Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does an Interior Designer usually cost?
This depends on the Designer's level of experience and involvement. As a general rule of thumb, it's best to expect an Interior Designer to cost 10% - 20% of your project budget. If your designer is also acting as your General Contractor and/or Project Management, plan on an additional 10%. However, if your designer is playing more of a consultant role than a hands-on role, design fees can fall under the initial 10% mark, total. Leu Interiors' services fall into all of these brackets, depending on the project needs.
Q: What is the difference between an Interior Decorator and an Interior Designer?
You may have occasionally heard the terms for interior decorator and interior designer interchanged. However, there is a difference between the two titles. An interior decorator generally refers to someone who deals with furniture and decor only. Education and training are not necessary to work as a decorator, which is why most start as hobbyists in a different career.
An interior designer is a specialized career field, requiring a certain combined level of education, work experience, and licensing. An interior designer may create spaces for the inside of a commercial office building, design the lighting for a restaurant, or design the entirety of a home from the layout and electrical plan all the way down to the rugs and accessories. Interior designers even work with builders and architects to ensure that the exterior complements the interior design of a commercial or residential structure. An interior designer may also deal with issues of health, safety and welfare; i.e. accessibility and building codes, especially in a commercial setting.
Q: Why do I need an Interior Designer?
Whether you need a little help or a lot, the advice and guidance of an Interior Designer is invaluable. Having a professional Interior Designer on your team who has the knowledge and experience of countless similar projects as well as the information, resources and expertise for finding the exact products and trades people you need to get the best result for your project is priceless. Working with an Interior Designer will help you to move seamlessly and efficiently through the project, as well as help you prevent costly mistakes or side-steps along the way.
Q: Why should I pay for an Interior Designer when some retail stores offer “free design assistance?”
The knowledge and expertise that you benefit from when you hire a personal interior designer is the primary value that the designer studied thoroughly and spent years of time and effort to curate. Do you work for free? Neither do "free in-house designers". While it is true that many retail establishments may offer “free” advice and assistance, and that sometimes those consultants may be very good at what they do, it is also true that although the advice they offer you is “free,” they definitely are not working for “free” and their primary allegiance and obligation is to their employer.
On the contrary, a personal Interior Designer serves as your advocate. They will always be on your side, and working to get you the best services, prices, and experience as possible. They have no attachment to certain brands (other than through tried and true experience), so they have the entire world of products to choose from, rather than being required to stay within any one company's family of brands. Do you have favorites? Let your Designer know! Leu Interiors is always open to using our clients' preferred stores, brands, products or services.
Q: When is the right time to hire an Interior Designer?
While a good designer can help you at any stage of the design, it is most advantageous for you to begin your work with a designer at the earliest stages of the project. As with almost any process, having a good plan in place as early as possible is the best route to success. Leu Interiors can take your project from the initial point of gathering information on the requirements and needs for your space, through design development, purchasing and installation for every detail of your project – all the way to completion. A perfect final result is evidence of a plan well thought out and well executed from the initial ideas to the final details.
IMPORTANT: Hiring an Interior Designer several months prior to your project start date will not cost you any extra money, it will simply guarantee your spot on their calendar!!
Q: What is Leu Interiors' Design fee structure?
Our designs are billed as flat fees based on an hourly estimation of how long your space will take us to design. We'll send you a design fee proposal before your project begins, which will be custom-tailored to your project scope and amount of detail you're interested in. With a flat fee structure, you know exactly what you're going to get and there are no surprises.
Q: Are Project Management fees and Design fees different?
Yes. Leu Interiors is always the Designer for our projects, but not always the Project Manager. After the design portion of your project is complete, if you choose to have Leu Interiors see your project through to the very end, we charge an hourly Project Management fee of $100. This fee covers the time and experience needed to schedule, hire, coordinate, manage and meet with the tradesmen who install our designs. Using our Project Management services, you benefit from working with our highly skilled, preferred team of subcontractors while we oversee everything so your project goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible, turning out exactly as planned. There are no hourly minimum or maximums.
Q: What do the Design fees include?
- Space planning: structural, furniture, and electrical layouts.
- Lighting design, mood boards, renderings, working drawings and finish selections
- Design of custom built-ins, cabinetry, and window treatments
- Preparation of estimates and purchasing good & services
- Design coordination with contractors, architects and installers
- Subsequent consultations with the client and suppliers
- Researching sources for materials or products
- Client meetings and design site visits
Q: What does the Project Management fee include?
- Finding and scheduling skilled trades for your project
- Installation coordination with contractors, architects and installers
- Overall project management and overseeing installations
- Leu Interiors also acts as the main point of contact for all installers
Q: How often will I be billed for hourly work? How often for Project Management?
Leu Interiors bills upfront for 100% of Design services. After the design phase is complete, the hourly Project Management fee is billed to you every two weeks for the time spent since the last invoice.
Q: What is the best way to communicate with my Designer?
Email, Text & Phone Call are all acceptable ways to communicate with us, and we prefer them in that order! As a rule of thumb, we prefer to have a paper trail from all communication. We understand that's not always possible, so we'll try to take notes as much as possible when we're talking in person or on the phone.
Q: How can I prepare for our first meeting for my project?
- You can share your Pinterest. Houzz or other inspiration links in the Project Questionnaire.
- You may also collect clippings from magazines and/or photos that appeal to you.
- Be thinking about colors, styles and looks that you like or are drawn to?
- Know your wants, needs, and what the space should do for you when finished.
- Think about your time frame - when do you want to start? Do you have finish date goals?
- Have a budget in mind and be honest about it with your designer. Having a ball park figure is a good start.
- Bring your calendar and an idea of when you are most available for future meetings.
- Get excited! I'll be excited too, so we can have that in common from the very beginning.