How Much Does it Cost to Furnish Your Home?
Full Cost Breakdown Room By Room
How much does it cost to furnish a home or room is by far the most common question I get asked by potential clients and even blog followers. It’s a valid question; you want to know how much you need to save to what you will plan on spending when working with a designer.
You’ll need to know that you can afford to work with a designer before hiring them. With that said, I’m going to discuss in detail the approximate cost for furnishing your home from scratch. But don’t let this scare you off.
If you are thinking about working with a designer, but the numbers are not in reach, there are ways to reduce the cost and still have quality. I fully admit that working with a designer isn’t for everyone or for everyone’s budget, but if you are close to these budget numbers, adjustments can be make by buying consignment or vintage pieces to save in cost.
What we will cover in this post:
- How are design fees charged?
- What additional fees are there?
- Why you purchase furniture through a designer
- Approximate investment cost
- Example itemized budget
HOW DESIGN FEES ARE CHARGED
As another note, these cost to furnish your home amounts won’t include design fees. Typically, the design fee will be a flat fee charged up front or an hourly billable rate which will require an estimated retainer.
A flat fee rate will cover all of the services from start to finish. An hourly rate will start with a retainer to cover a portion of services while time is tracked and the rest will be billed to the client monthly as hours accrue.
In addition to design fees, you will pay for furniture, art and accessories which is either bought at retail price, or sourced by the designer at wholesale and then resold to you at cost (which is typically close to retail or less), plus shipping, tax and delivery/freight.
Often times there is a markup from wholesale to the cost you will pay the designer for the furniture. I always disclose that there is a cost built in; this cost covers the resale tax I pay and the amount it costs me to have trade accounts and source these items.
Though the cost is passed on to the client, the pieces are generally competitive with retail pricing, but at a higher quality. Lastly, the reason for charging a markup is simple: it is a business and it covers the overhead cost of running a business. It provides you, the client, quality furniture and compensates the designer for their time. Creating a markup from wholesale allows the designer to bill at an affordable rate because some of the cost is absorbed in the furnishings.
Realistically, you don’t negotiate with Pottery Barn or Target over their pricing on furniture and the same model applies to the designer. We respect our clients time and money as well as our own. This allows us to provide high level service while doing what we love, designing.
TAX, SHIPPING, FREIGHT, DELIVERY
I mentioned this in the paragraphs above, but it is worth noting again that there are fees associated with the cost of the furniture itself like sales tax and delivery. These are normally added to your purchase price when buying from a big box retailer.
However, you may be surprised that their is a charge from the vendor for delivery, receiving and storing the items until installation and shipping costs associated with moving the furniture from one state to your home.
Lastly, there is often a cost associated with having movers bring everything in on installation day(s). But all of these costs will be figured into your budget prior to signing on the dotted line.
While you may not have been aware these costs existed, they can be worked into your budget, but you should expect to reduce your actual furniture by 15% to cover these additional fees when you come to a firm number for your budget.
WHY PURCHASE FURNITURE THROUGH A DESIGNER?
You may be wondering why you should purchase through a designer. Why not buy it all from Pottery Barn on your own? This is certainly an option, and it’s a great choice for DIY E-design!
However, if you want that HGTV, all inclusive full service design feeling, you should expect to have all of your furnishings and accessories picked and purchased through the designer. Here’s why you should by though a designer:
ONE OF A KIND STYLE
Designers have access to one of a kind vendors. If you are looking for that signature style the designer likely uses sources that are not available to the general public. Which is a good thing, because you want a space that’s yours, not your entire neighborhoods. So stick with the design plan and let the designer work their one of a kind magic in your space!
Another added benefit to using a designer for furnishings is the increased quality at the same price point. I have access to vendors that create amazing, solid furniture and fixtures at price points comparable to Pottery Barn, but far better made. I’m not dissing PB, I love some of their things, but we’re striving for longevity with the larger purchases.
If you want that full service experience you can expect the designer to plan, order, track, handle shipping and receiving, hold the items and inspect them for quality. They will return any damaged items and reorder. They will coordinate delivery and moving on installation day (reveal day!).
Ordering all of your furnishings and fixtures through a designer puts these tasks on the designer so that you an enjoy the design plan, imagine what your home will soon look like, and skip the stress of ordering and tracking while you wait for that perfect big reveal moment.
PERFECTLY PLANNED & DESIGNED
Last, but certainly not least is that we want a solid design plan. The designer has taken time and experience to draw up the perfect plan for your home and your family. We want to stick to the pieces chosen for your space and style.
