How to Hire an Interior Designer: A Comprehensive Guide

Hiring an interior designer can greatly enhance the outcome of your home remodeling or renovation project. These professionals have the expertise and experience to transform your space while keeping it functional and tailored to your...

interior designers discuss residential home plans

Hiring an interior designer can greatly enhance the outcome of your home remodeling or renovation project. These professionals have the expertise and experience to transform your space while keeping it functional and tailored to your needs. However, finding the right interior designer can be overwhelming. In this guide, we'll take you through the qualifications of an interior designer, the services they offer, and how to use HomeAdvisor to find the perfect match for your project.

Qualifications of an Interior Designer

If you're considering hiring an interior designer, it's crucial to examine their qualifications. While there is no one-size-fits-all path to becoming a high-quality interior designer, most professionals have at least a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field. They must also have two years of hands-on experience and pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam, which is recognized as an industry standard for licensing in most states.

Interior designer with client Interior designer working closely with a client.

Additionally, interior designers continue their education throughout their career to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques. They often specialize in specific areas such as residential or commercial interior design, sustainable design, lighting design, and more. It's also important to ensure that the interior designer you choose has professional liability insurance.

Services Interior Designers Offer

The services provided by interior designers can vary, but most offer a range of core services. These may include re-evaluating and rendering floor plans, space planning, cabinet and millwork design, furniture layout, kitchen and bathroom design, interior architecture selection, finish selection, and remodeling or updating rooms. They can also assist individuals with special needs through ADA services and handle tasks like moving or changing the size of doors and windows.

Interior Designers vs. Interior Decorators and Architects

It's common to wonder whether you should hire an interior designer, interior decorator, or an architect. While these professions have overlapping components, they each bring unique skills and perspectives to a project. Architects work on both interior and exterior design, focusing on the big picture and dealing with engineering and codes. Interior decorators, on the other hand, focus more on style than function and often work after the designer or architect is finished.

Interior designers vs. architects and interior decorators Interior designers, architects, and interior decorators: Differences and similarities.

Questions to Ask Interior Designers

When interviewing potential interior designers, it's essential to ask the right questions to ensure a good fit. Some important questions to consider include:

What Design Services Do You Offer?

Not all interior designers handle all types of projects. Make sure the designer you're considering has experience in the specific area you need assistance with. If they don't offer the service you require, they may be able to refer you to a colleague.

What Is Your Project Management Style?

Clear and effective communication is crucial when working with an interior designer. Ask about their project management style to ensure that you'll be able to communicate effectively and that they will accommodate your preferences and ideas.

Can I See Your Portfolio?

Reviewing an interior designer's portfolio will give you insight into their style, versatility, and ability to handle different projects. It's essential to find a designer who can work with your specific taste and requirements.

What Happens if I Don't Like the Finished Project?

Interior design projects can be expensive, so it's crucial to address concerns upfront. Discuss with the designer how they handle changes and revisions to ensure that you are comfortable with their policies.

How to Use HomeAdvisor to Find an Interior Designer

If you're ready to start your search for an interior designer, HomeAdvisor's LiveDirectory of Pros is an excellent place to begin. You can browse ratings and reviews for interior designers near you and explore their expertise. HomeAdvisor's Top-Rated Pros Near Me tool can help match you with the perfect candidate based on your specific needs and location. Additionally, the Fixed Price Services tool allows you to quickly book fully-vetted professionals for your project, ensuring a hassle-free experience.


What do interior designers do?

Interior designers analyze the structure, identify limitations, propose solutions, consult construction guidelines, and create and implement plans to transform spaces, both functionally and aesthetically.

How do you work with an interior designer?

Working with an interior designer requires clear communication, respect for their time, and specific expectations about your project.

When should I hire an interior designer?

If you're planning a home renovation project that involves significant changes to the interior space, hiring an interior designer can greatly enhance the outcome.

What do designers charge?

Interior designer fees can range from $50 to $200 per hour, depending on the professional and the scope of the project.

What's included in a design contract?

A design contract typically includes the size and scope of the project, fees for the designer's services, homeowner responsibilities, timelines for completion and payment, standards for purchasing materials, limits on services, and refund and cancellation policies.

Are interior designers worth it?

Interior designers provide professional services that cover many details homeowners often overlook. The average cost of a designer per project is $6,400, making it a worthwhile investment for an ideal result that can save money on future repairs.

Who hires designers?

Both companies and homeowners hire interior designers to help renovate building interiors. Designers may work in firms or run their own businesses.

When do I need an architect vs. a designer?

Architects are typically needed for plans concerning the exterior structure of a home, while interior designers focus on the interior space.

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