How much does an interior designer cost?

by | Sep 15, 2023 | Advice & inspiration, Building basics & regulations, Building costs, Building new

Do you have an upcoming interior design project in the works but are scratching your head about how much the total cost will be? In this article, we’re taking a look at the costs of interior decorating and the design process behind it. So let’s lay out the costs of interior designer rates.

What role does an interior designer have in your new home build?

Though interior designer and interior decorators are terms often used interchangeably, they’re actually two different job titles. An interior designer is someone who has studied interior design an expert in:

  • space planning
  • Optimising layouts and floorplans
  • creating cabinetry plans
  • assist with ideal furniture and furnishing for a living space.
  • incorporating your personal style into a practical design
  • bringing a certain aesthetic to your home.

Interior Design Costs by State

The average hourly rate in each Australian state is as follows:

Queensland: $80 to $250

New South Wales: $200 to $400

Victoria: $100 to $300

South Australia: $200 to $350

Western Australia: $100 to $300

ACT: $250 to $500

What factors will influence the cost of an interior designer?

No two projects will be quite the same, and while it’s difficult to guess the price of your project without further details, we can tell you what factors will have the most influence on your final cost.

Experience of the interior designer

Like most jobs, the price of an interior designer will fluctuate based on their level of experience and the interior designer’s qualifications. An inexperienced interior designer costs around $50-$90 per hour whereas an experienced interior designer costs between $100-$300. Whether it’s worth splashing out on a more expensive interior designer will come down to factors including your budget, the complexity of your project

Scope of the project

The logic behind this is pretty straightforward: the bigger the project, the more money it will cost. Interior design for a smaller room could cost less than $1000. An entire house, on the other hand, could cost as much as $20,000 or more.

Type of room/house you’re working with

Some spaces are going to be more difficult to work with than others. An odd-shaped or sprawling room will require more work than a standard rectangular living room. There will be more to do in certain types of rooms than in others. For example, a living room or kitchen are focal points of your home and therefore their interior designs will be more intricate and prioritised over less central areas.

Materials and furniture costs

This is one of the biggest fluxations between houses when it comes to interior designer costs. If you decide to go for all the luxury fixtures, custom-designed furniture made by a cabinet maker and a complete repaint is going to cost more than if you go for more standard choices. Your choice of materials can affect your costs by between $100,000-$200,000.

Other services were hired for the redecoration.

For entire houses or larger projects, other contractors may need to be called in to bring the interior decorators’ vision to life. This can include carpenters, cabinet makers, painters and a range of other tradies. If you choose for your interior decorator to also play the role of project management, they may be able to get you trade discounts.

How much will an interior designer cost for my project scope?

Let’s take a look at what you should expect for different project sizes. Keep in mind that the below only covers the services of the interior designer. The costs for any materials, furnishing or other services hired will need to be added on top of these estimates.

Cost of an interior designer for whole house design

The cost of an entire home can be $20,000 plus. It will vary depending on the size of your home, the layout and the complexity of your interior design.

Cost of an interior designer for multiple room design

Having multiple rooms or smaller projects professionally designed will likely cost you between $2,000-$12,000. This will depend on the work involved and the amount of works.

Cost of an interior designer for one room design

For a single living room, expect to pay around $1,000-$5,000. A large living room or one that gets a particularly luxurious design may have a higher total cost.

What are the different interior designer fee structures?

Design fees can be structured in a few different ways. Remember all of the below are excluding furnishings and material costs and only cover the services of the designer.

Hourly rate

Most interior designers will charge and hourly rate. The biggest factor is determining how much an interior decorator will charge per hour is the level of experience they have. A younger interior designer with less experience will charge between $50-$90, whereas a veteran of the industry can charge as much as $300 per hour. None of these costs will cover furnishings.

Flat rate

A flat rate is less common for interior designers as it provides both them and you with less flexibility. This is more likely to apply to something like an initial consultation

How to save money on an interior designer

  • Make your own purchases rather than letting the interior designer do it
  • Limit the amount of customised items (cabinets, etc.).
  • Serve as your own project manager. Remember this can go pear-shaped if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Have a strong idea of what you want before you hire an interior designer.
  • Only use your interior designer for some parts of your home, like just the living room and kitchen.

What are our tips for hiring an interior designer?

  • Talk to at least three interior designers and get a quote from each. This will provide you with an idea of what’s available and also give you some options.
  • Be aware each interior designer will have their specialities, strengths and style preferences. Even a well-regarded, hard-working, professional interior designer may not have the same taste as you. Therefore, we recommend checking each designer’s previous work to see if you’ll be a good match.
  • A good interior designer won’t just tell you what they think looks good. They will ask you about your taster stylistic preferences and what you want from your home and then use their expertise
  • Simpler projects may not require the most expensive interior designer you can find. Consider how difficult your assignment is and whether a less experienced designer could do the job.
  • Talk to a building broker to get their recommendations. Whereas you’ll hire an interior designer every few years at most, brokers at Buildi work with contractors day in and day out. We can help you find the best interior decorator for your home and help you save money and time.

Need help choosing an interior designer? Get free advice from an experienced builder broker


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