Get Quotes from Top Interior Designers in Boston, MA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Interior Designer in Boston

The claim that hiring a professional designer to complete your home or office interior is expensive is far from the truth. Besides making your home or office more functional, valuable, and attractive, an interior designer affords you their network to get the best deals for top-class furniture and accessories you will be needing. Similarly, these interior designers retain the contacts of top local vendors and subcontractors to help you complete your home or office improvement project on a budget.  However, it is recommended that before hiring anyone in Boston who considers themselves an interior designer, you find out about their level of experience by asking the following questions:

Are You Registered or Certified to Practice as an Interior Designer in Boston?

Before you may use the title "interior designer" to find employment in Boston, you must pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam offered by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). This must also be done in order to become nationally qualified.

You must have at least an associate's degree in the relevant discipline and four years of experience working with a certified interior designer or architect in order to be qualified to take this exam. Your job experience requirements will be lowered if you pursue more education. For instance, if you were to earn a bachelor's degree with at least 60 semester hours of interior design education, your job experience requirements will be lowered to two years.

Many colleges and universities in Boston, including Boston University and Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, offer interior design degrees. Earning one of these degrees will put you one step closer to being qualified to take the NCIDQ exam. The NCIDQ exam is divided into three sections:

  • The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
  • Professional Interior Design Exam (IDPX)
  • Exam for the Practicum (PRAC)

A $225 application fee must be paid in order to apply for all three categories. Within ten days of submitting an application to take the exam, the applicant must sign up and take all three of its components. The registration fee for the IDFX test is $295, the IDPX test is $350, and the PRAC test is $455. Applicants will have to provide a $150 postponement fee if they want to postpone any tests. When they have successfully finished all three levels, applicants will be awarded certification. This certification needs 10 hours of documented continuing education each year and $75 to renew.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Interior Designers in Boston?

When Boston interior designers bill for their services, they frequently use several price schemes. These consist of:

  • Percentage Fee Structure: A portion of the overall cost of your home renovation project, which typically varies from 10% to 25%, is what the interior designer will charge you under this fee structure. The benefit of this pricing structure is that, in most cases, there are no up-front costs, and you can easily predict how much the interior designer's services would cost. On the other hand, dishonest interior designers might use this pricing framework to recommend or buy only pricey goods in an effort to raise the overall cost of your project and, as a result, their overall fee.
  • Hourly Fee Structure: For the time they spend working on your project, the interior designer will charge you hourly using this fee structure. For projects of small or medium scale, this kind of pricing structure is often recommended. However, you might need to make a payment before the interior designer agrees to begin your project.
  • Flat Rate Fee Structure: in this arrangement, the interior designer charges you a predetermined sum in return for particular services or obligations, including design evaluations or reviews.

Always ask what kind of pricing structure your prospective interior designer intends to use for the job. Be mindful that the price of hiring an interior designer in Boston is frequently influenced by elements like the size of the space that needs designing and the reputation of the interior designer. In spite of this, it is a good idea to request and compare estimates from at least three local interior designers before choosing one to work with. By doing this, you can identify exorbitant prices and other dubious practices.

Interior designers in Boston earn an average annual wage of $75,060. The list below provides the average hourly wages of these professionals compared with the average hourly wages of interior designers across the rest of Massachusetts as well as several other locations in the United States:

Boston Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Worcester Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Cambridge Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Springfield Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
New York City Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Chicago Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Houston Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Phoenix Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Philadelphia Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Interior Design Services Do You Offer?

To ensure that you get the best quality and value for your money, it is critical to fully understand the services that an interior designer offers. These services often include sustainable interior design, interior restoration, event and holiday décor, as well as residential and commercial interior design.

It should be noted that homeowners occasionally confuse the terms "interior decorator" with "interior designer." Even though the two vocations fall under the same general categories, they differ in a little but significant way. To improve the aesthetic and functionality of living spaces, interior designers typically have more formal education than interior decorators. Additionally, they collaborate closely with architects and general contractors. On the other hand, interior decorators typically forego structural planning and restoration when constructing a structure in favor of an aesthetic focus.

