I would love to hire an interior designer, but…


I can’t afford to hire an interior designer. Really? Who told you that? Working with an interior designer should SAVE YOU MONEY! That’s right; it should cost you LESS, if you work with an interior designer! Of course, this is for people who are not purchasing their furniture through thrift shops, tag sales, flea markets and Craig’s List. ;]. I am talking about people who are planning on furnishing their homes primarily by going to a local furniture store or even on an online source. I am not talking about the upper 1% that are purchasing through insanely expensive, truly elite “to-the-trade-only” sources; I am talking about regular ma and pa furniture stores, say like a Bloomingdale’s or B Altman. Oh wait. They went out of business! And here is one reason why:


Sorry to shout!

hire an interior designer

I got them at a 50 off sale at Barney’s…

I just found this thread on a local forum. A woman had met a local interior designer who she really liked but was concerned about the designer’s “commission.”  Folks. I hate to break it to you, but for most of us, we actually do make a profit on the items that you are purchasing. It would appear, however, that many people do not think that we do, or if we do, it shouldn’t be very much. Do you know how much the average furniture store is making as a commission? Do you? Furniture stores in Westchester County have an overhead that would make you vomit. (I know… because I nearly fell off the 40% off of retail sofa when a manager of a very exclusive regional chain divulged this information to me some time ago.) How do ya think they cover that hefty overhead? hmmmm??? They do it through your generous donations that you make when you go in and buy your stuff from them. That’s how.

Anyway. I’ll get down from my soapbox and calm down and let you read the thread for yourselves. You will find two pretty lengthy responses from moi. Please read the other comments too.

Here it is.

The prevailing thinking among many is that it is cheaper to get the design from the professional designer and then say, “thank you very much,” and hi-tail it over to your nearest retailer so that you can “do it yourself.” Hehe, you don’t need her and have to pay those icky commissions! 35% Is she kidding me? How do you feel about paying someone a 150% commission?  If that’s your preference, then please, take your business to a place with a 20,000+ sq. ft showroom (plus warehouse!) and everything it takes to keep it running.

I had two babies. I gave birth to them both. Live birth. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing it all on my own. Sure, it would’ve saved a lot of money.

Not only is doing it yourself extremely risky, you will not save money!

Now that I’ve riled you up… please see my new video on youtube! It’s really pretty and soothing!



7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Susan - April 19, 2015 - 7:27 PM

    I agree with you. My problem with this subject is this:

    Last year I hired my first ever designer, at least she marketed herself as Interior Designer. Many promises were made, few were delivered. She bailed just after the actual renovation started. She sent me an email asking for the balance of her fee (half paid upfront, remainder to be paid when “renovation complete” – her words at our first meeting) and said if “there was anything else I needed to let her know”.

    I let her know that yes according to our signed contract there was more to be done. We went back and forth, I paid half of the remaining half – $1100 in total, asked for the contact information of the contractors she had recommended and received none of it. I had to scramble to get it done on my own. My bathrooms turned out great and I learned a lot under fire but it was very stressful! Let’s face it renovation/remodeling is stressful enough on its own.

    Suffice it to say, she was no more an Interior Designer than I am. No training, no educational background. I will never hire another without asking for his/her training and educational background as well as references. My experience with her will not deter me from hiring a REAL interior designer in the future but I’ll be smarter about it – for sure.

    Thanks for letting me vent – I love your blog!


    • Laurel Bern - April 19, 2015 - 10:45 PM

      oh wow Susan! How awful for you! I cannot understand how anyone can behave like that. I doubt she’ll stay in “business” for very long. Glad that you were able to get the job done.

      Learning a lot under fire sounds a lot like interior design school. haha!ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - December 9, 2014 - 9:14 AM

    Really enlightening! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel