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How Do Designers Charge?

By Maria Dinshaw | Jul 2019

Different Types of Projects

To understand how interior designers in India charge it is essential to first understand the following two classifications of residential and commercial projects.

Residential projects broadly cover apartments, flats, bungalows and villas. Commercial projects broadly cover offices, public spaces, retail and hospitality.

Fit-Out vs. Bare Shell

Fit-out – Many modern residential buildings now provide some standard finishes. These usually include basic electricals, flooring, doors and door frames, functioning bathrooms, painted walls, windows, basic lighting and kitchen platforms. Some even offer modular kitchens, lighting and air-conditioners.

Process followed for fit-out – When you hire an interior designer to design your home starting from this point, it is usually referred to as a fit-out. Your interior designer would understand your unique requirements and tastes and then proceed to design your home around these fixed components. Depending upon budgets, wall paneling, wall-papers and false ceilings may be added, custom cabinetry would be designed, wardrobes and other loose furniture items would be suggested and soft furnishings would be sourced to complement the color scheme and decor. Subsequently your interior designer would assist you with procuring decorative artwork and accessories to suit the design of your home.

Bare-shell – Less common now, bare shell apartments are those which have no standard finishes provided, except for windows. These apartments have no flooring, no electrical wiring, no plumbing, no kitchen platforms and usually no doors and door frames.

Process followed for bare-shell – For a bare shell apartment, your designer would understand your unique home interior design requirements and then proceed to design your home from scratch. They would start with all the basic hard finishes such as the marbles, tiles and the sanitary ware and then proceed with the complete fit-out including fitted carpentry items, kitchen design, loose furniture, wall treatments, lighting and soft furnishing.

Different Types of Designers and Design Firms

As with any other industry, there are several different categories of designers and interior design firms in India. The charges that you pay your designer would also depend upon the type of designer or design firm you choose to work with. The broad classifications are as follows;

  • Independent designers – This is a person who operates independently, generally working from home.
  • Small size firms – Firms employing between five and ten employees.
  • Medium size firms – Firms employing between fifteen and fifty employees.
  • Large firms – Firms employing anything over fifty employees.

What Size of Firm Is Best for Me?

This would depend upon the size and nature of your project and budgets. Independent designers could potentially lack the necessary resources to manage the execution of a project efficiently. Very large firms on the other hand may not offer the personalized service that you may be looking for, and will likely have a minimum project budget.

How Are The Charges Determined?

Lump-sum – Some firms charge a lump-sum fee for an interior design project. This amount is determined by the management of the firm after considering the scope of work. At Nitido, we prefer this method as it allows for maximum transparency. The fees are discussed upfront and no escalation occurs during the course of the project.

Per square foot – Some firms charge their clients on a square foot basis. Different rates are applied for different project categories (i.e. residential vs. commercial) and scopes (i.e. fit-out vs. bare shell)

Percentage of total value – Some firms will charge a percentage of your total project spend. If your project budget increases, the designer’s fees increase proportionally.

All inclusive – Some design and build firms charge their clients an all-inclusive amount that covers both their construction and their design charges. This is more common for commercial projects for which detailed design work is given less importance.

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