how much does it cost to hire an interior designer / decorator

It’s one of the first questions every interior designer is asked:

“What do you charge?”

It’s then immediately followed-up with this one:

“How do you work?”

They’re great questions, indeed. And, because an informed client is a good client, I’ll answer them for you here – of course only in terms of how my studio, Aston Design Studio, operates (every designer does things a bit differently than another).

Billing and Design Fees

I work on a flat fee, quoted after meetings and a clear understanding of client and job scope OR an hourly basis, at a rate of $150 per hour.

Flat fee’s are billed as we complete certain phases of the project. These phases often overlap, so it’s billed at point of substantial completion and payable immediately. I require a portion of the fee, up front, to start and get things rolling. That fee is used as a retainer and will be applied to your final installment.

Hourly billing is invoiced twice a month, on the 15th and at the end of the month.

With hourly billing – I charge for my assistants’ time when they are working on CAD drawings, sourcing products, or visiting a job site or showroom for me for your project. I do not charge for their time when they accompany me to job sites or meetings; so, for instance, you’re not going to get double-charged if two of us attend a job site meeting. Their time is billed out at $50 per hour, with drive time included. When visiting a project site beyond a 20 minute drive from our design studio, my travel time is billed at $75 per hour. (starting after the first 20 mins).

The Agreement

After our initial meeting, I write up a Letter of Agreement, where I describe the services you are requesting and detail the payments required, etc. After you sign that — either in person or via a digital signature on — and make  your first payment, we’ll get started.

Average Design Costs

(Figures based on Penelope Sloan Design Studio’s past projects.)

Here are some average design costs for design on a project.

  • Bathroom remodel design: $900- $4,500
  • Kitchen remodel design: $1,500 – $6,000
  • Design Plan Only (for room with furnishings, no hard pricing included): $500 –  $3,500
  • Additional time spent on quotes for actual pieces or treatments: $1,500 – $2,500
  • After a construction project is started, site visits are always done/charged additionally, by the hour, with a minimum fee of $100 per visit.
  • Many times clients will have multiple rooms or a few major rooms to do with a bit more in others. These are simply custom quoted.
  • Our job fee minimum is $3000 no matter how small the project.


  • Initial meeting with programming.
    Site visit to obtain measurements and photos, further information.
  • Schematic Design Presentation at our office. This may include some interim meetings or connection along the way. While I prefer to do a big presentation to wow you, I find it might help to bring up some major new ideas or proposed changes in bits and pieces so you can experience them prior to the overall presentation.
  • One or two additional meetings, or shopping trips, as required for the project.
  • Documentation of the design with drawings, general notes and specifications.
  • For projects with furniture, a digital storyboard and samples can be included. If you are purchasing furnishings through us, we will go through the quoting process and submit our pricing on individual items as decisions are made.

For Those With Tight Deadlines…

If you have a tight deadline, and your project needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, an additional fee will be charged to accommodate your urgent needs.

Purchasing Through Our Accounts

Penelope Sloan Design shares her preferred pricing and discounts with her clients, adding value and saving you money!
Items purchased through our trade accounts will save you 5%-30% off the retail price.
We work closely furniture wholesalers and different suppliers, and have partnered with flooring, cabinet and countertop importers to offer you abundant savings on high quality products.
We will obtain pricing for your needed materials / items and create a google spreadsheet that you can access anytime, which will outline the costs, deposits and lead time.
Penelope Sloan Design will require funds in advance to make purchases via these accounts. PSD will provide an itemized invoice that outlines items ordered and you will be provided with delivery dates / tracking #’s to accept shipments. Funds can be e-transferred, paid by CC / Paypal (client must cover fee) or Cheque (please provide certified check for funds over 5k).