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Get Quotes from Top Interior Designers in Denver, CO

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Interior Designer in Denver

With the COVID-19 pandemic and increased emphasis on remote work causing a historic shift in how much time people spend in their homes, millions of Americans, including residents of Denver, are more concerned than ever about their home's interior design. Today, making a mistake in space arrangement, choice of furniture, selection of colors for interior walls, or any other interior design element that can make your home very comfortable and convenient to live in can be very costly and annoying to deal with. Therefore, it is very important to hire an interior designer that is qualified, experienced, and fit to handle your home's interior design.

To ensure that the interior designer you wish to hire is qualified, experienced, and fit to handle your home's interior design, it is crucial to ask the following questions:

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

Per state law, anyone who wishes to use the title of interior designer in Denver must meet the Council for Interior Design Qualifications (CIDQ) education and experience requirements, sit for and pass the Council's qualification examination, and maintain an active certification with the council. To be eligible to take take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam, interested persons must have any of the following education and work experience combination:

  • A bachelor's degree in interior design from a CIDA-accredited program, plus two years of full-time work experience of at least 3,520 hours under a certified interior designer
  • A non-accredited bachelor's degree in interior design plus two years of full-time work experience of at least 3,520 hours under a certified interior designer
  • A bachelor's degree (minimum) in any other related course, 60 semester hours of interior design work, and two years of full-time work experience are required
  • An interior design associate degree including 60 semester hours and three years of full-time work experience of 5,280 hours under a certified interior designer
  • An interior design associate degree including 40 semester hours plus four years of full-time work experience of 7,040 hours under a certified interior designer

Only applicants who have any of the aforementioned categories of education and work experience will be allowed to take the examination. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam has three sections and they include:

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

Applicants must register, sit for, and pass these three sections before they can be issued an interior design certificate by the Council for Interior Design Qualification. Queries concerning the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam can be directed to 1-202-721-0220.

Before reaching any agreement with an interior designer in Denver, it is crucial to find out if the individual is certified by the Council for Interior Design Qualification. Similarly, you should also find out if the interior designer has active liability insurance coverage.

Without a Council for Interior Design Qualification certification and active liability insurance coverage, an interior designer will not be allowed to apply for and obtain a building permit for interior design specifications anywhere in the state. Homeowners can make sure that the interior designer they wish to hire is certified and has active liability insurance by asking them to provide proof of certification and insurance status. In addition, you should contact the CIDQ at 1-202-721-0220 to confirm whether the individual is certified. Likewise, you should contact the insurance company that issued the certificate provided by the interior designer to verify their insurance status.

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

The cost of retaining the services of an interior designer in Denver is typically determined by several factors which include, but are not limited to:

  • The size of the room or space that needs to be designed
  • The type of interior design style the client wants
  • The interior designer's reputation
  • The number of design professionals that will be working on the project
  • The client's location in the city

In addition to putting these factors into consideration while calculating the cost of their service, interior designers also need to consider the different billing structure that suits the scope of work to be done. A billing structure typically includes a payment plan and method a professional uses in billing a client. It is the responsibility of the interior designer to inform their client about the different billing structures available to them before any agreement is reached. Be wary of interior designers that refuse to discuss the billing structure they intend to use for the work. Interior designers in Denver use any of the following billing structures when billing for their services:

  • Hourly Fee Structure: this involves the interior designer charging the client per hour of work put in to complete their project. The hourly fee structure requires the interior designer to track the day-to-day tasks completed and the amount of time used to complete each of these tasks. Homeowners can ensure that they are paying for the value of time spent on a task by asking their interior designer to provide a daily work schedule and the amount of time that will be spent on completing each daily task.
  • Cost Per Square Foot: this involves charging the client for work done per square foot of the space or area to be worked on. This billing structure is commonly used for projects that involve large spaces such as a banking hall, hospital waiting rooms, and other commercial projects. Note that this billing structure can be used alongside other billing structures.
  • Flat Fee Structure: this involves the interior designer charging a fixed fee for the entire work to be done and also for any contingencies that may arise while executing the work. The client is usually required to pay a part of this fee in advance before the interior designer can begin work on the project. The advance payment ranges between 10% to 30% of the total service cost. This type of billing structure is not suitable for projects that do not have a well-defined scope since changes in the scope of the project may increase the fixed fee for the work.
  • Percentage Fee Structure: this involves the client paying a percentage of the total cost of the service, ranging between 10% to 25%. Although this billing structure does not require the client to pay an advance fee, homeowners should take the extra effort to determine whether the furniture, fixtures, and accessories that the interior designer is recommending are necessary for the project. By doing so, homeowners can ensure that the interior designer does not inflate the cost of the project and by extension the percentage fee they will charge.

Before reaching any agreement with an interior designer in Denver, it is crucial to get and compare quotes from different interior designers in the city. This will not only help you determine the best billing structure for the project, but it will also help you get a fair price for the interior service.

