The average American spends approximately 90% of their time indoors, surrounded by spaces that should be designed to impact their safety, health, and welfare positively. A lot of interior fittings and furniture are achieved with toxic chemicals that pollute the quality of indoor air. Pregnant women, the elderly, children and persons with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases are more susceptible to the adverse effects of this pollution.
Hence, it is necessary to hire professional interior designers nearby who are skilled at eliminating or preventing exposure to hazardous materials whether to personnel during the making of the interior and to occupants who will live in the designed space. Therefore, to avoid unwanted future expenses on health issues induced by indoor air pollutants or replacement of poor designs, it is recommended you hire a qualified designer. Here are some questions to ask to ensure you hire the best interior designer near you.
Interior designers are only mandated to be licensed or certified in some states to ensure they are familiar with existing government restrictions regarding commercial interior layouts. In all states, including California, Illinois, and New York, anyone can be an interior designer for residential spaces without special education and training. However, the title "registered," "licensed," or "certified" interior designer is restricted to qualified persons with a combination of six-eight years of education and experience, who have passed the qualification exam, usually the NCIDQ exam. States like Florida, Nevada, Louisiana, Washington and D.C. are among the few that regulate commercial interior design practices and make registration or licensing mandatory. However, working with a licensed or certified interior designer near you offers the confidence that your interior is done in line with the industry standards as well as the government codes for public health, safety, and welfare.
Designers obtain certification from a variety of organizations depending on their areas of specialty. If you are talking to a professional interior designer, you can verify the contractor’s certificate with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) or the Council For Interior Design Accreditation. You could also check out your designer’s license status with the searchable database of the Council of Interior Design Qualification.
Although fatal injuries in the interior design industry are rare, interior designers are still exposed to workplace injuries like chemical exposures, falls, and cuts, especially since they work closely with contractors and architects. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there 621 incidences of exposure to harmful substances while 791 workers fell, slipped, or tripped in 2018 alone. Interior designers need insurance that covers personal injury, accidents, property damage, and even professional liability for unsatisfactory or uncompleted projects. Similarly, you want to be sure your interior designer is holding a surety bond. This bond guarantees that the work will be completed satisfactorily, otherwise you will be adequately compensated. To avoid unplanned financial liabilities, it is best to work with only insured and bonded contractors near you.
There are different specialized fields and styles in interior design. Fields include residential, kitchen and bath, sustainable, corporate, and healthcare designers, while design niches include minimalist, nautical, urban modern, mid-century modern, and so on. Choose professionals nearby who have created a niche in a field using the type of design needed for the project. For instance, pick a residential interior designer who does minimalist interior design if you are into simple decluttered spaces, or go for nautical interior design for a relaxed beach-inspired theme.
As of 2019, the annual median wage for interior designers stood at $56,040. Though interior designers earn relatively high wages, you will be able to find qualified designers near you suitable for your project because there are different billing methods used by certified interior designers. Interior designers can charge clients based on a fixed rate, hourly rate, cost per square metre, commission (percentage over the cost), or a combination of these rates (if the project is huge).
On average, fixed or flat fees charged by interior designers range between $500 and $5,000 for a typical apartment design project. Hourly rates begin from $75 per hour and can be as high as $500 depending on the size and complexity of the project. While, the general rate per square footage can be anywhere from $10-$20/sq. ft. Designers willing to be paid on commission may charge up to 40% on the project's estimated cost. Inquire about your designer's preferred rate for the project and determine if it fits into your budget before signing off on the paperworks.
Interior designers have colleagues and apprentices they work with. Your designer may bring along some of these co-workers depending on the magnitude of the job. Also, there are cases when the project may require collaboration between two or more specialized designers. For instance, a residential designer can work with a universal designer to create a space that is accessible to people with special needs, or with a kitchen and bath expert if the project requires.
Therefore, you should inquire about the specific personnel to help complete the job and determine that they are adequately covered by the leading designer's insurance and bond plans. Where the designer you are talking with isn't the professional that will handle the job, ask to know the designers in charge and determine their level of competence to deliver your job satisfactorily.
Warranties are a guarantee to the durability of a product. Generally, interior designers do not provide warranty for their part of a project where their work ends at presenting an acceptable design outline or supervising the contractor to ensure conformity with the design concept. However, designers who have a contract to also do the purchase and installation of furnishings, may offer warranty as to the quality of items bought. Ensure to obtain this warranty in writing, and note the kind and extent of damages covered under the warranty.
