Home Decor

How do interior designers bill for their time?

Here's what to expect when you recruit a pro to transform your space.

Chatelaine Home Feature, Designer Amy Kassam Photo, Janis Nicolay

Designer Amy Kassam helped create this beautiful home, featured in the April 2015 issue of Chatelaine. (Photo, Janis Nicolay.)

Interior designers bill differently, and variables such as location, years of experience and client demand can affect pricing. Most designers use one of the methods below (or a combination of them) to calculate their fees. Make sure you have a firm grasp of how your designer will account for the charges on your bill. Open communication before a job begins will reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and unpleasant surprises (and be sure to establish who pays for mistakes!).

1. Flat fee An overall price that reflects the total cost of the project, including purchases.

2. Hourly rate Fees based on actual time spent on the project.

3. Cost plus Designers use their wholesale discounts when purchasing furniture and services for clients and charge a markup. The sum may or may not total what clients would pay at retail prices without the benefit of having a designer. It’s up to the client and the designer to discuss discounts and how the savings will be passed on to the client. Ask to see receipts for any purchases made on your behalf.

Read more about working with a designer on a budget in the April 2015 issue of Chatelaine