The world of interior decorating has this air of mystery about it. Think about American movies and their portrayal of a decorator, usually it’s a huge mansion and a disgustingly wealthy family hiring a decorator to transform their entire home… Well, I’m going to shatter that reality by telling you that hiring a decorator is actually a very different experience to how you see it in the movies. The whole reason I started this business was to make interior decorating more accessible to everyday homeowners and renters across Australia. I don’t swan in with a team of people (a la Franck from Father of The Bride), it’s just me and we walk through your house and chat about all things decorating. Some of my clients have even turned into friends, and that’s always a lovely bonus for me!
So what should you be paying to hire a decorator?
Well, you’ll need to start off with an initial consultation where you each get to know each other and decipher your style and tastes. Plus your decorator will need to see each room of the house you want help with (and some of the other rooms too, to give them a better idea of how you live and what you do and don’t like). Typically you should expect to pay anywhere between $200-$300 for the initial consultation (My initial consults are $245). If your decorator is offering free initial consultations, I’d be pretty wary of this, they need to be valuing their time in order for you to feel like you are getting great, quality service and advice.
Once you’ve had the initial consultation, you will usually receive a scope of work from your decorator outlining how many hours are required to complete the design concepts (aka, pretty furniture to make your house happy). Decorators bill for their design work a bit differently to the initial consultations, some bill you by square meterage for the area they are working on, others have a flat rate fee, but most (me included) will bill hourly. I always quote up front so my client’s never receive any nasty surprises and we’re both on the same page. If you’re worried about how many hours your project is going to take, most decorators can give you a rough price outline to help you budget. Expect to pay between $100-$200 per hour for this. If you have existing furniture in your rooms and only need a few bits and pieces here and there then your decorator will only need a couple of hours to complete this. If you need an entire home from scratch, you’ll probably be looking at about 20+ hours.
The design concepts your decorator provides you with should include a mood board (design concept board), a floor plan layout and a design action plan to show you how the whole process is going to be executed. You’re paying for the decorators time to create these magical documents for you. The decorator has spent countless hours crafting and honing their skills in order to do this for you in the time that they are charging so you’re getting all that expertise rolled into one price.
After some back and forth on the initial concepts, you and your decorator can get to work purchasing and delivering products. I can’t speak for all decorators, but I will always pass on a trade discount on products where I can to all my clients. So you can expect to pay about 30% less than recommended retail price. So that means your decorator’s fees are negated if you’re saving huge chunks of money on products.
Bringing It All Together
Once your products have started to arrive and your home is looking a lot happier, you can hire your decorator to come back and do a stylist once over. When I do this for clients, I swan in with my team (jokes….), I come in with my photographer and get to work pulling furniture around the room, hanging art and arranging the bits and pieces to coordinate and bring it all together. I also use this as an opportunity to take photos of the project for my portfolio. And I always leave your home looking spotless! The stylist once over should cost you around $75-$100 per hour and should only take 2-3 hours depending on how big your house is. Oh and I ALWAYS bring fresh flowers to add that lovely fresh finishing touch.
Hiring A Decorator…….
- Saves you time…..and money – outsourcing to someone who already knows where to shop and what the products look like means you don’t have to spend countless weekends at the Supa Centa trying to figure out what lamp shade works with your lounge rom.
- Saves your marriage/relationship….. – don’t tell me you’ve never fought with your partner about sofa fabric choices, paint colours or how many cushions should be allowed on the bed. Having a professional guide you with your decorating choices can save a lot of deliberation time (code for arguing about kitchen tiles).
- Gives you access to quality trades – decorators usually have a whole list of trades they can recommend for jobs you don’t have time to research and hire for.
- Gives you access to quality products – that you wouldn’t ordinarily have access too as decorators work with a lot of furniture wholesalers who won’t deal with the general public.
- Gives you a finished product you’ll absolutely love – my job at the end of the day is to create a beautiful, real and functional home for you and your family so that walking in the door each day makes you smile.
If you’d like to chat about my decorating services shoot me an email with your decorating problems!