If you’ve ever thought about hiring a designer to furnish a room in your house, I’m sure you’ve wondered what it means to fully-furnish a space and the cost of furnishing a home with an interior designer. These are the top questions we get from new and prospective clients, so today, I will explore the specifics of furnishing a room (or a whole home) and the investment you can expect to make. 

Together, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • What are furnishings, and what does it mean to fully furnish a space.
  • How furnishing a home with an interior designer is different than doing it yourself
  • Factors that impact a furnishings budget
  • The approximate investment you can expect to make in furnishings
  • Examples of itemized furnishings budgets

FURNISHINGS: What are they + what does it mean to fully furnish a space.

Let’s start by defining what items are considered furnishings! When you look at a finished room, anything not permanently attached is a furnishing. When designers say “furnish” a home, we refer to rugs, lighting, furniture, artwork, draperies, and yes, even the large and small accessories we use for styling! The fixed elements of your home (hardwood floors, gorgeous fireplace stone, built-ins, etc.) are not furnishings.

To fully furnish a space means to finish the room to completion – fully styled with every picture hung and every accessory in its place. 

Patina Living Co. Interior Design McLean, VA - Cost of Furnishing a Home with an Interior Designer


Working with an interior designer to furnish your home can be very different than DIY-ing it — homeowners often fail to realize the benefits of hiring a professional.

Here are the top 5 differences between hiring a designer and DIY’ing it…


One-of-a-Kind home Personalized to Your Style & Lifestyle

Working with a designer to furnish your home means you can have custom, one-of-a-kind pieces tailored to your style and lifestyle. As designers, it’s our job to make a space unique; to achieve that, we look to add an extra layer of detail and personalization. At PLCo. creating custom pieces is integral to our family-focused livable designs; customization allows us to select hardwearing materials and finishes that are fuss-free and durable but don’t compromise on sophistication and style. 


High-Quality Furnishings & Pre-Vetted Brands

Interior Designers have access to exclusive trade-only products. These higher-end furnishings, fabrics, lighting, and décor are only available to interior designers and people who work within the “trade” (hence the name). Our vendors have been vetted with our many years of experience, and we only specify products that meet our high-quality standards and provide our clients with the best value. As a result, we can get you higher quality pieces than you would find at places like the Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. Now, it’s true that you may have a slightly lower investment when ordering through these retail sources, but you won’t get the same quality compared to the brands we use. If you want to invest in furnishing your home with pieces that are made to last, working with a designer is a huge advantage!


Value Engineering

Interior Designers use their design expertise & experience to “value engineer” your project — this means that a designer looks at the overall scope of your project and then decides where to splurge vs. where to save while still achieving the same general aesthetic & design quality. This may sound easy, but trust us… it’s not.


Time Saved & Stress Averted

This aspect of our role as designers often gets overlooked, mainly because this all happens behind the scenes. It includes precise ordering, tracking shipments, coordinating and receiving deliveries, inspecting products, managing vendor issues, damages, or backorders, storing all the furnishings, and finally… installing them.

Now imagine doing all of this yourself with little to no experience! It’s a lot.

Most people cannot believe how much time and energy this part of the process takes. Other than the beautifully curated and functional design you will get, I truly believe that project management is where designers are worth their weight in gold. You save countless hours. You avoid stress. And you can rest assured that experienced professionals have your back.


Fully Finished & Cohesively Designed Home

When most people try to furnish their homes on their own, they usually purchase a piece here and there, building up the room gradually. At PLCo. our approach is holistic, working on a room as a whole, rather than piece-by-piece, resulting in a cohesive space that tells a complete story. Our design plans are created with the intention of implementing the design all at once, rather than over time. 


