior designer for your project, this cost and pricing guide is designed to help you understand what the likely investment range could be and decide the level of help that’s right for you.
The first thing to mention is that when updating your home interior design fees are a smaller proportion of the overall expenditure, which will include goods and other services such as tradespeople. More on that later in this article.
Updating your home is a bit like buying a car. With many different options available price ranges can vary drastically. For example some people will want a Mercedes, others will want a Mini and some will only look at a Lamborghini.
Whatever your preferred model is the entry level price can quickly increase with the addition of extras. For example, a Mercedes A Class entry level car starts at £31k for a basic specification, it can quickly cost well over £50k once a buyer adds items such as alloy wheels, all leather interior, heated seats, parking camera, Lane Assist, sunroof, BOSE sound system, upgraded engine size or electric transmission etc.
Interestingly, the average new car buyer sells or trades in their vehicle within the first five years of purchase; why do so many people choose to get so many upgrades? The answer is because most people understand the importance of getting what they want the first time to avoid having any regrets later on. People want to make sure their car will provide them with comfort, quality, longevity, reliability and enjoyable driving. For some people their car is an extension of their status and personal style.
These same principles typically apply to home owners that are planning to renovate or update their home. People’s requirements and desires will vary and the entry level of the update will alter accordingly. Except most people do not plan to trade in or update their home again for 15-20 years.
You and your family will spend many hours in your rooms, for as long as you live in that home. Having the best layout and flow of the rooms to suit your lifestyle and picking the right furnishings the first time is critical to ensure you’ll get maximum enjoyment with minimum regret over the wrong decisions. It becomes important not to waste money on making mistakes and have a finished home that makes you happy in the long run.
Regrettably, some people will only focus on the shell of the remodel without realising that some elements should be directly related to the furnishings, for example the lighting and power sockets should be positioned to reflect the furniture layout.
So, in going back to the original question – how much will using an interior designer cost? – you can start to see why the short answer is ‘it depends’ and the more pertinent question to ask is How much will my renovation project really cost? Because that is going to be the much bigger number.
How much does a room update cost?
The average cost of a start from scratch room update can be higher than most people think, mainly because you are very likely renewing most or all elements that go into it. Think of it like a recipe for a supper dish – there are lots of ingredients which are necessary to make the overall flavour and experience a memorable pleasure, and let’s not forget how it is presented also comes into play. Leaving out some of the ingredients means the end result may not be as delicious.
Some of the pieces or ingredients that are typically included in, for example, a living room are:
- Side tables
- Coffee table
- Console table
- Table lamps
- Floor lamp
- Wall lights or pendant
- Sideboard or storage cupboard or media unit
- Built in storage or shelving
- Curtains and / or blinds
- Radiator covers
- Artworks, framed pictures
- Accessories such as décor objects, vases, photo frames etc
- Paint or wallpaper
- Wood burner / fireplace
Then there are other costs such as
- Carpenter / joiner
- Curtain and blinds maker
- Curtain pole and blinds fitter
- Flooring contractor
- Delivery charges
If you are updating everything in the room including flooring and built-in furniture, the average price range for a room of this type can easily range from £25,000 to £50,000 or above depending on the number and quality of the items. Once it is done there should be very limited maintenance involved and it will last for 15-20 years. We have worked with clients on turnkey projects who typically spend in this range on principal rooms. On less important areas they will spend less – some rooms will be of a ‘champagne’ level others will be ‘beer’.
Naturally, some people only focus on how they can update for the cheapest price or the in the fastest timescale without considering if it suits their lifestyle now and into the future or the aesthetics, quality and durability. Getting it wrong inevitably leads to regret – especially considering that unlike a car it is not easy or quick to trade in furnishings or a house extension if you are dissatisfied with the result. There is an inevitable monetary cost to making mistakes and also an emotional one when you are reminded of the error every single day.
Let’s look at more detail of the elements making up a project and how they affect the cost:
There are four things to consider when researching the cost using an interior design studio to handle your home remodel, renovation or refresh.
- The professional design fees for designing your rooms.
- The costs of the goods or ‘things’ going into the rooms
- The costs of the services by the trades people who will make it happen, such as electrician, painter & decorator, contractor.
