How much does it cost to start an interior decorating business? Today, we’ll answer this very question! Starting your own business can be an extremely lucrative and fulfilling endeavor… But it doesn’t come cheap.
In order to start an interior decorating business, you’ll need to invest in a variety of equipment. Moreover, you’ll need supplies, software, office space, marketing materials, and more!
The good news is that we’ve done the research for you! In this article, you’ll find an exhaustive list of all the estimated expenses associated with starting an interior decorating business from scratch.
By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll know exactly how much money you need to save up and invest in your new venture!
Is Interior Decorating Profitable?
Yes! Interior decorating can be an extremely profitable business. In fact, the home design industry is currently worth an estimated $12.9 billion dollars! What’s more – this industry has steadily grown at an annual rate of 8% over the past 3 years. This means that there’s never been a better time to start your own interior decorating business!
Of course, as with any business, your success will ultimately depend on a variety of factors – including your experience level, marketing efforts, and niche market. That being said, if you’re passionate about interior decorating and willing to put in the work, there’s no reason you can’t achieve success in this field!
Is It Hard To Start an Interior Decorating Business?
While starting any business can be challenging, interior decorating is a relatively easy industry to break into. In terms of experience, you certainly don’t need a degree in design to start your own company. However, it is important to have some knowledge of the basics – including color theory, furniture selection, and layout principles.
If you don’t have any experience in interior decorating, we recommend taking a reputable certification course before starting your business. This will help ensure that you have the necessary skills to succeed in this competitive industry!
Interior Decorating Startup Costs: What Do I Need To Start My Business?
In order to start any business, there are a few key things you’ll need in place first. These include:
- Your registered business name
- A solid understanding of your business brand
- Your business plan
- A business bank account
- Business insurance
- The necessary licenses and permits
In addition to the above, you’ll also need to invest in a few key supplies and pieces of equipment. These are essential for running your interior decorating business smoothly and efficiently! Here’s a general list of what you’ll need:
Stay tuned, because we’ll discuss your business plan – as well as the necessary licenses and permits – later!
- A computer with design software
- Furniture samples (fabrics, finishes, woods, etc.)
- Flooring samples (carpets, tiles, hardwoods, laminates, etc.)
- Paint samples (from various manufacturers)
- Wallpaper samples (from various manufacturers)
- Window treatment samples (blinds, drapery, shutters, etc.)
- Catalogs from furniture and home decor retailers
- Business cards
- A profile design portfolio
- A website, social media accounts, and (if interested) a blog
- Marketing materials (e.g. flyers, postcards, brochures)
Interior Decorating Business Expenses
As we mentioned earlier, starting your own interior decorating business can be quite costly. To begin, let’s take a look at the 2 main types of expenses you’ll encounter as a business owner: (1) one-time startup expenses, and (2) recurring monthly expenses.
One-Time Startup Expenses
These are expenses that you will incur when first starting your business. They include the cost of registering your business, setting up your website, and purchasing design software. Typically, you can be looking to invest the following amounts into your one-time expenses:
- Business registration: $50-$500
- Website setup: $500-$2000
- Design software: $120-$600/month OR $1000-$6000/year (one-time purchase)
Recurring Monthly Expenses
On the other hand, recurring expenses are ongoing costs that you’ll need to budget for on a monthly basis. They include the cost of marketing, advertising, and business insurance. For example, you should aim to budget the following for your recurring monthly expenses:
- Marketing/advertising: $100-$3000/month
- Business insurance: $50-$200/month
The 8 Categories for Your Estimated Business Expenses
Let’s delve into deeper… To get an even better understanding of how much it costs to start your interior decorating business, we’ve broken down all the estimated expenses into 8 categories:
- Business formation expenses
- Equipment + supply expenses
- Software expenses
- Office space expenses
- Website costs
- Advertising + marketing costs
- Employee expenses
- Freelancer expenses
Now let’s break down each category!
1. Business Formation Expenses
When starting your interior decorating business, the first thing you’ll need to do is choose the legal structure of your business. Will you operate as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation?
The type of business entity you choose will affect how much money you’ll need to spend on formation expenses. This is because there are fees associated with registering your business. Moreover, they can vary depending on the type of business you have, as well as your location.
For example, if you’re starting a sole proprietorship in the United States, you can expect to pay around $50-$500 to register your business. Whereas, if you’re starting an LLC (Limited Liability Company), you can expect to pay anywhere from $100-$800.
To get a better idea of how to go about registering your specific business type in your state, we recommend checking out this handy article by UpCounsel. Here are some additional resources, should you reside elsewhere:
Assuming that you’re starting a small interior decorating business by yourself, we’ll estimate that it will cost you roughly $200 to register your business.
