How much would you pay a decorator?

Remember this feature from the NY Times? The article is about a newlywed couple in NYC who wanted help decorating their first apartment. I always love getting some insight into how other decorators work (and how much they charge! $10,000 for this room, in case you’re wondering.***And to clarify, the designer volunteered her work for…

Remember this feature from the NY Times? The article is about a newlywed couple in NYC who wanted help decorating their first apartment.

I always love getting some insight into how other decorators work (and how much they charge! $10,000 for this room, in case you’re wondering.***And to clarify, the designer volunteered her work for the sake of the article and the press. It’s written in the features in the margin that she would have charged $10k for the room.)

Here’s the before:

and the after again:

Another angle:

Overall, I like the changes to the space, though my two favorite elements were pieces the couple already owned – the Empire dining chairs and the Hunt Slonem butterfly painting.

I did love the idea of vinyl stripes in the dining nook! Such a clever idea for renters with a no-painting policy.

The decorator spent $100 on the brown vinyl stripes, which were purchased through Walls Need Love. If you’re after the same look, you might consider contact paper, or at the very least, shopping around on etsy for the vinyl.

What do you think? Worth $5k+ spent on new furnishings? What about the additional $10k in decorator’s fees?

My thoughts on pricing for a decorator (just the fees – not the purchasing budget) have changed a lot over the past few years. I’d love to hear your thoughts – especially you fellow decorators. Is $10k for a NYC living/dining room too much, not enough or just right?

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140 thoughts on “How much would you pay a decorator?

  1. I think it's important we stop describing a designers work as "just moving some furniture around". It's clearly more than that. We can all move our furniture around. Most of our homes look like the before picture. It's the after that is so elusive. So can we agree the after picture's worth is more than just moving stuff around?

  2. Thanks for all the feedback. I think it's interesting to read all of this.

    I thought I would mention that I added a line in the post to clarify one of the points here. The designer, who I think is on the ups and is pretty well known, volunteered her services in exchange for the press written in this article. She says though that she would have charged $10,000 for the room.

    keep on discussing! I'd love to hear more.

  3. I think wether or not fees of any kind when services are rendered are always up for debate. You can always find something more/less expensive for whatever you are pricing out.

    That being said, I am sure for the area that the clients live in the fees aren't out of line. However for most of the rest of the country, they seem very excessive.

    I think the thing that strikes me about this particular article is that it seems perfectly clear that the designer thinks of herself as a "full service" designer and prices her services accordingly. Working with "assistants" will always bump up the price of anything you are doing, as their salaries have to come from somewhere.

    Personally I don't see how the changes made really reflect a $10,000 service fee. Most of what she used is very current and on trend, nothing really out of the box or unusual. Sourcing products from West Elm and IKEA? That isn't difficult to do, although I do appreciate her trying to keep the actual cost of the materials low. However it would have been more work for her to go through Homegoods or an antique mall to find pieces that looking online or in a catalog. Nothing was truly labor intensive or required the hiring of outside services (painting, flooring, electrical).

    It just reinterates that each individual has an individual way of doing things, and as the consumer it's important to "shop" around to find someone that you really feel will work well with you and has an understanding of your resources, wishes, vision and expectations.

  4. Not a decorator, but sure wouldn't pay to a fee that high, for a change so minimal. If there were serious space issues remedied then maybe that accounts for the large fee? Not sure.
    Also, wanted to respond to Anon's comment above:
    "How much do you pay your dentist per hour ( without insurance ) i can assure you its 4-5X that amount, and the intensity of school is pretty similar."

    The intensity of school may be similar, however if my dentist messed up it would cause serious physical pain. If the decorator had messed this room up the ramifications would be what? Vinyl that didn't come off the wall after all? Not sure that comparison works with this room.

  5. I think it 100% depends on the client. I estimate hours needed and negotiate a lump sum fee, and clearly state what will be considered additional services. So, she could have maybe completed the room in 40 say $4,000. But if the client was really needy, or didn't have clue what they wanted…you could get to $10,000 pretty quickly.

