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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What do interior designers do?

Interior designers do much more than pick complementary paint colors and choose matching furniture — although those tasks are important parts of the job. Unlike decorators, interior designers usually have an associate of science degree or certificate of achievement in interior design from an accredited program. They’re trained in drafting, lighting and computer aided design (CAD), and are experts in room-specific design and residential space planning. Interior designers use these skills to plan and design safe, highly functional and beautiful interior spaces, from kitchens and bathrooms to family rooms and bedrooms. They determine space requirements, work within building codes and inspection regulations, and meet accessibility standards. An interior designer’s day-to-day job includes creative and technical tasks, both of which often require great communication skills:

  • Creating model rooms and visuals using design software.
  • Researching different textiles, materials, finishes, lighting and furniture.
  • Hiring suppliers, vendors, and contractors.
  • Estimating costs and making bids on potential jobs.

How do you find a good interior designer?

For many homeowners, the difference between a good interior designer and a bad one is simply a matter of taste — but all good designers have similar skill sets. Interior designers usually have a degree or certificate in interior design, with training in design principles and lighting, drafting, and computer aided design (CAD) software. Good interior designers have strong color balancing skills and understand how different colors influence spatial perception and moods. They know the building and electrical codes in the areas where they practice, and they make sure that any contractors they hire also work to those codes. They are knowledgeable about different upholstery fabrics and draperies, stay ahead of residential design trends, and maintain their own individual creativity. Also, good interior designers have excellent space designing skills, so they can arrange a space efficiently and with ideal traffic flow. Ultimately, hiring a good interior designer means pinpointing one whose signature style is complementary to your personal style — so checking out many designers’ portfolios is a must — and whose communication methods match yours.

How much do interior designers charge?

You can hire an interior design for a job as basic as a one-room consultation or as complex as supervising the design of an entire new home, helping with space planning, choosing color palettes, and shopping for furniture, flooring and artwork. The size and scope of the job will determine how much an interior designer charges; the average national cost for an interior designer ranges from $75 to $100 or more per hour. Other cost factors include the person’s reputation — interior designers to the stars are usually more expensive — and region. Most interior designers charge an average of $100-$225 for an initial consultation, but some will charge an hourly rate, usually starting at an average of $50, for larger projects that require extensive consultations. Hourly rates may be available for smaller projects, such as redecorating a living room or staging a home for sale; for instance, shopping and consulting can cost an average of $75 to $100 per hour, while staging costs and average $95 per hour. For many homeowners, a percentage of an interior designer’s cost is recouped through the professional discounts they receive from their vendors.

How do you choose an interior designer?

Choosing an interior designer is all about finding one whose signature style fits well with your tastes and who can work within your budget. To choose the right professional for your interior design project, ask yourself these five questions:

  • What is your signature style? Good interior designers can both describe their personal aesthetic and demonstrate their signature style through their portfolios. Make sure it appeals to you.
  • How will you make sure the design fits my lifestyle? Good designers understand that the interior design must improve a homeowner’s experience in their home and fit into their lifestyle; for example, a white suede sofa is a poor choice for a family with large dogs and small children.
  • How much do you charge? Depending on the project, an interior designer may charge an hourly rate, a flat fee or a percentage of the project’s total cost.
  • How will you stick to my budget? An interior designer should have a plan for staying within your budget, which includes full transparency of costs and flexibility when choosing materials and furnishings.  

Because an interior design project is highly collaborative and based on hard-to-define personal preferences, it’s most important to choose a designer who communicates clearly and listens closely to you.

Reviews for Philadelphia decorators
Cheron A.
Vanessa was excellent !!Everyone loved the decorations !!! Vanessa was professional, prompt with responses when I had questions and on time for decorating. I would definitely recommend this company's to anyone !!!!!
A Memory MadeA Memory Made
Kristen W.
Everything was amazing for our recent event. The decorations exceeded our expectations!
Everything Is An EventEverything Is An Event
Sonya G.
Very friendly and professional. Affordable and went above and beyond to provide exceptional services. The outcome of the decorations exceeded my expectations. I love her she is AWESOME and my Decorator for LIFE! IF YOU WANT ANY EVENT TO BE BEAUTIFUL CALL HER!
Angelic BeginningsAngelic Beginnings
Sandra S.
we started a little late.But as time went on everything fail in place.The decoration turn out beautiful.Everyone was pleased how the place looked.Thanks to our decorator.I will recommend her and her crew to everyone.👍
Everything Is An EventEverything Is An Event
Kimberly B.
Cehara did such an amazing job on our baby girls 1st birthday party ballon decor! She was there before I even came to set up and was extremely detail oriented and friendly. She was really a pleasure to work with. Definitely will be using her services again.
C’s The MomentC’s The Moment
Lucy W.
Our event definitely presented many challenges - it was last-minute, in an unconventional space, and on a tight budget. But Stephanie was able to work with all our constraints and put together gorgeous centerpieces + provide linens. Everything was absolutely beautiful and we got so many compliments on the decorations — was super happy with everything!
Everything Is An EventEverything Is An Event
Tracy W.
Amy worked very professionally and effectively to decorate my entire space from furniture to art work to accessories! My house is so gorgeous! I can't believe I get to live in this beautiful space! Amy was very responsive and stayed within budget. I am so happy with my spaces! I recommend her to anyone without reservation!
Amy Joy Room StylingAmy Joy Room Styling
Roshni G.
We planned to hire a decorator very last minute for a low key engagement party. The venue was pretty minimalistic and we wanted to spruce it up. Christine and I connected about 4 days before the event. She was very responsive and we put together a game plan with ideas in one day and she executed my vision quickly and timely and saved me a ton of hours of work and stress. I highly recommend Christine and her work.
Wishful Planning Events & DesignWishful Planning Events & Design
Shanae F.
COVID 19, I paid a total of around 600 for a service I never received and she only refunded 248! I got no party favors, nothing from what I paid her for. Never got the party of my dreams or the decor of my dreams. Lacking integrity. She stated, "We are fully able to put on your party despite COVID 19!" I told her the entire state is shut down and that I did not cancel the party because I wanted to but because it was an unforeseen circumstance. This did not phase her one bit. She said she would only refund me 248 thats it! She got more money then I got and I had no party! Never again. That shows you alot about a business. People keep telling me to fight her (legally) to get more of my money back as we were required to stay in until June 5, my party was May 30. The state was still shut down. So I should have received a full refund as I did with the venue that was 538, they gave me everything back because they were never used! Not Lady Boss no she charged me for a service and favors that I didnt receive. She probably will use my favors for someone elses party. Terrible. But I didnt have a terrible birthday! Im actually writing this review at the beach alone to have a calming experience despite not having my family and husband and kids with me I will be alright! But please believe God sits high and looks low and remembers alll!!!!
Lady Boss AffairsLady Boss Affairs
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