It’s coming up on the New Year [already?] and with it a whole New Decade!

Home improvements may definitely be on your mind. As a professional Interior Designer in Bergen County, NJ, I get asked the same questions over and over.  Maybe these answers will be of help to you.

#1. Money and the Budget.

“How do you charge?”

This is a critical question, no doubt. But it should not be the most important or only deciding factor.  Designers charge in all different ways.  It is based on the design services that you require for your project.  This is referred to in your letter of agreement as the Scope of Services.”

  1. A) Some services can be done by charging a flat fee. A paint consultation is a good example.

  2. B) Some designers charge hourly fees. In Bergen County, NJ, hourly fees ranging from $150 and higher.

  3. C) Sometimes designers charge by the square foot for certain kinds of projects.

  4. D) Sometimes the fee is based on a percentage of the budget. Each designer works differently, depending on the project.

  5. E) Sometimes there is a combination of the fees that works best to compensate the designer and is fair to the client.

  6. F) Most designers will charge the manufacturer’s wholesale price when they do the purchasing, passing on their discount to you, and then add a % to that number. This means you are essentially saving a nice percentage off retail pricing by going through the designer.

Regardless of the method of charging, every client and designer needs to have the discussion about the budget so the designer knows beforehand what level of design the client wants and can afford to spend.

In your own mind, take time to figure out that number before you make a decision to start interviewing. That way you will all be on the same page.

#2. What is the difference between an Interior Designer and a Decorator? 

This is a great question.

In the United States, each state has a definition, but the overall accepted answer is that an Interior Designer has a formal education in Interior Design [degree] and has more knowledge of space planning and construction than decorators.

A Decorator has an eye, has experience in the design industry or worked with a qualified Interior Designer, but has not taken the exam nor has a formal degree in Interior Design.

#3. What do all those letters mean after your name?

  1. A) To be a professional member of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and use the initials after your name, a person must pass the NCIDQ exam given by the independent organization, the National Council of Interior Design Qualification.

  2. B) This exam is part of the requirement to be registered with the State as well. In New Jersey, a “Certified Interior Designer” is called a CID.

  3. C) There are other letters that represent additional qualifications that a designer specializes in such as CAPS. If you see these initials after someone’s name, it refers to Certified Aging in Place.

I am both, a professional member of ASID and a state certified CID, so my appellation is Rona J. Spiegel ASID CID.

#4. How do you know if the person you are interviewing is the right one for you?

An interior designer envisions, plans and outfits your spaces in a way that makes them both beautiful and functional.  Balancing the aesthetics with the structural is crucial.  There is a lot that goes into this profession beyond talent and a good eye.  HGTV is great but is not 100% accurate.  Even my 12 year old grandson knows that you cannot purchase and install a new kitchen for $12,000!  Well, if you had a magic wand, you could!

You need to feel comfortable that your choice for your Interior Designer can achieve your desired outcome. Your designer must not only be creative at their design work, but, you need them to be equally successful at running their business professionally, so they take good care of you and your budget!

You need to feel secure that they have the knowledge and experience to complete your project.  Part of that is having the resources to work with to accomplish the goal.  A good designer has a team they have worked with before many times who understand what is expected of them and the quality of the work required.



Give us a call to tell us:

How can we help you in 2020?