  6. I find it amazing that someone would compare a designer with a doctor. A doctor goes to school for years and years and then does an internship and residency before they are paid huge amounts of money. Do you want anyone performing surgery on your child? I would hope not.

    I'm not saying that a designer doesn't deserve to be paid – they do, but it is madness to compare them to a doctor.

  7. Looking at the article further, I missed the "what it cost" graph where it breaks down the cost of the items purchased.

    It does look like she did purchase several of the items from estate sales, and that can be labor intensive so I'll give her that. But it only looks to me like she purchased items from 10 different sources total. And of those I am sure that several of them were trusted sources that she knew would have what she was looking for, so the running around from place to place for one singular items would have been minimal.

    But $730 for five throw pillows really would have thrown me for a loop. Those things would be sacred in my house if they cost that much money!

  8. At first, I thought the price was way too high. But then I actually read the NY Times article. It states that the designer worked on the apartment (after the initial meeting) for nearly 8 weeks with almost daily emails. If we assume that the designer worked on the design every day for that 8 weeks, it amounts to $179 per day ($10000 over 56 days). That's $22 an hour over an 8 hour day.
    Now, I'm not saying she worked for 8 hours a day for 56 days straight… I just like to break things down to get a better idea of what that $10000 means.
    If the designer were to charge the 20% that some previous commenters mention, she would have only worked on the design for 5 or 6 days. (did I get my math right?)
    So, I guess I would say "to each their own." I am not willing to hire a painter, because I want to do it myself. I would not hire a designer for the same reason. I'm a DIY type of girl.
    But, I would (and have) paid over $200 for a pair of jeans, so… who knows.

  9. Hello ladies!
    People keep saying that the price was too high considering they reused a lot of the previous pieces. I'd like to point out that this was probably done to keep the budget low for the client because they probably requested it. Therefore, the designer gave the client what they needed – a new great look on a budget!
    As far as designer hourly rates go it's worth it in the end…
    I explain to my clients that first off I can save you from purchasing things that are not needed, or are of poor quality, or are the wrong scale for you room or from ordering a custom sofa that turns out to be the wrong shade of green…etc. No sense on wasting money!
    Secondly, I can save clients time, and time is money!
    The third thing I point out is that some designers (myself included) split their designer discount with their clients. So for example if I were to purchase a custom $5,000 sofa for my client and gave them 15% of my discount, they would save $750! That's 6 hours of my labour paid for it's self right there!
    Ta da! :)
    There are a lot of people who do not value us or understand what we do, and that is fine because there are a lot that do! And those are the people who keep us in business, and are usually a joy to work for! So to them, thank you!

  10. I agree with what Anon 11:56 said:

    "However, most people who aren't designers for a living do not understand procuring furniture, finishes, hiring trades and managing trades all takes time. Not to mention the time it takes to revise and hold hands with clients."

    This is SO TRUE. Often times, the clients who are wary of hourly-billing are the ones who change their minds a million times, take forever to approve items, and then flip out when the room isn't finished after your estimated 20 hours. IT DRIVES ME NUTS.

    I've learned the hard way that interior designers quickly become adult-babysitters and therapists. It's amazing how people who can afford a designer's services are most often the clients who don't want to pay for them.

    I am in the process of starting an events and interior styling business and it's been SO HARD to figure out my pricing and packages. I still don't know if I should do flat-rate packages, hourly rates, or a mix. It's also difficult to decide on discounts for friends and friends-of-friends…they all want to "use" me, but it leaves me stuck between not wanting to charge them and needing to make a living…


  11. It's New York. Everything costs double – a cup of coffee, a haircut, etc. So put it in perspective. $5000 somewhere else?

    Look at what Charlotte Moss, Bunny Williams, Miles Redd et all working out of NY charge and this will seem like a bargain.

    I think the difference in the room is night and day. First one I'd walk in and be "meh, but cool Hunt painting." The after I'd love. The most difficult part of decorating is scale. And she nailed. That much drama and functionality in a small space is a designer's touch.

    I work in a different profession, but have designed a little for friends here and there and was STUNNED at how much work went in. Frankly, I don't know how people make a living doing it.