Total Estimate for Business Formation Expenses
- Business registration fee: $200
- Total: $200
Keep in mind that these are only estimates! The actual cost of registering your business will vary depending on the type of business you have, as well as your location.
2. Equipment + Supply Expenses
Next, let’s take a look at the equipment and supplies you’ll need to purchase for your new interior decorating business.
To start, you’ll need to stock up on some essential supplies, such as paintbrushes, painter’s tape, drop cloths, etc. For a complete list of painting supplies, we recommend checking out this article by The Spruce.
In terms of equipment, you’ll need to purchase (or rent) a ladder – unless you plan on only working on small projects. You may also want to invest in an airless paint sprayer to save time when painting larger surfaces. Furthermore, you’re also going to want to equip yourself with furniture samples, flooring samples, window treatment samples, and wallpaper samples.
The costs for these will depend on where you source them from. For instance, you can find decent quality samples at your local home improvement store for a relatively low cost. However, if you want higher-end samples, you’ll need to purchase them from a specialty retailer – which can get pricey.
Last But Not Least…
Finally, another important piece of equipment includes a laptop or computer for design work and managing your business finances. You may also want to purchase a printer and scanner for printing contracts, invoices, and other documents.
Assuming that you already have some of the basic equipment (e.g. laptop, printer, etc.), we’ll estimate that it will cost you around $500 to purchase the necessary supplies and equipment for your interior decorating business.
Total Estimate for Equipment + Supply Expenses
- Painting supplies: $100
- Ladder: $100
- Airless paint sprayer: $300
- Furniture samples: $500
- Flooring samples: $200
- Window treatment samples: $200
- Wallpaper samples: $200
- Total: $2000
Moreover, the cost of painting supplies will also vary depending on the quality of products you use. If you want to use high-end supplies, you can expect to pay more money.
Again, these are only estimates! The actual cost of supplies and equipment will vary depending on the type and size of projects you take on. For example, if you plan on working on large commercial projects, you’ll need to purchase more expensive equipment, such as scaffolding.
3. Software Expenses
To help you run your interior decorating business smoothly, it’s strongly recommended that you invest in various software programs. These can include everything from accounting and invoicing software to project management software.
Not only will these programs make your life easier; they’ll also help you save time and money in the long run. For instance, by using accounting software, you can keep track of your finances with ease – instead of hiring an accountant to do it for you.
When choosing which software programs to invest in, be sure to pick ones that fit your specific business needs. There’s no need to break the bank by purchasing every single program on the market! Typically, software programs can range anywhere from $0-$100 per month, depending on the features and functionality you need.
Email Marketing Software:
Interior Decorating & Design Software:
- Placez – diagramming software where you can create 2D and 3D floor plans (from $49/month to custom pricing)
- PlanningWiz Floor Planner – easy-to-use 2D and 3D digital floor planning software (from $10.90/month to $15.90/month)
- 3Dream.net – interactive, online 3D room designer (from $0.00 to $39.99/month)
- SampleBoard – online inspiration/mood board creator (from $12.00/month to $79.00/month)
- ViewIT Technologies – software solutions for implementing design concepts (pricing can be found on their online store)
Total Estimate for Software Expenses
- Business software: $25.00/month
- Accounting software: $35.00/month
- Email marketing software: $13.00/month
- Interior decorating & design software: $49.00/month (average)
- Total: $122.00/month
4. Office Space Expenses
Starting an Interior Decorating Business in a Commercial Space
If you plan on running your interior decorating business out of a commercial space, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. First and foremost, you’ll need to factor in the cost of rent. Depending on the size and location of your office space, rent can range anywhere from $500-$5000 per month.
In addition to rent, you’ll also need to account for utilities (e.g. electricity, water, etc.), as well as the cost of furnishing your office space. For example, if you plan on meeting with clients in your office, you’ll need to purchase chairs, a table, and possibly some artwork or plants to spruce up the place!
Lastly, don’t forget about internet and phone expenses. If you want to be accessible to your clients, you’ll need to have a reliable business phone line and high-speed internet connection.
Starting an Interior Decorating Business from Home
On the other hand, what if you plan on running your interior decorating business from home? If so, then you won’t have to worry about the cost of rent or utilities. However, you will need to set aside a designated space in your home where you can work uninterrupted.
This could be anything from a spare room to a corner in your living room!
In addition, although it’s not required, we recommend investing in some basic office furniture for your home office. This can include items like a desk, chair, and filing cabinet. Trust us – having proper office furniture will make a world of difference in your productivity and overall work experience!
