Before a room can be considered truly furnished, a gazillion decisions must be made: which paint color, sofa, tables, chairs, window treatments, art, lighting? A floor plan is helpful for furniture placement, or to decide which pieces to take with you in a move. Expert advice saves the cost and disappointment of the wrong choice.
Sometimes decorating is a stand-alone project; sometimes it is done concurrent with or after a renovation. Every client requires a different level of help, and longer or shorter amounts of time to make decisions, so these services are billed by the hour. The following anticipates typical design fees for two different levels of decorating projects:
Readymade Decorating™ is a service geared towards the client who does not require complex custom orders and workroom fabrication. This service is oriented towards the client with a low-to mid-range budget and a limited time frame. For this process, we’ll use readily available retail and online sources. I’ll suggest an edited selection tailored to your particular style, one that works best with the architecture and natural light of your home. I maintain a library of paint colors and fabric swatches.
A floor plan may be helpful, and if needed, drafting services are provided. Usually, furnishings choices will be decided via a combination of joint showroom visits and links to internet product. Placement of artwork and accessories, or hands-on styling, is offered. Supervision of painting, construction, installation of window treatments or light fixtures is available. Referrals to qualified service providers are included.
Design services are provided on an as-needed basis by the hour. The hourly rate is $225. Some clients require very little direction and make decisions quickly, using only 10 hours of design services. Others require more time, with fees in the 50- to 100-hour range. Typically, the amount of time most clients need for Readymade Decorating™ averages about $5,000 per room.
In terms of the furnishings themselves (separate from design fees), anticipate that furniture, a rug, window treatments, and minor installer labor will typically require a minimum $10,000 budget per room. For a more layered look, and including some carpentry or cabinetry, clients more typically require a budget in the $15,000– $25,000 range per room.
There is no mark up on product. Whenever possible, the client pays the trade price directly to the supplier. The client pays only for the time spent working on their project and the direct cost of expenses.
This service is geared toward the higher-end client who requires unique furnishings and paint finishes. This type of work requires highly skilled craftspeople, custom workroom upholstery, and significant lead times (3-4 months is considered typical).
A per-room or per-project estimate of design services can be provided on a case-by-case basis.
In terms of the furnishings themselves, to complete an average room (from scratch), anticipating furniture, materials, and contractor labor, typically requires a minimum $25,000 budget, with average costs in the $35,000– $40,000 area.