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?

It’s easy to find an Interior Designer that you like, but it can be hard to figure out how much they cost by looking at their website. It seems like you always have to enquire, right? This is because every project is completely different and it all depends on how much work you require from an Interior Designer. The more hand-holding you need, the more expensive it gets. The cost depends on the size of the property, the scope of work involved, the level of customisation needed, the client’s budget, the timeline we are working with, and much more.

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.

This is the first time I speak to my clients over the phone. During this 15 minute phone call, I get a quick understanding of where you live, your issues with your property, your home goals and discover the best way of working together within your budget. It gives you a chance to suss me out and discover whether or not you’d like to meet me in person. Assuming you would like to proceed with a full Interior Design Service, and I believe we can achieve this work within your budget, we’ll arrange a site visit/initial consultation.

Stage 2: Initial Consultation, $475.

This is the beginning of our journey where we get to know each other in a 1.5-hour consultation. I’ll arrive at your door with your coffee order and go for a tour of your home. Before I visit you, I’ll ask you to share a Pinterest board or a presentation outlining your dream design styles. I’ll also get you to share some photos of your home and your floorplan before I visit so that I can be prepared.

During our consultation, I’ll be asking lots of questions about your lifestyle, discovering how you (and any others) use each space, finding out what your dreams are for your home and other important elements. I will also take lots of photographs and videos. The consultation generally takes 1.5hours but bigger projects may require more time. This session is $475 within a 30km radius. You can expect to pay anywhere between $200-$700 for these sessions with other Interior Designers. You are not obligated to continue with the design service if you don’t feel a good connection during this consultation.

Interior Designer, Bright Side Interiors

I would urge you to be wary of companies who offer free initial consultations at your home. I say this because a lot of value is provided to the client during these meetings. I would always share initial ideas or concepts with my clients to see how far they are willing to go with the design. I’ll excite you with new ways of seeing each space, leaving you eager to get started! This information is professional and experienced and should not be free, in my opinion. A professional designer will value their time and charge accordingly.

Within 48hours of this meeting, I’ll send through the client agreement form, outlining the scope of work and quote for the job. Once you approve and sign the dotted line, we will organise another meeting for me to present a very rough guide on the design direction for your home. This is another consultation where I get to know you even more, before I get down to work on the final design.

Open plan living and dining

Stage 3: Concept Design, to be quoted.

During this phase, I will get to work on the overall design concept. My clients may not hear from me too often during this time as I like to keep an element of surprise. I figure out your colour palette, your spatial planning, custom joinery design, source your furniture within your budget, quality check and eyeball products in person, organise samples for you to touch and feel, design each space and finalise the presentation document. Depending on the size of the project, this phase can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks and is charged by the hour.

All Interior Designers charge differently. Some may charge hourly, invoicing regularly through the duration of the project. Others may charge flat rates based on the scope of work (as I do) and others may rely on a markup placed on all furniture and trades. Interior Designer hourly rates can range anywhere from $90 – $290 depending on the designer’s experience and business model. I charge a flat fee based on the scope of work and the time it may take me to complete the full scope. My hourly rate is $150. 50% of this flat fee is paid upfront and the other 50% is paid before I present my work to the client.

To put this into context, a living room and dining room may take around 30+ hours to work on, while a full 5-bedroom home may take 120+ hours. This is why I need to say “Price on application” on my website, as no two projects are the same. The Fee that I charge here, makes its way back to you via the trade discounts that I pass on to you in the next stage.

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

Stage 4: Procurement, 30% of savings.

This stage covers the organisation of your invoices, monitoring of deliveries, organisation of deliveries, liaising with the retails on your behalf and dealing with any product or general issues along the way. I act as your PA for your project, and quite often you won’t even know about issues that may arise (I don’t like to bother you unnecessarily).

This stage is virtually impossible to quote for as there is no way of gauging what curveballs we might be thrown. On a recent project, I spent many hours over 12 weeks with one retailer who had multiple setbacks and issues within their own business (during covid times). To cover this volatile phase, designers generally take a percentage of the trade discounts obtained through their business which covers their time. This split is up to the designer, but I have settled on a 30/70 split with my clients (70% of discounts go to you). This ensures that my time is covered and you get your design fee back plus save extra!

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.


To put the volume of savings into perspective and show you the value in hiring an Interior Designer, here is a true example of a project I started in late 2021 (still a WIP 1 year later). This was a large 5 bedroom home with a budget of $100k for furniture and large decor. I was able to get the client $44k in savings with my access to trade discounts. I kept 30% as a procurement fee which was $13,200 and the client kept $30,800. Their Design fee was redeemed through trade discounts PLUS that amount again in savings. With my business model, you can save a lot of time, money and headache. 

Bed cushions styling

10 reasons to hire an Interior Designer

Let’s be honest, a huge reason why people settle on one designer is for their design fees. But I urge you to look deeper than that. When considering your Interior Designer, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did you get a good feeling from this Interior Designer?
  2. Have they been responsive to your calls/emails to date? You need someone reliable.
  3. Did they listen and understand your needs?
  4. Can you see yourselves getting along well? They will be in your life for a while so pick someone you like! Your home is personal, and you should feel comfortable.
  5. Were they open and upfront about their design approach and fees?
  6. How many clients do they take on at once? Will you be prioritized or added into the mix?
  7. Do they offer all the services you require? Don’t compromise. If you need full project management because you are a busy professional, then don’t go for a designer who lacks project management.
  8. Do they involve you or not in the process? Think about how you’d like to participate (if at all).
  9. Do they pass on any of their trade discounts?
  10. Do they have good reviews on Google? Anyone can write a review on a website….Google is more reliable. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can speak with a previous client too! I did this when I hired my business coach and it was very helpful!
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 person to run around shops, bum testing, fabric feeling and colour checking so that you don’t have to.
  • They research every supplier, material, product and price to ensure it is the perfect choice for your home, needs and budget.
  • You’ll get access to wholesale and trade only suppliers, where the general public cannot buy from (more bespoke and better prices).
  • Access to custom furniture makers
  • They have contacts in the industry
  • They manage the entire project for you.
  • They manage your budget for you, investing wisely and keeping you in line.
  • They prevent expensive mistakes by doing 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…designing a home is exhausting and stressful especially when you and your partner’s visions don’t align.

I hope this blog has given you more clarity as to how much an Interior Designer will cost and the value they bring? It is a complex and variable industry, so if you have any other questions, I’d love to hear from you. Book a discovery call below if you’d like to consider working with me.

I hope this clears things up. Thanks for reading and take care. 

Tracey Bright, Interior Designer.

Tracey Bright, Interior Designer.

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