How much does an interior designer cost?
Ah the million dollar question – sometimes literally. Nearly every professional will tell you their rates vary, but this especially true for interior designers, who work with an incredibly wide range of materials, sites, timelines and stakeholders.
Some designers bill by the hour, others charge a flat fee, some use a combination of flat fee and hourly rates, and others work under a monthly retainer. ‘There is no one universal method that all designers use for fees, which means it’s important to read their contracts and fee proposals carefully,’ says Lauren.
When comparing fees, make sure you are comparing the same scope of work and profession. ‘The level of experience the designer has will affect the fee, and you are paying for their expertise rather than their time, as they can work more efficiently than a recent graduate,’ Lauren says.
In any case, it’s worth remembering that an interior designer’s fee will always be just one small part of the overall renovation or construction budget.
‘The built price for our projects range in price from $5,000-$8,000 per square metre.’ says Mardi.
So many things can influence this per square metre fee, ‘For example, the cost of a fridge can vary from $3,000 up to $30,000, and tiles can vary from $40 per square metre to $300 per square metre’ Mardi explains.
As a reference point, the total project cost of homes Studio Esteta have worked on range from $300,000 to $5 million (inclusive of construction but excluding landscaping works).
Even similarly sized projects can significantly differ in cost. Co-director of Studio Esteta Sarah Cosentino recalls a previous partial interior refurbishment of a three-bedroom home in Melbourne’s inner city comprising a new small en suite and walk-in robe, family bathroom with euro laundry, kitchen and butler’s pantry, refinishing of existing timber floorboards, new interior paint works, and a handful of new windows with a total project cost of approximately $300,000.
In comparison, the refurbishment of a four-bedroom home totalled a project cost of $900,000, excluding landscaping. ‘The scope was more substantial, comprising all new finishes, joinery, fittings, fixtures and lighting to the kitchen, living, dining, rumpus, study, laundry, bathroom, ensuite, master bedroom and three kids bedrooms,’ Sarah says. ‘New timber floorboards were proposed, and re-stumping to the house was required, as well as new skirting treatments and external paint works.’
For less exhaustive projects, Lauren Li outlines that decorating alone is a different service, which can range from $10,000 to $50,000 for the designer’s fee, before purchasing furniture.