Interior Design Project Fees Demystified

At Interiors by Donna Hoffman, we are first and foremost your Design Advocates. That means we’re always on your side, especially when it comes to your budget. Unlike designers who are cavalier with budget, we take our fiscal responsibly seriously. We are careful to align your budget with the resources that deliver the quality you expect. Where necessary, we can advise when to value engineer, substituting alternative sources at lower cost where you are comfortable with that tradeoff in cost and quality.  Managing and protecting your budget is our responsibility. 

Interior Design Firm Doylestown

We have two ways of charging for a design project: Hourly or fixed rate.


The majority of our clients choose an hourly rate. With hourly design support, you take responsibility for how you use your time with us. We are stealth in our efficiencies, which is why we already know there’s no “fat” in how we use design time.  And, if I’m concerned about the way you’re using time, for example, if I think you’re unknowingly running up design charges by continually revisiting decisions, I’ll gently let you know. Keeping you on track is part of how we protect your investment. 

Our first meeting is a one and a half hour fixed fee, including travel. If you engage us, we’ll credit back 50% of the first meeting fee as our thank you. Space plans are also a fixed fee. We’ll give you several options for your room in that space plan fee.   (Cost is for the entire space planning process – not per plan.) For larger projects, such as multi-room projects or new design build projects, we are glad to create an attractive multi-space planning fee package for you.   

Due to my experience and speed, I have an hourly rate that is higher than my team. When my team can do something for you rather than me, you enjoy a lower rate fro those services. Working in this manner we ultimately amortize your entire project to a lower rate. A special perk we extend to all clients is this one: we have a weekly in-house staff meeting. Whether you take up 5 minutes or 50 minutes of that meeting, you are never charged for that project work done on your behalf. Over the course of your entire project, that “gratis service” adds up – but again – is our gift.

We also help you offset your design fees by providing you purchasing discounts on furnishings.

Fixed Project Fee

If you choose a fixed project fee, we’ll provide a quote for the total scope of your project and use our best educated guesstimate for the complete service based upon ‘like kind” projects.

In this scenario, we take the risk for how you use our time together, thus your upfront commitment to our company is far greater than for hourly support.  Additionally, with fixed fee packages, you are assigned a finite number or selection rounds, and if you go beyond these, you’ll drop outside your fixed fee scope and begin to accrue hourly charges.

Keeping Track

We have a very sophisticated time billing program specific to the interior design industry that tracks time and can issue detailed reports. This is how invoices are generated. and this information is always available to you.  This program also allows us to project fixed fee projects.

Interior Designer Doylestown

Managing Your Budget

Once you are a signed client and after our initial intake, we’ll create your space plans. As soon as you complete your plan selection,  we go into budget creation and early creative, including an detailed  line item budget. After that, we’ll do an itemized budget with a low end and a high end. I always aim to land within 20% of the base number.

We are so proud of our budget processes. Our spaces are authentically beautiful yes, but we also beautifully manage, project and protect your budget.

Value Engineering

With your approval, we can go into a lower cost or lower quality goods where it makes sense. For example, a bench in a guest room doesn’t get the same use as a living room sofa. We won’t put lower quality goods in high use areas, but we can explore reusing – repaint or re-upholster as needed. Value engineering can give you room to splurge on something special or help stretch your budget.

At IDH, we are all about giving you a beautiful, luxurious-yet-livable space within a budget that you’re comfortable with and that we’ve agreed is in line with your total project scope.  Our impeccable processes are extremely efficient, and we can help you be efficient with your time as well. As long as your budget is commensurate your project scope, we have the skill and processes to guide you to get the most luxury for your money.