    And designers don't get the respect they deserve.

    But I do wonder if there's an overall budget – materials to fee ration that would make more sense to consumers.

  12. I too think this is a great discussion. I'm just finishing school and starting out. A designer friend of mine said- I would need to figure out my pricing or I would be giving away a lot of time for free! also I don't think you can compare this to a doctor. my husband is one in residency and after years of school and very LONG stressful work hours and learning, there is a reason they get paid that much!
    This doesn't mean a designer isn't worth her time! Of course they are, thats why they studied to do their job, because others clearly need help if they are asking for it!

  13. For the last four years, I charged an hourly fee for my services. It was an absolute HEADACHE…both for me AND for my clients. I've recently started charging a flat fee for my services, and I absolutely LOVE it.

    But $10,000 for a room (services only) would never fly where I live. Of course, I'm comparing a city of 200,000 to New York City. My fees are generally around $2000 per room.

    I've also started passing along all of my trade discounts to my clients. It seems like I would make less money doing business this way, but in fact, I'm making more now that I have in years. People love to know what to expect, and if they have that trust with you, they'll use your services over and over, and be more confident in referring you to friends and family.

  14. I think that price tag is absurd! A)I can't afford $10k to pick someone's brain for a small apartment, and B)I don't think this particular design was worth even close to the that price.

    For a whole house that you need to buy everything new for, and haven't a clue where to start or the time to think about it, then sure – $10k could be worth it. But not that apartment, given how much of the owners stuff seems to have been reused.

    But maybe I'm just cheap and naive?

  15. With all due respect,as a trained interior designer and stylist – That space looks lovely ,but TOTALLY unfinished,I mean whats the deal with the TV area? Is that done? how can one hang expensive pieces of art and place their client's Telly on something covered in cloth? maybe she didn't go the whole way (creatively speaking) because
    they didn't have to pay her……10k.

  16. I think it seems like a ton for that room, but I don't live in NYC so I wouldn't know. I wanted to comment that the market supports the charge. If people weren't willing to pay that they wouldn't hire that decorator and he/she wouldn't be able to charge that. There are obviously people who are willing to pay for a big name to decorate for them.

    As far as questioning charges – I also question every charge. Dr's and lawyers also have their charges questioned. It's not only the design industry that has their clients questioning the charges. Also, dr.'s and lawyers attend much more schooling and pay significantly more for their education. I would pay my lawyer $400/hr. but I would never pay my decorator that. But, I can understand how someone else would. It's all about the perceived value of the service you provide.

  17. $10K translates to 80 hours of work at $125/ hr, which seems a reasonable enough hourly fee to me for a designer. This room, however, doesn't seem like 80 hours of work to me.

  18. The cable design shows have really affected the design profession in a profound way. On the one hand, there is greater exposure to a much wider audience of this thing we call interior design, but for the sake of TV this is done and presented in such a miraculously short amount of time that people believe that we can redesign a room right there on the spot or at least just in a few days! Not possible! It takes so much longer…. many times to the designer's own disbelief. As for this particular project, I would think the designer doesn't usually do smaller budgeted jobs such as this one. Charging $10,000 for design services when only $5,000 is allocated to new furnishings sounds crazy because it is simply not done. People who have budgeted only $5000 in new product would not be hiring a designer like this. Maybe if $50,000 was spent on furnishings we wouldn't bat an eye at the fee even though the time spent would have been somewhat similar….the ironic thing is that it takes even more time to work with such a small budget.

  19. I think this particular is lovely, but it doesn't seem like a 10-15K change to me, especially since I agree that the nicest pieces in the room were already in the room. It seems like this room would have turned out remarkably similar if the designer had given an hour long consult and let the homeowners implement the changes, but that assumes the homeowners willingness to do some of the work themselves. 2K for a well built sofa they'll have for years seems perfectly fair (although this particular sofa just doesn't do it for me at all- but that's just me)but $500 for a framed print and $700 for pillows seems like the designer wasn't listening when the homeowners stated their preference on how much the project should cost! I guess for 10K I would expect more of a dramatic change, not just help rearranging what they already had.

