About Interior Decorating Companies

About Interior Decorating Companies

What to expect when working with an interior designer or decorator

By Julie Hampton

Interior Decorator's Floor Plan
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Redecorating and remodeling projects can quickly become overwhelming. Hiring an interior decorating company can make the project run smoothly and without stress. An interior decorating company does much more than choose colors and arrange furniture. An interior designer or decorator can give a home a polished, pulled-together look. For the best results, before beginning a project know the basics about interior decorating companies and the designers and decorators working for them. You also should ask to see the portfolios of the company and its employees to view design style, professionalism and credentials.


Decorating living spaces dates to ancient Roman times. However, interior design and decorating became a profession around the turn of the 20th century. Elsie de Wolfe, who established an "interior decoration" service for friends and family in New York City, is commonly considered the first interior design professional. Decorating and interior design was one of the new acceptable ways for women to work outside of the home. Due to the Industrial Revolution, interior décor and accessories were now mass-produced and commonly available. The average consumer could easily purchase items in department stores and shops.


Decorating companies have distinct specialties and niche areas. Some companies may handle only commercial accounts such as office or restaurant space. Other interior decorating companies may work in specific styles, such as modern or traditional interior design. Companies may hire licensed interior designers who have a four-year degree in interior design or a related field. Many are members of the American Society of Interior Design (ASID). An interior decorator, in comparison, may not have a formal design education or background. The terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator" are commonly -- and inaccurately -- interchanged by the public.

Time Frame

Depending on the project, interior designers and decorators can be brought on a project at different times. Interior designers may help plan entire projects before construction even begins. Decorators often assist with smaller projects, such as choosing the color palette of a room or deciding on cabinetry or artwork for a specific location in a home.


Cost can vary greatly depending on size of the project, time frame and types of materials. A company can focus on a main portion of a home, such as the kitchen and living room, or consider the entire home a project. A designer who is involved in a six-month project will cost more than a designer hired to work for a week in a home. Materials are always a factor -- furniture, flooring and artwork have a wide price range. The interior design company may charge an overall flat fee or an hourly fee. A cost-plus fee is a third way a designer can be compensated. Under this arrangement, a decorating company adds a percentage to all items purchased to compensate for the company's time. A retainer or deposit is often required upon the initial contractual agreement.


Hiring an interior decorating company allows you to work with a design professional with extensive knowledge in the design industry. From furnishings, materials and finishes, a design company will have in-depth information on industry specifics. Planning and coordination of a project from beginning to end are additional benefits of hiring a decorating company. The company will also have a close relationship with vendors and merchandisers whose products often are not available to the public.


An interior design company assists in several different areas. Initial services may include creating a budget, inventory of items to reuse as well as drawings and renderings of rooms. Preconstruction space planning, electrical wiring for lighting and other construction documentation can be preformed. The decorating company may also coordinate with vendors and contractors during the project by reviewing bids and pricing as well as completed work.

About the Author

Julie Hampton is a regular contributor to DexKnows.

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