Patina Living Co. Interior Design McLean, VA - Cost of Furnishing a Home with an Interior Designer


Every project is different, and so is every budget — there’s no “one-size-fits-all” budget for designing a room. The cost of furnishing a home varies from project to project and depends on many different factors. Budgets rely on critical information such as;

  • The size of the room, the space plan, & how many pieces you’ll need
  • The quality & brands of the furniture
  • How many custom pieces are to be designed
  • The number of window treatments needed (if you have 10 tall windows in your living room, the investment will significantly increase)
  • Fabric options (such as performance or beautiful embroidery), trims & other additional design elements
  • Taxes, shipping & warehousing costs, installation & professional services

Don’t forget these —

There are also many elements of a room that are not obvious pieces… and can often be forgotten if you’re planning a budget on your own. Once you start factoring these in, they can add up fast! For example, you may have remembered to budget for larger items like sofas, beds, dining tables, and chairs, but did you remember to factor in items like light fixtures, mirrors, bedding, rugs & rug pads, and art?



Okay, the info you’ve been waiting for… the cost of furnishing a home with an interior designer! As we said earlier, every project (& therefore every budget) is different. So, to simplify things we’ve created two price levels for the furnishing items — mid-range and designer. Mid-range items are going to be moderately priced with price points similar to retail brands like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Arhaus, and more. This price level is great for clients looking for better quality but not looking to invest in heirloom quality furnishings. Designer-level items have a higher price point and are from high-end trade brands. These brands have a reputation for the highest quality, and often include semi-custom and custom design options.

Investment by Room

To help you better understand the costs associated with each of these price levels, we’ve created price charts for three different room design scenarios — a living room, a dining room, and a primary bedroom. These are the three most common spaces clients ask for help with, and they tend to be some of the most heavily furnished rooms (so they’ll give you a good idea of what an entire budget will look like).

Keep in mind that these are numbers from our projects — with our aesthetic, our focus on quality & durability, as well as our commitment to family-focused, life friendly design. Working with another designer may have variations in investment level.

The Living Room

Patina Living Co. Interior Design McLean, VA - Cost of Furnishing a Home with an Interior Designer The living room is one of the largest (and often one of the most heavily furnished) rooms in a home, making it one of the most expensive to design. A living room budget can vary greatly depending on the size of the space. When selecting furniture for the living room, we advise our clients to invest in the largest items and the ones that will get the most use — the sofa & rug. We’re often asked about eliminating items such as custom pillows and window treatments in order to bring down costs, but we do not recommend this as each items is thoughtfully selected to work with each other. Eliminating these items would mean removing the “layer” that really brings a design to life.





The Dining Room

Classic and timeless dining room designed by Patina Living Co.

The dining room is another space where the budget can vary based on a few factors. When budgeting for a dining room, it’s important to consider: the size of the space, the number of people you want to seat, and how you plan to entertain. When we design dining rooms, we advise our clients to invest most of their budget in the table & chairs. Our clients are often surprised that quality dining chairs cost a lot more than they expected, especially if we get into custom. Both the dining table and chairs are key pieces for a dining room, they set the tone for the design and will have the most use. Other pieces that can really make a dining space are the rug, art or wallpaper, and the chandelier — we encourage our clients to splurge a little on these items as they can really bring your design to the next level.

The Bedroom

Classic, neutral bedroom with floral pillows designed by Patina Living Co.

Your bedroom is your sanctuary, so it’s no place to skimp on spending. We suggest that our clients invest most of their budget on their bed. You spend a lot of time in bed, so we feel it’s vital that the bed frame & headboard are of high quality and made to last. The amount of furniture in a bedroom can vary. Some bedrooms only have a dresser and nightstand, in addition to the bed, while others will also have a bench at the end of the bed, lounge chairs, and more. The budget will need to increase to accommodate any of these additional furniture pieces.

So, what did you think? Did we help you understand the cost of furnishing a home with with an interior designer? Is the investment higher than you expected? Lower? More detailed and involved than you realized?

Again, these are ballpark budgets for what you can expect to invest for the typical furnishing project with us — more often than not we will select items from each price level to create a design that works for our clients budget. There are so many variables to consider – no budget and no project are exactly alike! Still not sure about your budget? Get our Interior Design Project Planner here.

If you’re looking to get to started on your project, CONTACT US HERE and let’s get to know each other!

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