  20. I think a lot of people posting on this are overlooking the fact that the change does not have to "look" like it cost the designer $10K to do. A designer's cost is usually based on a number of factors: initial meeting, sourcing precedent images from magazines, doing a few site visits, research & sourcing, contacting vendors for pricing & specs, preparing the client presentation, presenting to the client, making changes (this happens a lot, real life is not HGTV, no client just agrees to what they are first shown, it is a process), ordering & billing, follow up, supervising the contractor, delivery acceptance & installation, & percentage of the furnishing budget. Even after installation, there's still styling & changes that take place. Again, real life is not HGTV. If you were living in the space, would you just accept whatever a designer threw together in 2 days? Probably not. Is it possible that this could have cost less? Yes, but not by much, I would say that for the scope, it should have been around $7 – $8K. If you consider all the work that goes into a project & all the discussions & changes the designer will do BECAUSE THE CLIENT WANTS IT, then the price is fair.

  21. interesting discussion…as a former mortgage broker/re agent, many people questioned my fees charged and rightfully so. That is why in any industry the consumer has the right to shop around to find the fee/price that fits their budget best.
    for me, 10k is high but if $$ was no object than probably not. the room was really transformed.
    Do you watch Selling New York, it's a new show on HGTV? Well, a decorator on the show charged $300,000 to stage an apartment that was selling in the $25 million range.. I believe it's all relative.

  22. $10,000 is ridiculous for the amount of work done in the room. Yes, the designer seemed to "search" for deals – but didn't seem happy about going out of her comfort zone to look for anything in the couple's price range. $750 for 5 pillows – out of a budget of $5000! 15% of the budget! She also didn't seem to care if they liked an item or not – just that she did. I agree that designers need to push their clients to test their boundaries and liked her advice to live with it for a couple of weeks and see how you felt. However, it seems very unfinished to make your clients keep something they absolutely do not want in the room (the antlers) until you photograph it (at which point the design process is over, I'm assuming) and then have them return it. Now they have to decorate that part of the room – a part they paid you for (well, not in this case, but in real life). And then to hassle them about wanting a painting their friend was giving them. I think if the client wants something incorporated in a room – it is your job to make a design that incorporates it. There is a big difference between a good shopper and a designer.

    The room does show a designer's touch to me – it looks put together. I'm sure the designer does charge that much per room – but probably very rarely works with clients in that price range.

  23. $5K for furnishings maybe, but $10K for somebody's expertise, no. Especially not in a rental unit that isn't my forever house.

    I guess if I was going to hire a designer I would hire a lesser known designer or a design blogger (with an education in design) who practices design options at all price points as opposed to going to someone who is automatically going to charge a high fee and only select Thibaut, Quadrille and Schumacher fabrics, etc.

    I blogged about this article back in January and asked the same question and everyone who responded (all non designers) agreed that they would never pay that much for design services regardless of who the designer was.

  24. i think the room looks great, is styled well and if the client is happy, it's completely up to them what they pay for services. if you are a client and think $10,000 is too high for such services, shop around. i'm sure there are plenty of designers in NYC who will work for less and probably some who will work for a lot more.

  25. Hmm…that is a good question. I think at least on your blog, you're going to get a pretty biased sampling. I would guess most of your readers are either do-it-your-selfers or designers themselves. I could be wrong though. Even though I'm not an interior designer (I'm an artist), I love gathering inspiration for my own home projects here. Hiring someone to do it for me would take out half the fun of a project.
    BUT having said that, I think an interior designer's time should be worth a lot. I'm not sure how the market in NYC compares to other places, so I don't have a fair answer to your question, but I think that's a beautiful room and is worth that amount if the client is willing to pay. I think good interior designers are kind of a luxury, so people who can afford one should pay them what they're worth. The rest of us can dream! :)

  26. it's a great space…but i'm totally shocked that it was $10k for the room and would have been $10k in design fees. who is this designer? i think that is positively INSANE.