When we begin to deviate from those items, the design plan gets off track. Too many one off purchases and the space won’t look cohesive- each piece of the puzzle affects the others.
And don’t worry, if an item or two is delayed or backordered, the designer has a backup item that is just as perfect to swap out, with your approval, as part of the timely, streamlined design process.
Approximate investment cost for furnishing a home in 2020
Now that we have discussed the details of the fee structure and the benefits to hiring a designer and sticking to the design plan we can talk about furnishing budgets.
What does a furnishing budget include?
- lighting (ceiling and lamps)
- styling accessories
What doesn’t this budget include?
- moldings/trim work
- built ins, cabinetry
- contractor costs for renovations
- stone work
While the furnishings portion of an interior design budget doesn’t include painting and contractor bids, these items won’t be sprung on you. If your design plan and budget calls for these additions, it will be worked into the plan BEFORE coming to a final cost.
But it’s worth noting that a furniture budgets is different than a renovation budget in and of itself. A contractor would be brought in to discuss costs prior to signing an agreement and moving forward on work.
Much like home purchase and building costs are laid out by cost per square foot, the same can generally be applied to furnishing a room. The approximate cost per square foot to furnish a mid level custom room is $100- $150/sq ft of the desired room.
As with anything, this cost can vary by designer, style and luxury level, but a ballpark for our projects will be in this range.
SAMPLE FURNITURE COST BUDGETS 2020
Are you ready to dive into the sample budgets for different rooms of your house? Let’s break down the cost to furnish your home.
LIVING ROOM FURNITURE BUDGET
A typical living room or family room is 300 square feet (ex. mine is exactly 294 sq.ft), so based on the price per sqft you can expect to pay $30,000 – $45,000 in furnishings for your living room.
- 2 Sofas/Sectional: $8,500
- 2 Swivel chairs: $3,000
- Custom pillows: $1,500
- Coffee table: $2,000
- 2 Side tables: $1,500
- Lamps: $1,500
- Chandelier: $1,750
- Area Rug + rug pad: $3,500
- Artwork: $1,500
- Draperies + hardware: $2,000
- 2 X-Benches: $1,000
- Styling Accessories: $ 3,500
Total Furnishings: $31,250
Reminder: this does not include design fees or tax, shipping, freight, delivery etc. This figure is for the furnishings only.
DINING ROOM BUDGET
Let’s use my 200 sqft dining room as the example for this budget at $100- $150 per foot. For this example I will include estimated sales tax, installation, and shipping.
- Dining Table: $5,000
- 8 Side Chairs: $2,500
- 2 Head Chairs: $2,500
- Buffet: $1,500
- Rug + pad: $5,000
- Lamps: $1,500
- Chandelier/Sconces: $2,000
- Artwork: $1,800
- Accessories: $2,500
- Draperies: $4,000
- Wallpaper: $3,500
- Sales Tax: $2,500
- Shipping: $3,500
- Warehousing: $1,200
- Wallpaper Installation: $2,400
Total Furnishing + Install Cost: $41,400
PRIMARY BEDROOM FURNITURE BUDGET
Lastly, here is a sample primary bedroom furniture budget breakdown.
- Custom bed: $5,000
- Bedding & Pillows: $2,500
- 2 Nightstands: $2,800
- Dresser: $3,500
- Lamps: $1,500
- Chandelier: $1,800
- Wallpaper: $3,000
- Draperiers + hardware: $3,500
- Rug + pad: $5,000
- Lounge chair: $2,500
- Custom Bench: $1,700
- Artwork: $1,800
- Full Size Mirror: $1,500
- Accessories: $3,500
Total Bedroom Furnishing Cost: $39,600
COST TO FURNISH YOUR HOME SUMMARY
In summary, you can expect to budget $30,000- $45,000 to furnish rooms in your home with a designer. When you look over the sample budgets in detail, you may think the furniture costs are high, but often this takes into account quality.
Similarly, if you are looking to save money on furnishings and you aren’t a perfectionist, shopping second hand is a great way to add cost savings. However, if you can’t handle scratch here and a ding there, you probably won’t be satisfied with consignment furnishings. Plan to budget the full amount in total for furnishings.
While these are examples, the costs are based in reality for custom built pieces. Additional cost savings can be made by adjusting the plan for in stock fabrics and draperies.
Feeling inspired by these rooms? In addition to being a source for advice and details on home design, we are ready to assist with all of your interior design and interior decorating needs. Our services range from DIY E-Design to Full Service Interior Design & Room by Room Selections. Each space will include layout and design options that fit your style and budget.
See our services and get started today!