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?”
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.
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 client's 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 design. 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 that you have for your space, throughout conception, development, construction, purchasing and installation for every detail of your project – all the way to completion, the final result that shows the great result of a plan well thought out and well executed from the initial ideas to the final details.
IMPORTANT: Hiring an Interior Designer months before 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 design fees are hourly, based off of an estimated quote that we create at the beginning of each project. We'll let you know what we predict your project scope to entail, and give you a guaranteed maximum that we will not exceed. There are no hourly minimums!
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. Our Project Management fee is a flat 10% on top of all non-design services contracted. The PM fees covers our time and expertise needed to manage and oversee everything so your project goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
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 sends invoices out every two weeks for the Design time spent since the last invoice.
The 10% Project Management fee will be added to each service bill like any industry standard markup.
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.