Question about decorators

chloenkittyDecember 19, 2013

I am considering hiring a decorator for our new build. Not for the entire house, just kitchen and perhaps a bit of the family room. The area I live in is not the place to hire a decorator, so I'm thinking of hiring someone from out of town. I'm sure this is done a lot when it's not a big project and they don't have to be on site, that it could be through emails and phone calls.

I realize no one can be spot on with the cost, but can someone give me an idea of how this would work? Do you think they would charge an hourly consulting fee or a price per project? If so, what do you think the hourly cost would be? We are not the Rockefellers as my grandmother would say lol, but we do ok. I cannot afford thousands and thousands of dollars, but a few would be ok. I don't think I'd necessarily have them buy my furniture, but guide me in the right direction and make suggestions, etc. I have no idea how this works and don't know anyone who has worked with a decorator, so I don't want to make a fool of myself if I call one and it's extremely expensive.

Thanks so much :)

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I received a couple quotes for just our family room. Here are a few quotes that I received- just to give you an idea. Not sure if your area would be more or less:

1st quote
The first one is Design Only. This service is for those that want a well thought out plan and great looking concept while saving money by being your own project manager. After gathering information regarding your needs, budget, and style, we carefully craft the perfect plan for your new space. Your plan will come complete with room arrangements, schematic drawings, color concepts, furniture, lighting, accessories, and rug selections - everything needed to finish the space within your budget. With your complete shopping list in hand you will be able to execute your design from online and retail sources. This service includes face-to-face, measurements and photos, creates a presentation board of your final design as well as a beautiful hard-back book. The fee for this service for your family room would be $4,500.

The second option is Full Service. This ultimate luxury experience is centered around our hands-on approach to listen, create, procure, manage, and deliver the results that your hectic lifestyle won't allow you to handle. In addition to all that you receive in Design only this service also offers full access to all of her interiors wholesale sources at a fraction of retail pricing, providing you the best quality that your budget allows The fee for this service for your family room would be $7,250 plus the cost of your product + 30%.
The last option is based on an Hourly Fee. The hourly fee would $150 per hour for design time, $50 per hour for admin time plus the cost of your product + 30%.

2nd quote-
Through the design firm we offer a full-service interior design package to include every aspect from construction to final installation of furniture and accessories. If this is a bit more than you were anticipating, we also offer design service packages through our showroom that are more for design consultation. These cost $125/hour and are sold in 5 hour increments.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 7:13PM
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Decorators are usually bored spouses of well to do men that need a hobby, and that's why they aren't called designers. The term designer is usually a state regulated one, and has minimum educational and experiential requirements as well as adhere to a code of ethics for behavior. Designers actually go to school and learn space planning, code requirements, design history, and a gazillion other things. Be sure you're getting someone who actually can do what you want them to do. Not that a "decorator" or "design coordinator" can't be talented. But, you have zero assurance about what they can and can't do.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 8:48PM
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Many nicer stores have people with interior design four year degrees working for them, because of a lack of better jobs. For example, Ethan Allen has a design service that will coordinate an entire room, including walls and floors, with their products. The store in my city had several college-educated designers working for them. The products may be more expensive, but then at least all your funds are going towards that and not a designers fee.
FWIW, the commercial firm I worked for about 10 years ago charged $65 an hour for design work by a licensed interior designer. Unless it's a large urban market and the work is high end, I think $150 an hour for residential is high.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:27PM
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I am working with a designer on a limited basis for my new build (tile/flooring selections and paint colors) and her rate is $50/hr. Very reasonable and she is very efficient and knowledgeable.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 1:13AM
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I think the price depends on the designer and the location. We are in N California where cost of living is higher and the rates I have seen range from 75 to 200 hr dollars per hour if you use the designer hourly. If you buy a package hours or the entire project like NIckC posted you will get a better price.

We are doing a package deal for space planning, color and finish selection for kitchen and bathrooms, lighting plan in the living areas. If we decide to buy furniture through her from a design center or trade only place she will get 30% on top of her cost.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:51AM
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