Interior designers in Denver earn an average wage of $68,740 annually. The list below provides the average hourly wages of these professionals compared with the average hourly wages of interior designers across the rest of Colorado as well as several other locations in the United States:

Denver Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
$33.05
Boulder Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
$35.63
Fort Collins Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
$30.73
Allentown Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
$28.34
El Paso Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
$21.19
New York City Interior Designers' Average Hourly Wage
$34.80
Chicago Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
$31.31
Phoenix Interior Designers Average Hourly Wage
$25.81

What Kind of Interior Design Services Do You Offer?

Interior designers in Denver provide a wide range of services to members of the public. These services include but are not limited to residential and commercial planning, interior restoration and architecture, space planning, and more personalized services such as color palette consultation, custom furniture design and production, and decorative lighting and hardware selection. Given that these services require a lot of skills, training, and experience, homeowners should always ensure that the interior designer they wish to hire specializes in providing the exact service they need. Furthermore, it is important to note that the interior design industry is very broad and it is only natural for interior designers to specialize in one or a few service areas. Interior design professionals in specialize in the following areas:

  • Residential interior design
  • Commercial interior design
  • Retail design
  • Lighting design
  • Space planning
  • Exhibit design
  • Set design

While interior decorators may also provide some of the aforementioned services, homeowners must understand that there are significant differences between an interior designer and an interior decorator. An interior designer is required to obtain a formal education relating to interior design, while an interior decorator is not mandated to obtain a formal education relating to the interior decorator trade. Also, interior designers collaborate with other professionals in structural modification of the area they are working on while interior decorators do not engage in any form of structural modification in a building. Finally, while interior designers engage in all areas of interior space preparation and completion, interior decorators focus mainly on aesthetics.

Once you have confirmed that the interior designer you wish to hire specializes in providing the service you need, the next step is finding out how much the service will cost. Cost estimates for interior design services in Denver based on different fee structures are provided below:

Residential interior design service cost estimates

Hourly rate fee structure
$91.35 - $103.67
Square footage fee structure
$4 -$8
Percentage fee structure
10% - 20% of construction cost
Percentage fee structure
10% - 15% of furnishings cost

Commercial interior design service cost estimates

Hourly rate fee structure
$100 - $120
Square footage fee structure
$10.21 - $12.38
Percentage fee structure
10% - 20% of furnishing cost

What is Your Favorite Interior Design Style?

Most Denver homes use the Modern interior design style. Nevertheless, individual households may decide to use any other interior design style of their choice. Popular interior design styles for homes in the city include:

  • Rustic
  • Eclectic
  • Contemporary
  • Scandinavian
  • Traditional
  • Bohemian
  • Glam
  • Modern Farmhouse
  • Art Deco

These different interior design styles are also popular among various age groups. For instance, traditional and rustic interior design styles are common in homes owned by generation X/baby boomers', while modern and minimalist interior design styles are more common among generation Y/millennials. Generation Z prefers eclectic and rustic interior design styles.

Before hiring an interior designer in Denver, it is important to have a clear idea of the type of interior design you want. This will help you communicate your expectations for the design to the interior designer you wish to hire. It is also important to make sure that the interior designer you wish to hire for the project is not just familiar with your preferred interior design but specializes in providing the expertise required to make the design a reality. Some interior designers have an in-depth understanding of various interior design styles, the type of structure they are compatible with, how they have evolved through time, and how they meet modern demands. Interior design professionals who can do this will be able to combine both the tone and essence of different design styles to give their clients a modern, smart, or minimalist design.

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

Most interior designers in Denver provide references from people they have worked for in the past. A typical reference list will contain design images, the names and contact information of their most recent clients, as well as dates of service. It is always important to request references from any interior designer you wish to hire. Even when you are given a reference list by an interior designer, it is your responsibility to contact the customers on the reference list to get a first-hand review of the interior designer's level of competence and professionalism.

In addition to contacting the individuals on the reference list provided by the interior designer, homeowners should also research the interior designer online via third-party websites such as Yelp, Google Review, and Better Business Bureau. This will help you find out if complaints had been made against the contractor in the past.

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

Before hiring an interior designer in Denver, it is your responsibility to confirm if the individual is an expert in providing the services you need and if they execute their jobs in the most professional manner. One of the easiest ways to determine an interior designer's level of expertise and professionalism is by asking the interior designer to provide references from people they have worked for in the past. Most interior designers in the city are always ready to provide a list of references containing design images they made, the names and contact information of their most recent clients for whom they completed the work, and dates of service. Once the interior designer provides this information, you should contact the clients they listed as references to get a first-hand review of the interior designer's level of expertise and professionalism.

In addition to contacting the clients they listed as references, it is also important you search the interior designer on third-party websites such as Yelp, Google Review, and Better Business Bureau. This will help you to see if any complaints have been made against the interior designer in the past, which is important because dishonest interior designers may provide fake pictures and the names of people they work with as references. By searching the interior designer on any of these third-party websites, you will not be limited to information provided as references.

To avoid hiring dishonest interior designers, you can search the online directory of reputable organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers and the International Interior Design Association or get referrals from family and friends. Nevertheless, regardless of how you come in contact with your preferred interior designer, do not forget to ask them to provide references and check third-party websites to see if any complaints have been made against the interior designer in the past.