- The cost of project management on the project
With The House Ministry there are a few different ways you can achieve your finished room:
- A Consultancy for DIYers to give actionable advice and tips for you to design and execute yourself
- A tailored Design MasterPlan – a design for you to implement yourself
- A more Design MasterPlan Plus – design + supply of goods for you to install yourself
- Turnkey Grand Design, supply and ‘white glove’ installation with project management
Let’s look at each to learn more. The costs below are typical for principal rooms such as lounge, living room, dining room, master bedroom. Less important or smaller rooms would usually cost less:
- Consultancy Session : this will target specific problems, suggest design direction, tips and guidance for the home owner to take from there. The obvious advantage of this is for a small outlay the design problem that you have got stuck on will be solved and with our guidelines you’ll be able to continue yourself with confidence. This is ideal for people who are confident about designing, purchasing and arranging everything themselves. An in-home consultancy service starts from £399 and varies according to the number of rooms to be discussed and the deliverables required, which may include floor plans or 3D visuals.
- A tailored Design MasterPlan is a complete design for your room with all the furnishings chosen from high street or online stores. We will hand over the list and links to all the goods, and you’ll arrange everything from that point on – meaning you’ll place and track all the orders for the items, hire and oversee the necessary trades people and install all the furnishings.This is a great option for people who want their room professionally designed but would like to spread the cost of implementing it over time and are happy to arrange everything themselves and have the time to do so.Design MasterPlan suits furnishings budgets which are typically from £10k – £25k. Once the design with all the details has been handed over, the homeowner decides the speed and cost of implementing it. The room costs vary according to the extent of changes, eg, flooring changes, window treatments etc.
- Design MasterPlan PLUS – this differs from the previous two options in that it includes the ordering and tracking of all the furnishings by us, saving the homeowner time on that side of things. A service which includes supply of goods means a wider range of selections can be made from sources beyond the high street, leading to a more customised design and focusing on higher quality, sustainable or British made goods. The client handles all the other arrangements for the room such as hiring the trades people, unpacking and installing the furnishings.Something to remember with this service is that the purchase of the goods won’t be spread over time, but you’ll save on the cost of project management of the installation.Typically, design and supply projects will have a furnishings budget in the range of £15k – £25k+.
- Turnkey – Bespoke Interior Design from initial thoughts through to Completion. The overwhelming advantage of a turnkey design and installation service is convenience. Most clients find it worth the investment to let someone else handle everything – not to mention the added peace of mind knowing that there is one only company responsible for the interiors of the project. On average turnkey projects have furnishing budgets of around £30k – £50k per room. Projects that have a lot of custom joinery or high end finishes could easily cost more.
At this point you might be scratching your head and thinking these figures are much higher than you expected. While it’s natural to suffer from a bit of sticker shock, to give you some context a good exercise is to add up the cost of replacing everything in your current room – the total will probably surprise you. To help you with that I’ve written an article showing you how to work out a budget to do just that.
Typical design fees
As a reminder, there are three elements to consider when calculating the cost of updating your home. Firstly, what you’ll want to spend on the furnishings and other ‘things’, secondly what’ll you’ll need to spend on the tradespeople to achieve the finished result and thirdly the cost of hiring professional help to design your home and project manage the process to achieve the end result you want.
We base our professional fees on the six steps in our process, the work each entails and the deliverables you’ll receive for the service you require. We will quote a fixed fee for each step, based on an agreed scope of work. For an average principal room our design fees (steps 1-3) will start from £5000 + VAT and will vary by room size, complexity of design and service required. It is not unusual for a room design phase to require 40-60 hours’ work. Project management fees and the cost of goods are extra. The design phases can take around 6-12 weeks, and projects can often take 6-12 months to run through to completion but last 15 – 20 years.
If we are updating one room only for you, our fees may seem disproportionately higher than if we were doing multiple rooms which may combine a several tiers of importance or ‘champagne’ and ‘beer’ budgets and smaller scopes or work. There are greater economies of scale achievable when working on a bigger project.
Goods – we act as a retailer when purchasing goods on your behalf, while still achieving preferred pricing for you. We have an open book policy with tradespeople, which means they will bill you direct. We act with integrity and openness in all financial matters.
We will help you establish a budget for the project early in the process and work within it.
We will not be the cheapest firm out there, but generally in life you get what you pay for. We know it’s worth doing it properly and so you’ll only need to do it once.
Hopefully this has given you some ways you can achieve your dream home with professional help and a guide to what it is likely to cost.
Have some questions? Get in touch for a chat or send us an email to .