After making sure that the scope and type of your project fall within the chosen interior designer's area of expertise, the next thing to do is to ascertain the cost of these services. Below is a list of Boston-based interior design goods and services.

Residential interior design services cost estimates

Hourly rate fee structure
$117.86 - $133.77 per hour
Square footage fee structure
$4.20 – $10.20 per square foot
Percentage fee structure
10% - 15% of construction cost
Percentage fee structure
16% - 35.90% of furnishings cost

Commercial interior design services cost estimates

Hourly rate fee structure
$100 - $205 per hour
Square footage fee structure
$13.14 - $15.93 per square foot
Percentage fee structure
13% - 20% of construction cost

What is Your Favorite Interior Design Style?

It cannot be overstated how important it is to have a clear picture of your interior design aesthetic before making changes to your home or designing a new living area. In order to avoid having a home that makes you feel utterly uncomfortable and unhappy, you must take steps to ensure that your interior designer has the abilities necessary to transform this style into reality. To make sure the styles and designs an interior designer uses are in keeping with your vision for your living space, it is a fantastic idea to look over their portfolio, especially if you want to work with one who is well-known for a certain style or design.

While Contemporary is one of the more popular interior design styles in Boston, homes in the city tend to have the following interior design styles as well:

  • Art Deco
  • Bohemian
  • Cape Cod
  • Coastal
  • Colonial Revival
  • Eclectic
  • Federal
  • Glam
  • Italianate
  • Mid-Century Modern
  • Minimalist
  • Modern Farmhouse
  • Organic Modern
  • Queen Anne
  • Ranch
  • Rustic
  • Scandinavian
  • Second Empire
  • Shabby Chic
  • Split Level
  • Traditional
  • Transitional
  • Tudor Revival

If you do not have a specific theme in mind for the interior design of your house, another alternative is to collaborate with your interior designer to develop a distinct look that reflects your personality and age. Among the various age groups in the city, some of the more popular interior design trends include:

  • Generation X (Baby Boomers): This group favor Art Deco, Traditional and Rustic styles.
  • Generation Y (the Millennials): This group love Contemporary, Minimalist, and Organic Modern styles.
  • Gen Z: This group favor Eclectic, Rustic, and Glam styles

Can You Provide References from People You Have Served in Boston?

When looking for seasoned interior designers to oversee your home remodeling project, recommendations from friends, relatives, or websites sponsored by organizations like the American Society of Interior Designers are very useful. No matter how you find a Boston interior designer, you should never sign any contracts with them without contacting references from previous clients. You will be in a better position to verify their credibility and acquire first-hand opinions on their designs, backgrounds, and work ethics if you make it a priority to do this.

Professional interior designers in Boston would be happy to help you with references and may even give you access to a portfolio of their prior work that includes "before and after" images that show how their designs turned out. Be cautious of interior designers who are either unable or unwilling to give you up to three local references; this is usually a symptom of inadequate services and dishonest behavior on the designer's part.

Before selecting a designer, you should check websites like Google Reviews and the Better Business Bureau for information about them. After that, you can review their history of grievances and, if any, the types of complaints that have been leveled against them.

How Do You Structure Your Interior Design Projects?

If you understand how interior designers manage their time and are more informed of what to expect from the design process, you can follow the procedure more successfully. As such, it is critical to consider an interior designer's organizational and spatial strategies while looking for experienced interior designers for your Boston home design and remodeling project. Such knowledge will also prevent you from becoming anxious if the project takes longer than you anticipated. You may also have more confidence that the interior designer will consider any special project milestones you may have while defining the project timeline, such as suggested move-in dates or visits from friends and family.