How Do You Structure Your Interior Design Projects?

Finding out how the interior designer you wish to hire is going to organize and structure your project is crucial in determining whether they are a good fit for the job or not. Discussing the proposed organization and structure of your project with your interior designer will help you determine whether the interior designer's plan can be executed within the timeline you want. Also, it helps you determine whether the job will be satisfactorily completed before your proposed move-in dates or any other significant occurrence such as visits from friends and family or special holidays. Most interior designers in Denver structure their projects as follows:

  • Discovery: This involves learning what the client wants by asking questions and reviewing relevant design images. It also involves discussing the overall layout of the space that will be designed.
  • Inspiration: Here, the designer meets with the crew and discusses and reviews ideas to develop a concept that will serve as a template for the overall project
  • Design: This involves the interior designer showing the client the design plan for the project. Note that the client will be allowed to make changes to the plan where necessary.
  • Procurement: This involves ordering the furnishings, fixtures, and accessories needed to complete the project and ensuring that they are delivered on time. Here, the interior designer will also ensure that these furnishings, fixtures, and accessories are properly installed.
  • Reveal: this is the last stage of the interior design process, and it involves the interior designer showing the client the finished project.

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

While it is the responsibility of an interior designer to plan, organize, and execute an interior design job, the fact remains that interior designers do not often do the job alone. In most situations, interior designers will need to employ an architect, engineer, carpenter, or even floor contractor to execute aspects of the work. In Denver and other parts of Colorado, interior designers are prohibited from engaging in the practice of architecture, engineering, or any other occupation regulated by the state to prepare, sign, or seal plans for construction-related work.

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your interior designer does not engage in any practice that violates the above-mentioned law. Likewise, you should also make sure that the professional your interior designer wants to hire is licensed by the state. This will give you the much-needed protection against any liability that may result from unlicensed contracting.

Furthermore, homeowners should always ensure that the professionals they are hiring as well as any professional working for their interior designer have the appropriate insurance policy for the work they are engaged in.

In Denver and other parts of Colorado, interior designers must have an active liability insurance policy before they can apply for and obtain a building permit for most interior design work. Besides being able to apply for a building permit for the project they want to execute, having active liability insurance will also protect their clients from work injuries and property damage that occurs during the project. This is critical because construction and home improvement workers, including interior designers in the country, are exposed to a variety of on-the-job hazards that can result in workplace injuries or even death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 57,780 cases of work-related injuries among contractors in the United States alone in 2020.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Interior Designer in the City

Complaints involving bad interior designers in Denver can be filed with the Colorado Attorney General's Office as well as local consumer protection agencies like Denver District Attorney's Office.

Residents of Denver and other parts of Colorado are often targeted by unscrupulous individuals posing as legitimate home improvement workers looking for who to scam. According to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, nearly all home improvement-related scam complaints involved door-to-door solicitors targeting unsuspecting citizens. After hiring such persons, homeowners end up losing communication with their contractors or find problems with the repair work and cannot get a hold of the business to address the issue.

Before choosing an interior designer in Denver, homeowners must understand that there are several bad interior designers in the city looking for unsuspecting citizens to scam. It is important to be on the lookout for the following warning signs before signing an agreement with any interior designer in the city:

  • They offer deals that appear too good to be true or that require you to make a quick decision.
  • Reluctance to provide proof of registration and client references
  • Insistence on advance payment, usually in cash
  • They offer unsolicited interior design service
  • They refuse to get a written contract for the job
  • They refuse to provide a verifiable business address

You can also ensure that you do not fall for bad interior designers by taking the following precautionary measures:

  • Get a referral list from family, friends, and close associates
  • Get and compare quotes from at least three different interior designers in the city before making a decision
  • Check if the interior design company is registered to do business in the state by visiting the Colorado Secretary of State's website.
  • Ask the interior designer to provide proof of certification with the Council for Interior Design Qualifications and call 1-202-721-0220 for more.
  • Request references and contact recent customers to ensure that the interior designer is competent enough to handle the project
  • Check third-party websites like Better Business Bureau to see if a complaint has been made against the interior designer in the past.
  • Always ensure that the interior designer you wish to hire is insured. Ask for proof of insurance and contact the company that issued the insurance certificate to verify the information provided by the interior designer.
  • Do not make full payment for the project until the job is completed.

You can report a bad interior designer to the Denver District Attorney's Office by calling (720) 913-9179. Also, you can report interior design and other home improvement scams by filing a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General's Office. Interested persons can file a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General's Office by completing an online complaint form.

Furthermore, if the complaint is purely a civil matter, you can sue the interior designer for damages by filing a lawsuit with the Denver County 2nd Judicial District Court. Before filing a lawsuit against a professional in Denver, it is crucial first to seek the advice of a lawyer. This will make sure that you understand all the legal options available to deal with the matter as well as their implications. Interested persons can look up licensed lawyers in their area using the Colorado Bar Association's find a lawyer directory.