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January 25, 2022

The Big and the Little in Interior Design Services and the Interior Designer

interior design services

What is interior designing?

The process of interior design services or interior designing goes beyond the initial thought of adding simple artistic flourishes to a home. Interior design services can involve anything from new construction remodeling, renovation, or even a simple artistic consultation. Interior design services begin with an initial consultation to create an idea for the needs of a project. This consultation provides assistance to help design a space based on a specific budget and needs. These initial services within a consultation can produce layouts, plans, specifications, etc. The role of the interior designer goes beyond mere decorative aid into a role that can be responsible for real estate planning and project management. 

How do interior designers charge for services?

Regardless of what area of the real estate industry a client is viewing, there is a multitude of services that each aspect must take care of. This accumulation of services creates a difficulty in creating a standard of payment. Typical charging strategies within interior design services, and other areas of real estate services like real estate photography, typically follow these approaches: by the hour, markup product, fee-based or, hybrid. 


The approach to charging is dependent on the designer themselves. Some designers take on a variety of small projects whereas some designers take on one large project at a time. Due to this variety in project acquisition, the way real estate services are charged to clients depends on the individual interior design project needs. For example, a higher-end and more experienced designer will typically have more steps, a more hybrid approach, within their payment process due to their variety of services and a larger amount of experience compared to others. A newer or less-experienced designer may stick to an hourly fee due to a lack of experience, fear of charging, etc. 

What is a flat fee or a fixed rate?

A flat fee is a fee discussed between a client and the interior designer that takes into account the extent, the time spent, and the cost that will go into a design project prior to the project taking place. This process of charging covers all contingencies within a large cost. 


This will apply to all time spent, furniture and art bought, interior design photography and the entirety of the process as a whole. An initial fee will likely be paid prior to the design process taking place as a form of a deposit. One objection to this charging process is that a designer cannot predict the extent of a project. There is no time and effort predictor, so if a project becomes extremely strenuous, there may be a chance that a designer is undercharging. 

What is an hourly fee?

An hourly fee is exactly how it sounds: a fee that keeps track of time spent working and pays an interior designer for time spent. This type of payment is sometimes frowned upon from the perspective of a designer. The hourly fee focuses on payment for time working versus payment for the skills and experience that are required to work in interior design services. Some clients may be hesitant to utilize this type of payment because it is hard to determine the work ethic of a person prior to hiring them. An interior designer that does not perform their tasks in sufficient time may end up overcharging their client. 

What can a hybrid fee do?

A hybrid fee combines various types of payment methods to best fit a person’s interests. This fee can combine anything from the flat fee, hourly fees, percentage over costs, square footage, etc. The hybrid fee typically includes a flat fee on top of the other fees it works with. An example of a hybrid fee would be an interior design service that charges a flat fee as well as a quantitative measure of hourly time with retail discounts included.

What services do interior designers offer?

Interior designers work to provide services that aid in providing style to a home that fits a client’s aesthetic and budget. An interior designer can produce layout plans, mood boards, and or art/style specifications. Depending on the extent of the project, an interior designer may work with a contractor, architect, or project manager to best implement the designs created for the client. The project that an interior designer works on will really determine the services an interior designer offers.

What are the services provided in interior design?

Interior design services utilize a variety of techniques in a variety of areas to best fit a client. Interior design is not limited to quick decorative design additions, but an interior designer can almost take on the role of a project manager. An interior designer can cultivate new construction projects, renovations, or even just simple furnishing and art decisions. 


A construction package for an interior designer could take the idea of a home or a piece of commercial real estate and cultivate it from the ground up. This role is a collaborative role that works with architects, construction companies, etc. The interior designer could assist in planning out spacing, finishing on things like plumbing or even hardware, custom furniture, and purchasing materials for the home.


Renovations are what most people see interior designers do. These renovation services are what channels like HGTV display as a complete redo of a home. The renovation process in interior design focuses on a process of remodeling, i.e. remodeling an outdated kitchen to fit modern design plans. 


An interior designer can also simply focus on decorative aspects for a home that fit the needs and style of a client. The designer works to find the client’s aesthetic to create a room and home that flows together with the style. The interior designer may do anything from art curation to designing custom furniture or simply creating a mood board for an idea of a space. 

What does full service interior design mean?

Full-service interior design means that the interior designer or the company that is in charge of interior design services manages a majority of the work for a client’s project. This full-service interior designer becomes a project manager of sorts: placing orders, working with contractors, creating a budget and timeline for a client. The full-service interior design gives way for the client to relax as the interior designer handles a majority of the responsibilities.