How Much Do Interior Designers Charge and Why?

You have a project you want to get done, and you want to hire you an interior designer to help you.  But how much do interior designers charge and why?
designers, entry way, mirror, table, antique, neutral

You have a project you want to get done in your home, but you don’t know where to start or how to get it completed.  You want to hire you an interior designer to help you.  But how much do interior designers charge and why?

I remember two instances recently when it came time to talk budget and design fees.  The prospective clients were surprised when I quoted them the estimate.  One of them couldn’t believe it would take 8 hours to design her small breakfast room.  And another gentleman said ” I wish I could earn that much an hour.”

So,  I thought it would be a good idea to talk about why designers charge what they do.  What is the value a designer brings to the project.

It is a Business; Not a Hobby 

Interior design is a business, not a hobby.  Yes, it is fun.  Yes, it can be glamorous, but it is also hard work.  And, yes, interior designers are in business to make a living, just like everyone else.  What does it take to run your business and keep the doors open?  We have the same costs of doing business, whether we are working from a home office or design studio.  We have phones and utilities, computers and software, rent, insurance, subcontractors and employees, accountants and many other miscellaneous expenses associated with running a business.

home office, interior designer
Design Office


  Designers Education and Experience

There are many different levels of interior designers with different levels of experience and education.  Their experience, education, and talent are the reasons you are seeking them out, right?  Designers know what to do and how to get it done.

Many designers have a degree in interior design, as well as experience working with industry retailers and under other designers.  They also have experience working on all different levels of projects, vetting vendors, establishing trade, contractor, and vendor relationships.  Because of this background, they can make a decision or solve a problem on a project much quicker and with more accuracy because they have honed my skills and seen a lot of things over many years.

I heard a story of a designer who went on a color consultation and immediately knew which color to recommend when she go there.  The client asked her if she was still going to be charged for the full hour?  The answer was yes.  Why?  Because the designer had to drive to the location – time and money, and she made the selection so quickly because she had years of experience specifying paint colors.interior-designer-fees-new build-construction-floor plans

Custom vs Retail Projects 

There are basically two types of design projects – custom and retail.  One requires considerably more time and labor than the other.

The retail design project is one where you want the designer to source all the product from local and/or online retailers.  This is pulling together a space strictly from product that is readily available.  In many cases, the client has an idea of some specific vendors they want to use.

The custom design project is designed specifically for your particular needs and is not repeated in another home down the street.  It requires the use of trade resources, custom workrooms, and craftsman.

No matter what type of project, it will require time to measure, create floor plans, sourcing, presentation preparation, meetings and communications with clients and vendors, travel time, generation of paperwork, logistics, quality control, and problem solving skills.  All of these services are required for your project to have the end result of your dream home.

bedroom-upholstered headboard-bedding-white-transitional-traditional-lamp-hydrangea-blue-purple
Design details



Knowledge of Various Trades

A plumber, electrician, or seamstress only needs to be knowledgeable in their specific fields to be experts.  However, interior designers must have working knowledge of all the different trades required to pull a project together and manage it successfully.

This vast knowledge comes from working on different projects and building relationships with various vendors and trades.   It also enables us to be able to confidently recommend trustworthy and experienced people for your home.

kitchen, renovation, white, cabinets, gray, greige, granite, pendant
Kitchen Renovation

Interior designer fees are not inexpensive, but many times it is more expensive to try to the do the project on your own.  Designers end up saving you time, money, and stress.  At Terravista, we have created a variety of services so we can accommodate different budgets.

The bottom line is that it is all about communication.  Isn’t that always the case.  I believe in being completely transparent and real about how I work and charge.   If you don’t address the elephant in the room, then it is always looming there and you can’t establish trust.  And without trust, you can’t relax and have fun!

Let us help you save you time, money, and stress! Book your complimentary discovery call.   We can talk about your project and see how we can serve you and your family!





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Sherry Millien in Spring, TX on Houzz

About Me

A woman in a black dress sitting in a chair.

Sherry Millien, one of America’s premier interior designers and is known for the unique, one-of-a-kind interiors she creates for prominent clients throughout the metropolitan Houston area.

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