  27. I love what was done with this space! It articulates so well the difference between what a designers can do and what us regular home owners/renters cannot do. Nice furniture and accessories are the not the keys to good design. Tying fees to purchases can be risky for the designer and client as it motivates the designer to encourage the client to purchase more goods even though they may not be needed (but still so important for designers to be compensated). More stuff does not always equal good design as this post demonstrates.

    In reading the comments, the business person in me wants to try and help the commenter’s who are really struggling with charging for services. Here’s my feeble attempt 

    #1 you’re worth it. If you don’t think you’re worth it, your clients won’t either. Maybe this will help draw the lines on what clients to turn away. What’s ‘it’? Research your market heavily, that way you know where you stand so you are neither undercharging (there is such a thing) or overcharging…and how you’re charging. Scanning a business book or two for women can also help  I read one before I asked for my last raise and it paid off very well.

    #2 Be strong and know your accomplishments – maybe when you hand in your invoice, include a one or two pager on what you’ve done w/ before and after photos. A recap of sorts that helps tie the dollars to your effort for the client.

    #3. Review how you deliver your design services. What aspects of the project takes a long time for me to do (i.e. maybe you know the piece needed, why not have your client hunt down kelly green armoires)? What aspects really make my clients happy (where’s the bang for buck/time)? Maybe you’ll find areas where you do more work than necessary. Or how you could deliver services more cost effectively – i.e. mood board only for the tight budgets. Ask yourself/business questions and it may stir up ideas of how to tweak your efforts so fewer dollars are left on the table. Additionally, work through a proper business plan. They can be a bit tedious, but it’ll force you to go through the business side and ask these kinds of questions. There are many templates online – some are better than others. Let me know if you need help.

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks LGN!

  28. I've experienced both ends of the pricing spectrum.

    On one hand I have worked for a large international interior design company and my hourly rate was about $125/hour. About $100/hour of this went to overhead costs to maintain the employee benefits and office needs worldwide, and my take-home pay was about $25/hour. The clients we attracted had millions to spend, and even THEN our fees were always in question. For commercial jobs, we provided a lump-sum fee for the entire project (to include a potential 15% profit if the job was managed correctly) with an estimated number of hours for each phase, along with a series of items that would be considered an additional service billed hourly if requested by the client (things like framed finish boards to put on display, additional trips that exceed the qty outlined in the contract, etc). In my experience, this fee structure hardly ever resulted in profit because clients see such a big price tag and expect immediate results, lots of hand-holding, and shortened deadlines.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I have also done some freelance work as an interior designer for small residential clients and my perception is that people would rather pay more for a tangible OBJECT (furnishings, accessories, etc), than for a fee to compensate you for your innate design abilities. For residential work, the first thing I do is define the client budget and scope. Then I request a retainer fee of about 15% – 20% of their total budget to get through the design development/approvals/revisions. After I get client approvals, I begin purchasing. I purchase items at trade discounts (anywhere from 20% – 40% off retail), and then charge my clients an additional 20% mark-up on all purchased items. So each client still gets a "deal" since its usually less than the retail, but they understand that this additional 20% pays for my time coordinating specifications, utilizing my line of credit, establishing the delivery schedule, and installation in various phases. Again, because the end result is an OBJECT, there is hardly any objection to the price. The money made through mark-ups on furnishings usually makes the time spent on residential jobs worthwhile.

    I am open and honest about my fee structure to all my clients and it seems to work for me…

  29. LGN, you certainly posed a good question and you illustrated it very well. $10,000 for moving furniture around a small apartment is indeed too much, even in New York. When designers do structural changes and custom designed furniture and fabric treatments a lot of time and overhead goes into them…not at all the same thing as a ReDesign or Makeover which essentially uses the furniture and accessories the client already has. Shiree'

  30. I guess my biggest question would be "how many hours did this take the designer?" If this project was their primary project and it took a month or more to finish it (meaning, a month working FULL TIME) then I can understand the $10,000. To me it's not a debate about what a doctor vs a decorator charges, it's how much they've WORKED. I have a degree in Social Work, and if I go get my masters, there's a very very good chance I'll STILL be making less than $50,000 after 5-10 years in the field w/an advanced degree. I think anyone who works as a social worker, teacher, nurse, etc., would have a hard time paying $10,000 on a room that doesn't seem like it was drastically changed. They'll feel like $10,000 is super expensive simply because they may make that much money after 3-4 months of full time work. And they're educated as well, and care about their craft!

