Yes, You Can Hire an Interior Designer on a Budget—Here's How

Updated 10/24/18

One of the most common questions I, as a decorating enthusiast, am asked by friends in nesting mode is “Where can I find an affordable _________ for my home?” It’s fairly easy to answer: flea markets, vintage shops, and a few of my go-to budget-friendly retailers. However, the second-most common question—“What’s the cost of an interior designer?”—always throws me for a loop.

If you hire an interior designer, you can set your budget for furniture and décor at basically any number you’re comfortable with (though don’t be surprised if they to upsell you)… but the bill for your design services can easily and quickly rack up, and it can vary greatly, though there are some affordable interior design options out there.

All designers work differently. Some charge an hourly rate (anywhere from $100 to $500 per hour is common), a flat fee (several thousand dollars to as high as five figures), or a percentage of the project costs. The common thread? It’s usually way more than you bargained for.

That’s all changing, however, thanks to a select few online platforms that are making interior design affordable and transparent—and still profitable for designers. Knowing the real costs of an interior designer upfront used to be a farfetched dream, but now it’s a reality, courtesy of , , Homepolish, and . Read on to hear about these game-changing startups.

Affordable Interior Design Services
Affordable Interior Design
Decorist

I recently visited online interior design platform ’s and was blown away by the stunning rooms its team designed 100% virtually. The service offers a tier of three flat-fee online interior design packages: Classic ($199 per room), Elite ($499 per room), and Celebrity ($799 per room), each of which includes two initial concept boards with revisions, a final room design, a custom floor plan, setup instructions, a personalized shopping list, direct communication with your designer, and a complimentary décor purchasing service.

You can choose your designer or be matched.

All of Decorist’s designers are thoroughly vetted. Classic designers are generally greener talents, Elite designers have five or more years of experience, and Celebrity designers have attained a bit of notoriety (been published and have established design firms of their own). Aesthetically, Decorist has really earned our stamp of approval and stands apart with rooms that are tasteful and inspiring, no matter what tier they’re in. It’s no surprise that some of our favorite designers—like Brian Paquette, Celerie Kemble, and Will Wick—have joined its ranks.

Aeon Round Dining Table With Tulip Style Base $225
blanche large gold metal basket
CB2 Blanche Large Gold Metal Basket $70
West Elm Mongolian Lamb Stool $299
Cost of an Interior Designer
Homepolish

Homepolish doesn’t offer a flat fee like some of its competitors, but it does offer attainable hourly rates with vetted designers from top design schools and firms, and you can work with your designer in person (it offers in-home consultations in 15 cities) or by video nationally.

You can choose a single-day session, which is $349 for a total of three hours and great for small projects like picking out paint colors or arranging gallery walls. Or, you can select a design package, which is $130 per hour for a minimum of 10 hours. This is great for full room and home makeovers. Stylistically, Homepolish’s rooms are on point, and we’ve seen a lot of stunning spaces with its name on them.

SAIC together pendant light
CB2 SAIC Together Pendant Light $299
Marco Zanuso Midcentury Blue Velvet Italian Armchair $1439
One Kings Lane Turkish Oushak Rug $1795
Interior Design Services
Laurel & Wolf

Online interior design platform has a structure similar to Decorist, with tiered flat fees and no hidden or hourly charges. Rates are $299 per room for the classic tier, $499 per room for the premium tier, and $499 to $899 for business or commercial spaces, or you can request a custom quote based on your project’s scope and needs.

Laurel & Wolf wants to offer something for everyone, so as a brand, it hasn’t honed in on a distinct interior design aesthetic or voice. Instead, whether you’re into French country, modern eclectic, or kitschy Nashville superstar, it probably has a designer who will understand your look. The service has also integrated a number of tools into its platform that make it easy for you and your designer to communicate and share feedback and ideas.

Kaiser-idell™ Pendant Lamp
Fritz Hansen Kaiser-idell Pendant Lamp $440
West Elm Alden Bar + Counter Stools $199
Rain White Vase
CB2 Mable Ivory Vase $60
Interior Design on a Budget
Havenly

, another flat-fee service, is the most affordable of the bunch, but its designers seem to be a bit greener. The platform offers two tiers: a $79-per-room package (which includes custom concept boards, product suggestions, and a purchasing service) and a $199-per-room package, which additionally includes a final room layout and furniture placement suggestions. There are no in-home consultations and installations, and all work is done online.

Grasshopper Table Lamp
Gubi Grasshopper Table Lamp $580
Brass Intaglio Frame
Anthropologie Brass Intaglio Frame $48
Southwestern Central Kilim Throw Pillow
CB2 Zbase Pillow $40

Next up: The interior designers swear by.

This post was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated.

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