Call or Email Tracey between 9am & 5.30pm on weekdays
0404 673 355

Your home is your biography and tells the story of who you are. I am here to help you write your next chapter.

Tracey Bright, Melbourne Designer

How much does an Interior Designer cost?

While it’s easy to find an Interior Designer whose style resonates with you, determining their cost solely from their website can be challenging. Often, you need to inquire directly to get an accurate estimate. This is because each project is unique, and the cost depends on the extent of work required and the level of support you desire. Factors such as property size, project scope, customization needs, client budget, timeline, and more contribute to the overall cost.

Some services may be easier to quote than others such as E-Design Services and Interior Consulting Services as they are charged per room or hour. Those prices can be found on my website so I won’t discuss those services here. Let’s discuss a full Interior Design Service by breaking down the stages I go through with my clients.

custom material selections interior design

Stage 1: Discovery Call, free.

During our initial phone call, which typically lasts around 15 – 20 minutes, I have the opportunity to connect with you for the first time. This conversation allows me to gain insight into your location, understand any concerns you have about your property, learn about your home goals, and determine the most effective way to collaborate within your budget. It also gives you the chance to get a sense of who I am and decide if you would like to proceed with an in-person meeting. Assuming you are interested in moving forward with a full Interior Design Service and I believe we can accomplish the work within your budget, we will schedule a site visit or initial consultation to further discuss your project.

Stage 2: Initial Consultation, $475.

Our journey together begins with a comprehensive 1.5-hour consultation, during which we have the opportunity to get acquainted. To ensure a personalised experience, I’ll arrive at your door with your preferred coffee order before we embark on a tour of your home. Prior to the visit, I’ll request that you share a Pinterest board or presentation showcasing your desired design styles. It would also be helpful for you to provide photos of your home and a floor plan, allowing me to come prepared.

Throughout the consultation, I’ll ask numerous questions about your lifestyle, how each space is utilized by you and others, and your aspirations for your home. I’ll take ample photographs and videos to aid in the design process. While the standard consultation duration is 1.5 hours, larger projects may require more time. Within a 30km radius, the cost for this session is $475. It’s important to note that fees for similar sessions with other Interior Designers typically range from $200 to $700. Should you not feel a strong connection during this consultation, you are under no obligation to continue with the design service.

Interior Designer, Bright Side Interiors

 I would urge you to be wary of companies that offer free initial consultations at your home. These meetings provide significant value to the client, as initial ideas and concepts are shared to gauge the client’s design preferences and level of commitment. I believe in exciting my clients with fresh perspectives for each space, leaving them eager to embark on the design journey. The information and expertise shared during these consultations are professional and experienced, and therefore, in my opinion, should not be offered for free. Professional designers recognise the value of their time and charge accordingly.

Within 48 hours of our initial meeting, I will send you a client agreement form that outlines the scope of work and provides a detailed quote for the project. Once you review, approve, and sign the agreement, we will schedule another meeting where I will present a preliminary guide on the design direction for your home. This consultation allows me to further understand your preferences and aspirations before delving into the final design process.

Open plan living and dining

Stage 3: Concept Design, to be quoted.


During this phase, I immerse myself in the overall design concept, working diligently behind the scenes. You may not hear from me frequently during this time, as I like to maintain an element of surprise. My focus during this phase includes determining the colour palette, spatial planning, custom joinery design, sourcing furniture within your budget, personally inspecting and quality-checking products, arranging samples for tactile exploration, designing each space meticulously, and finalising the presentation document. The duration of this phase varies depending on the project’s size, typically ranging from 3 to 6 weeks. My charges for this phase are based on an hourly rate.

It’s important to note that Interior Designers have different charging structures. Some charge hourly, providing regular invoices throughout the project’s duration. Others, like myself, charge flat rates based on the scope of work. There are also those who apply a markup to furniture and trades. Hourly rates for Interior Designers can range from $90 to $290, depending on their experience and business model. In my case, I charge a flat fee based on the scope of work and the estimated time required to complete the entire project. My hourly rate is $150, with 50% of the flat fee collected upfront and the remaining 50% due before I present my work to you.

To provide some context, designing a living room and dining room typically requires around 30+ hours of work, while a complete five-bedroom home may take 120+ hours. This is why I indicate “Price on application” on my website, as every project is unique. The fee I charge covers the trade discounts I pass on to you in the next phase, ensuring that the benefits of these savings ultimately come back to you.

Hamptons mood board living room
Mood Board for a Hamptons living room

Stage 4: Procurement, 30% of savings.

During this stage, I take on the role of your project’s personal assistant. My responsibilities include organising invoices, monitoring deliveries, coordinating with retailers on your behalf, dealing with trades and addressing any product or general issues that may arise along the way. I strive to handle these tasks seamlessly, ensuring you are not unnecessarily burdened with details.