  31. Hit a real nerve with this one! Certainly, valuable services deserve fair compensation. And, if $10K is what the market will bear for a room like this, hey that's capitalism at work.

    As to the comments that no one questions the fees charged by lawyers, doctors, etc. – as a former lawyer, let me just tell you, that's 100% incorrect. Clients of any professional want to ensure that they're getting value for their money, and it's standard practice to review invoices with a fine-tooth comb. No matter what the industry.

    Here's what really worries me about the pricing question, though. One of the anonymous postings included the following: "most "normal" people can't afford the luxury of a decorator or interior designer". Because "normal" people can't afford a designer, they think they can design themselves – encouraged by countless TV shows, magazines, etc. The interior design profession becomes more and more marginalized. Moreover, it moves design away from being a necessity and places it squarely in the luxury camp. When the economy gets tight, people cut back on luxuries – as we've so plainly seen in recent years.

    The design profession does itself a serious disservice when it limits access to the super rich. Clearly, a number of designers who responded to this posting don't limit their client base in this way, which is encouraging and a move in the right direction.

  32. $10K is a bit ludicrous, regardless of what area of the country you are in. There may be the occasional 'celeb' designer that can charge any rate they wish for a service, but when the average family income is approx. $50K a year, one would need to get their head checked for paying such a ridiculous fee! With that said, I love everything decor/design, but I wouldn't be comparing a decorator's services/fees to a physician's services/fees…two different ball games, my friends! God bless!

  33. I think Zoe B is right on. If the client is happy then there isn't much to say. It's as difficult as putting a price on art. Whoever is buying has to decide what "reasonable" is.

  34. Okay, I just wrote and erased a really long post which helped me to boil down my thoughts.

    1- One responder said something along the lines of that she thoroughly went over with her clients all that her job with them would entail. That sounds really valuable and important to gaining a trusting working relationship for decorator and client.

    2- Something in the tone of the now-flat-fee decorator made that option sound really appealing.

    3- My bottom line: I would pay from $25 to $50/hr or a flat fee of $1000, maybe up to $2000.

    I'm not saying what interior decorating is worth, I just think that $25 to $50/hr is a good, honest rate of pay to do a lot of jobs, and that most of us do not earn that much, and probably earn not that much doing jobs we like less.

    As opposed to health care, legal advice, and making sure our pipes are not backing up poop, interior decorating is a luxury, and so I think not an apt comparison to doctoring, lawyering, and plumbing.

    Based on what I've read here, only the doctors, lawyers, and plumbers can afford to hire interior decorators.

    Sheesh, now I sound like a crank, and you are all going to write mean things to me. Please don't. I WANT to hire a decorator. I'd love to hire any of you, probably. But $100/hr is too much for me. I need to save up for the upholsterer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Interesting discussion! I am a registered Interior Designer and find that people often don't understand what is involved in designing a space. It's not just an "eye for color"…it's a learned skill. I won't stand here and say that I am literally saving lives (on par with brain surgery) but, frankly, it took alot of school, internships and licensing to get here. Even if all the designer did was "move furniture" the client didn't think of it or do it themselves. You should be paid for your knowledge…and people charge what the market will bear. I hear the same complaints from friends who are counselors, tradespeople, consultants, architects. Payment for knowledge can be a hard sell. Just my two cents!
    p.s. great blog…love your creativity!

  36. (continuation of thought posted above…)
    But (and all you decorators and designers out there will know this), if I had a nickel for all of the people who have asked me to come over to help them pick out drapes…(implication: for free)…I would be a wealthy woman.

