Tips and Guides

How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Interior Designer?

Be guided by these reminders and tips

Photography: Pexels/Unsplash (Main Photo)

Whether you're building your first family home or renovating a well-loved property, we're sure that you've considered working with a design professional. Different factors come into play why this step doesn't come into fruition—a few experience difficulty finding a designer who can work on the design they have in mind; while many are worried about the costs and fees.

Before making a final decision, keep in mind that even with guidelines for standard fees, most designers charge differently. The rates are based on years of practice, reputation, client demand, site location, and scope of work, to name a few. Given these factors, it goes to show that you can’t compare the charges presented by two different designers. You might be thinking: So how much does it really cost to hire an interior designer? Read on to learn more about standard project types and their corresponding rates (based on the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers  (PIID) Document #5-Guidelines for Standard Fees):


For projects that do not require much planning, you can hire an interior designer for consultation only. This service takes into account material and decoration like sourcing for furniture, furnishings, and sometimes decorative finishes like wallpaper and accent tiles, as well as the actual setting up of the project site.

Rates may vary but the designer can charge a minimum of P500 to a maximum of P1, 500 per hour. Lump sum rates can go from P4, 000 to P10, 000 to cover the eight working hours per day. These rates do not include transporation and food expenses for projects within Metro Manila and the aforementioned plus accommodation for out of town projects—both local and international.

Small Projects

Small projects pertain to houses, condos, clinics, commercial spaces, and small offices that have a maximum floor area of 75sqm. These projects, although small, will require the necessary interior design services and documents. The said documents include the needed plans, detail drawings, material and furniture selection, perspectives, cost estimate review, and site supervision/coordination with contractor and engineers.

A designer can charge a minimum lump sum fee of P50, 000 per space/unit or P1, 000 per square meter.

From 76 to 300sqm—For bigger spaces with the said measurements, rates can range from a minimum of P50, 000 per major area to P300, 000 per house (regardless of the number of rooms)

From 301sqm and aboveNote that charges get lower as the space gets bigger. For areas measuring 301sqm. and above, design fee rates are at a minimum of P400 to a maximum of P800 per square meter.

Repetitive Work

This signifies projects where the basic design is replicated—as in hotel rooms, franchises, model units, and the like. The designer will charge for full payment of design services for one unit, plus a percentage of the original for every succeeding unit/s. The eventuality of repetition should be discussed by the designer and the client at the beginning of the project.

Renovations and Repair Work

These projects will require the interior designer to evaluate the site's existing conditions and the scope of work it entails—which means that the design fee will be adjusted to reflect the nature of work since these entail more work.

Rates are at a minimum of P50, 000 per unit or P1, 000 per square meter, plus an additional contingency fee of 10% for unforeseen additional work.

Fees on Percentage Basis

This is when the designer's rates are based on the overall project cost. A 10 to 15 percentage of the said cost should cover the design fee.

For any type of work listed above, the designer should also provide a schedule of fees which should be based on the progress of the work rendered as seen in—but not limited to—the example below:

  • 10%—Acceptance Fee
  • 20%—Schematic Design Phase (This includes the preliminary plans, image boards, and perspectives for approval)
  • 35%—Design Development Phase (This covers the actual design phase—production of all necessary drawings, details, material selection)
  • 20%—Contact Document and Coordination Phase (Including the submission of seven full sets of drawings, cost estimate/bid review)
  • 15%—Construction Phase (This covers the site supervision, coordination with necessary parties such as the contractor and project manager)

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

NOTE: The fees, rates, and terms of payment listed here vary per designer, per project and/or scope of work. Always discuss this with the designer before agreeing to start on the project.  

PHOTOS: Pexels via Pixabay | Kaboompics//Karolina 2 and 3 | Unsplash

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