Quoting for this stage is extremely challenging because unforeseen circumstances can arise unexpectedly. In a recent project, I dedicated numerous hours over a span of 12 weeks to resolve multiple setbacks and issues faced by a retailer, particularly during the challenging times of the pandemic.

To accommodate this unpredictable phase, designers typically include a percentage of the trade discounts obtained through their business to cover their time. The specific split varies among designers, but I have established a 30/70 split with my clients, with 70% of the discounts going directly to you. This arrangement ensures that my time is compensated, and you not only recoup your design fee but also save additional funds.

By adopting this approach, you can have peace of mind knowing that I am handling the complexities behind the scenes while maximizing cost savings for you.

 

Note: Not every Interior Designer will share their trade discount with you and others may pass all of their savings to you. In both cases, their hourly rates are either much lower or higher (respectively).

Interior Design Shopping List
shopping list design service
An example of a working sheet I share with my clients showing all product details.

CASE STUDY:

Let me share a real-life example to demonstrate the value of hiring an Interior Designer and the significant savings that can be achieved. I worked on a project starting in late 2021, which is still ongoing (at the time of writing this blog). The project involved a large 5-bedroom home with a furniture and decor budget of $120,000. Through my access to trade discounts, I was able to secure an impressive $48,000 in savings for the client.

As part of my business model, I charge a procurement fee of 30% on the total savings achieved. In this case, the procurement fee amounted to $14,400, while the client retained $33,600 of the savings. It’s worth noting that the client’s initial design fee was not only redeemed through the trade discounts but also exceeded by the additional savings obtained.

This example highlights how hiring an Interior Designer can result in substantial savings and demonstrates the effectiveness of my approach in terms of both time and cost efficiency. By leveraging my expertise and industry connections, you can enjoy a seamless process while achieving remarkable savings, ultimately avoiding headaches and enjoying a beautifully designed space.

Bed cushions styling

10 reasons to hire an Interior Designer

When selecting an Interior Designer, it’s essential to look beyond just their design fees. Take the time to consider the following questions to ensure you make the right choice:

 

  1. Did you have a positive impression of the Interior Designer?
  2. Have they been responsive and reliable in their communication with you so far?
  3. Did they actively listen and understand your specific needs and preferences?
  4. Do you feel a good personal connection with them? Remember, they will be involved in your life for a significant period, so it’s important to choose someone you feel comfortable with.
  5. Were they transparent and upfront about their design approach and fees?
  6. How many clients do they typically work with simultaneously? Will you receive the attention and priority you deserve?
  7. Do they offer all the services you require? Don’t settle for compromises. If you need comprehensive project management, ensure the designer is equipped to provide it.
  8. Are they open to involving you in the design process? Consider how much participation you desire, and find a designer who aligns with your preferences.
  9. Do they pass on any trade discounts to you? This can significantly impact the overall cost of your project.
  10. Do they have positive reviews on reliable platforms like Google? Consider asking for references or the opportunity to speak with previous clients to gain further insights.

 

By considering these questions, you can make a more informed decision when choosing an Interior Designer who not only meets your budget but also aligns with your vision, communication style, and overall satisfaction. Remember, your home is a personal space, and finding the right designer can make all the difference in creating a space you love.

How to style shelves like an interior designer

What value does an Interior Designer provide:

There is a lot of value an Interior Designer can bring, such as:

  • A professional, trained eye to design the perfect home for you and your family.
  • A personal assistant to handle the legwork of visiting shops, testing furniture comfort, feeling fabrics, and checking colours on your behalf.
  • They thoroughly research suppliers, materials, products, and prices to ensure that every choice for your home aligns perfectly with your needs and budget.
  • You’ll get access to wholesale and trade-only suppliers, whom the general public cannot buy from (more bespoke and better prices).
  • Access to custom furniture makers
  • They have trade contacts in the industry
  • They manage the entire project for you.
  • They expertly manage your budget, making strategic investments and ensuring that you stay on track financially.
  • They eliminate costly errors by creating detailed scaled floor plans.
  • You will save time as your designer is a professional and more experienced with the tasks on hand.
  • They’ll save your marriage…by bridging the gap between differing design visions, creating a harmonious home that satisfies both you and your partner.

I trust that this blog has provided you with a better understanding of the cost and value associated with hiring an Interior Designer. As the industry is multifaceted and diverse, if you have any further inquiries, I am more than happy to assist. Feel free to schedule a discovery call below if you are interested in exploring the possibility of collaborating with me.

Thanks for reading and take care. 

Tracey Bright, Interior Designer.

Tracey Bright, Interior Designer.

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