  37. I just found your blog and I absolutely adore it! We have the same decor sensibilities and I absolutely love all the photos you post.
    This apartment is fantastic — love the stripes in the nook… am making a mental note for when I re-decorate :)

  38. Yikes – this is all very interesting but totally in the abstract for me – I'm a public interest lawyer who will probably never be able afford the luxury of hiring a designer – hence, my scouring design blogs for ideas that I can attempt on my own. Not surprisingly, the PVE comment comparing interior design fees to doctor and lawyer fees rubbed me wrong. The reality today for most aspiring doctors and lawyers without a trust fund is beginning their careers with deep six figure student loan debts causing monthly payments that are as much or more than a second mortgage (and this applies to both those earning six figures and those who, even if you doubled their salary, don't hit six figures). I see designer services far more akin to the fine arts which we all know is extremely subjective in terms of value and worth.

  39. WOW that's a lot of $$ and seriously does it look much different ?? And a rental to boot….

    I am not a designer, I do my own decorating, find it easy and fun. Books and magazines to get inspiration I feel are all that's needed. I would never hire a decorator I want my space to say "ME", as much as I love Blog/HGTV/decorators they all leave their little marks/signatures in everyone's space.

    And to compare a Doctor to a Decorator YIKES…the only thing in common is the first letter.


  40. I'm a licensed architect, and we usually charge a percentage of the construction budget as our fee, and I know that in my firm, the interiors fees are even lower than ours. That being said, just judging from the photos without knowing if anything else was done… these folks got ripped off. The decorator basically rearranged their stuff! Sad. I am not impressed.

  41. That seems pretty high to me, but I am based in the NorthWest, where everything costs less. I have a very low hourly rate currently, but plan to steadily raise it as clientèle builds. I do think that 10K is a realistic price, but not for that apartment. They didn't change much, and there was no real structural changes.

  42. Once, on a whim I called a decorator (I liked her portfolio). Her rates were $100-150 per hour, post initial consultation, materials and work not included. I couldn't afford it on a large scale, and on a smaller and more affordable scale decided it was not worth the money. I read blogs instead.

  43. wow!
    i have SO enjoyed reading all of these comments.
    when i first saw the 10K fee, i have to admit that i was a little shocked, and thought the fee was WAY too high.
    but after reading all the comments, and really reflecting on the time that I PERSONALLY spend to complete a room, my opinion has changed.
    clients generally have no idea how long it takes a designer to pull a room together!
    i too, have struggled knowing what to charge clients. (and i was so relieved to hear that many other decorators and designers feel the same way!) i feel that my bachelors degree in interior design, knowledge, skills and experience are valuable, but i am always willing to work with any budget.
    i have to say however, that as time passes, i feel more and more confident in my abilities, and less likely to negotiate a fee that i know will end up making me feel used and frustrated.

    great post!
    i have loved reading every comment.

  44. A hard crew to ask this question since most that read this blog are either decorators or are non-decorators who like decor. It seems to me that the people that work with decorators are those with the funds and either don't have the interest, the time or are really looking for the aesthetic provided by the decorator they hire.

    I think less expensive decor services via blog posts (free) or online services are fantastic for those decorators trying to establish a name and a brand. But, once said name and brand is established, I'd pull back on the above (hire an intern to blog and hire a junior decorator to handle the online services) and start focusing on high-end decorating services.

    Personally, I'll never be able to justify high-end decorating services. I think it's because I actually like decor and would prefer to do it myself. But I certainly will work with cool blogger/decorators who provide reasonable online decorating services. I think it's an inexpensive way to get some great design/decor advice from folks that I truly think are up and coming in the design field.

    Just my two cents!

  45. I'm not saying that I disagree with the posts about the doctors, dentists and lawyers…but lets be frank, those kinds of professions are often necessary and required for our daily existence. It is unfortunate, but decorators, designers and architects are not necessary for continued existence. Many of these folks are amazing and talented people, but people can survive without them. I say this not to be insulting but to be practical. If the argument is moved from analogizing to these professions, to instead focusing on creative ways to get your services into the mass market, perhaps the whole perception of what is fair to be paid to design folks could change?

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