Usually, product misuse and consequential damages are not covered by warranties. For example, consequential damages mean that if a laminated flooring causes a fall, the contractor may replace the product, but will not be liable for the hospital fees.
Obtaining references and portfolios from interior designers are one of the best ways to see if they have previously completed similar projects or provided quality services. This is essential in measuring experiences and assessing how suitable they will be to the project. Experienced designers will not hesitate to provide you with the names, addresses and phone numbers of satisfied clients, especially satisfied clients living near you for easy access. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you ask a contractor for at least three references.
The key point is getting objective reviews on the contractor’s previous performance. You can also conduct additional research on the designer’s website or third-party sites, including Google Review, Yelp. and social media accounts.
Here are a few of the most common interior design challenges:
- Small Spaces: Space would be a limiting factor for some interior designers, especially if the homeowner is not into minimalist designs.
- Budget: The budget size would only be a challenge when not discussed early enough and a limitation if it is too little compared to the project size.
- Logistics/Transportation: This can be challenging if the design firm does not have the means to transport new furniture to the home and old ones out.
- Poor measurement- Taking wrong property measurements can lead to a tacky design. At the core of the interior design is tactical measurements and sizing.
These problems can be avoided by discussing them with a professional who will make the necessary arrangements and concessions.
Generally, an interior designer will charge about $2,000 to $5,000 for an average project, excluding furniture prices. However, some interior designers offer complete packages for design, purchase, and installation, while some charge according to the room size. A standard interior designer would provide the fee structure through a brief in the client’s first meetings. The brief should include charges for transportation, labor, furniture, subcontractor(s), and tools.
Typical price list of different interior design packages, excluding furnishing, are as follows:
Some of the various factors that affect the cost of interior design:
- Size of the project: The price of materials used for interior decoration is usually per square foot. This implies that the bigger the house, the more the cost.
- Experience of the interior designer: Professional interior designers usually cost more than inexperienced designers.
- Cost, transportation, and installation of materials: The cost of lighting, floorings, furniture, and other fixtures vary widely and the same can be said about transportation and installation.
- Cost of labor: This varies widely from state to state based on minimum wage laws.
- Errors: Damages to materials or other design or installation mistakes can bring about additional costs. However, this can be mitigated if errors are covered by bond, insurance, or warranty.
In most cases, interior designers need to be authorized before claiming the title “licensed”, “registered”, or “certified”. To qualify for certification, requires the combination of specific formal education, documented work experience, and passing the NCIDQ examination. A minimum of associate or bachelor’s degree is accepted as an educational background, with official transcripts showing a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter credit hours. Documented work experience is a minimum of 1,760 hours of interior design work affirmed by a director, supervisor or sponsor. To verify claims, ask the interior for certificates or credentials and double-check with the issuing body.
While a handyman near you may be convenient and cheap to complete an interior design, a professional is well-trained and experienced to help you achieve the best aesthetics and impression within your budget. When it comes to space planning and decoration, certified interior designers are creative problem solvers ready to offer you several alternative options as a worthy solution. The skills offered by a qualified designer include drawing, calculations, and knowledge of your local building and residential safety codes. To avoid a botched job or disaster that may cost you additional expenses for replacements or re-design, it is recommended you hire a professional interior designer.
Ideally, the interior designer’s job ends when the design is approved, but this depends on the scope of work agreed upon in the contract. Most post interior design expenses occur after the design has been approved, mainly around the implementation and installation stage. In this case, homeowners will spend money on re-design, painting, lighting, electricians, and other contractor fees, if not covered in the contract. However, post-installation expenses often occur when cleaning the space, disposing of old furniture and waste, maintaining the house, and fixing future damages.
Homeowners’ insurance does not pay for interior designs but mostly covers losses incurred during burglaries or damages caused by fire or other insured natural disasters. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFRB) encourages homeowners to determine what is covered by the insurance policy, as conditions and events coverage offered by providers often differ. Specifically, you should confirm provisions relating to theft, vandalism, natural disasters, age of the house, and type of damages.
More and more small businesses, including interior designers near you, are willing to accept digital payments these days. Available digital payment platforms include debit/credit cards, ACH payments, and electronic transfers from mobile wallets like PayPal, Google Wallet, and Walmart Pay. These payment means are more convenient, faster, and efficient for record keeping. However, you should always verify what forms of payments are acceptable to your interior designer before concluding the contract. Where digital payment is not acceptable, ensure to request and keep a record of all receipts.