The steps in a typical interior design process are as follows:

  • Discovery: The exploration step includes learning about the client's specific wants and preferences, looking at reference pictures, and talking about the basic structure of the house.
  • Inspiration: Based on their inspiration, the interior designer and their design team then develop concept statements for each room that will serve as the project's main compass.
  • Design: At this stage, the interior designer provides the client with fully developed design concepts. To meet the demands of the client, this procedure could involve several presentations and design revisions until a final design is accepted.
  • Procurement: In order to implement the concept that was mutually agreed upon, the interior designer must purchase the right furniture, fixtures, and accessories.
  • Installation: Fixtures, furniture, and other accessories are now installed in the envisioned living space. This could take one to five days, or perhaps longer, depending on the magnitude of the project.
  • The Big Reveal: The client gets shown the finished result by the interior designer when the interior design process is complete.

What Builders, Architects, or Contractors Do You Work With?

An interior designer may collaborate with architects, builders, or general contractors depending on the project's needs, or, if necessary, they may act as the lead contractor and hire carpenters, flooring specialists, and other subcontractors. It is important to confirm that the numerous contractors your interior designer is working with are licensed and insured for the work they are performing in addition to the specialists' rates.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 57,780 work-related accidents involving construction workers in 2020. Note that you may be held responsible for these accidents if your interior designer's contractors do not have insurance. As a result, you should make sure that each of these subcontractors is covered by general liability insurance that is adequate for the size of your project.

Every interior designer who employs staff and conducts business in Boston is obliged to maintain workers' compensation insurance for their staff, regardless of the number of employees or the number of hours worked. Also, ensure they carry general liability and other relevant insurance so as not to bear the brunt of any accidents that may occur during your project.

Make it a point to always ask your interior designer and any subcontractors they hire for proof of insurance. Before you sign any employment contracts with them, you are allowed to confirm it in person by chatting with the insurance company that provided it.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Interior Designer in Boston

The primary center for consumer complaints about unfair or deceptive acts or practices employed by interior designers in Boston is the Department of Consumer Affairs. Additionally, you could bring up these concerns with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

According to Boston news network WWLP, a contractor was ordered to pay $150,000 in compensation and was permanently barred from conducting business in Massachusetts as a result of claims that he defrauded numerous Massachusetts homeowners. In common interior design scams, con artists and dishonest interior designers frequently employ a variety of strategies to con unwary homeowners and take their money. These folks frequently employ the following methods:

  • Set exorbitant rates for subpar furnishings and materials
  • Make excessive requests for retainers or demand early payments
  • Understate their estimates to win the homeowner's trust
  • Accept the payments but do not finish the job

When looking for interior designers in Boston, take the following precautions to avoid being taken advantage of:

  • Ask reliable sources for recommendations from nearby interior designers. Use the Better Business Bureau and American Society of Interior Designers online directories, recommendations from friends and family, reputable real estate brokers, and referrals from acquaintances and friends.
  • Instead of choosing interior designers who won't give you three local references you can call, think about only going with those that will.
  • Make sure you have read and comprehended any documents provided to you before signing them.
  • Avoid hiring interior designers who request substantial down payments in advance and postpone paying the entire project cost until it is finished. Never pay a deposit greater than 20 to 30 percent of the project's expected total cost.
  • Keep a close eye on the development of your project.
  • Verify any interior designer's qualifications before hiring them.
  • Before beginning any major renovation projects, be sure to at least seek a second opinion.
  • Make sure the task is covered by a written agreement. This contract should contain crucial information including the interior designer's contact details, a description of the interior design services to be provided, the project cost, a payment plan, and a mechanism for accommodating extra services.
  • Verify that you can go to the interior designer's place of business by car.

You can file a complaint about interior designer fraud with the Boston Department of Consumers by sending them an email or calling their office at (617) 635-3834.

Additionally, you have the option of complaining to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. The office can also be reached by phone at (617) 727-8400, or complaints can be sent online.

Sadly, there is no guarantee that any compensation will be given to you as a result of the actions these offices may take to resolve your complaint. However, your case will be considered by the Boston Municipal Court if you decide to bring a private lawsuit for damages against the interior designer. Before filing a claim or engaging in any other actions that call for going to court, it is advisable that you consult with a lawyer. To obtain suggestions for seasoned lawyers in Boston, go to the website of the Boston Bar Association and use their Lawyer Referral Service.