Total Estimate for Office Space Expenses
- Commercial space: $500.00-$5000.00/month
- Home office: $0.00-$1000.00 (one-time cost for furniture)
- Utilities: $50.00-$250.00/month
- Internet & phone: $50.00-$100.00/month
- Total (commercial space): $600.00-$5250.00/month
- Total (home office): $50.00-$1100.00/month
5. Website Costs
These days, having a professional website is absolutely ESSENTIAL for any business – and that includes interior decorating businesses! Not only will a website help you attract new clients, but it’ll also give you a platform to showcase your work and build credibility in the industry.
So, how much does it cost to create a website? Well, that depends on a few factors! For example, are you going to create the website yourself or hire someone to do it for you? Do you need hosting and/or domain services? How many pages do you need? etc.
Total Estimate for Website Costs
- Website design & development: $500.00-$2000.00
- Website hosting & domain services: $100.00-$300.00/year
- Total: $600.00-$2300.00
6. Advertising + Marketing Costs
One of the KEY ingredients to success is advertising and marketing! After all, how else are you supposed to let people know about your interior decorating business and attract new clients?
There are a multitude of different ways that you can market your interior decorating business. That said, some methods will obviously be more effective (and more expensive) than others. For instance, TV commercials, print ads, and social media ads (such as on YouTube or TikTok) can be a bit costly. However, they also reach a wide audience and can generate a lot of buzz for your business.
On the other hand, targeted online ads and social media campaigns tend to be much less expensive. But, of course, with a smaller budget comes a smaller audience reach. So, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.
Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide which marketing channels makes the most sense for your specific interior decorating business. As a general rule of thumb, though, you should expect to spend at least $100-$1,000 per month on advertising and marketing expenses.
Total Estimate for Advertising + Marketing Costs
- Total: $100.00-$1,000.00/month
7. Employee Expenses
If you plan on hiring employees to help you with your interior decorating business, then you’ll need to factor in the cost of their salaries and benefits. Of course, the amount you’ll need to budget for will depend on how many employees you plan on hiring and what their job roles will be.
Assuming that you’re just starting out and won’t need a lot of help, we recommend budgeting for one part-time administrative assistant at $15/hour for 20 hours per week. This comes out to a total of $600 per month.
Now, if you were to add full-time employees (e.g. designers, project managers, etc.) to your team, we’d recommend budgeting for $2000-$4000 per month.
Total Estimate for Employee Expenses
- One part-time administrative assistant: $600.00/month
- Additional full-time employees: $2000.00-$4000.00/month
- Total: $600.00-$6000.00/month
8. Freelancer Expenses
In addition to (or instead of) hiring employees, you may also need to hire freelancers to help with specific tasks and projects. For instance, you may need to hire a freelance graphic designer to help with your website or a freelance writer to help with your blog.
The cost of hiring freelancers will obviously vary depending on the specific skillset and experience that you’re looking for. That said, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20-$100+ per hour for most freelancers.
Total Estimate for Freelancer Expenses
- Average rate per freelancer: $20.00-$100.00+/hour
- Total: $20.00-$4000.00/month (or more)
So, How Much Does It Cost To Start an Interior Decorating Business?
Now that we’ve gone through all of the different expenses you need to consider when starting an interior decorating business, let’s do a quick recap of everything!
- Business formation expenses: $200.00
- Equipment + supplies: $2000.00
- Software expenses: $122.00/month
- Office space expenses: $50.00-$5250.00/month
- Website costs: $600.00-$2300.00
- Advertising + marketing costs: $100-$1,000/month
- Employee expenses: $600.00-$6000.00/month
- Freelancer expenses: $20.00-$4000.00/month
- TOTAL ESTIMATED BUDGET PER MONTH: $122.00-$5,250.00/month
- TOTAL STARTUP COSTS TO SAVE UP AND BUDGET FOR: $5,422.00-$17,172.00
As you can see, there are A LOT of different factors that go into starting an interior decorating business! And, as you might’ve guessed, the cost of starting an interior decorating business can vary quite a bit.
Ultimately, the amount of money you’ll need to start your business will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and scope of your business, where you’re located, and whether you plan on hiring employees or freelancers.
Keep all of these factors in mind as you create your business plan and budget for your new business. And speaking of your business plan, let’s take a quick look at that next!
Starting a Design Business: Your Business Plan
Now that we’ve gone over the cost of starting an interior decorating business, it’s time to start thinking about your business plan.
A business plan is essentially a roadmap for your business that outlines your goals, strategies, and how you plan on achieving them. Plus, if you’re looking to receiving funding from your bank or an investor, then you’ll need to have a business plan in place.
It’s important to have a well-thought-out business plan before starting any type of business, as it will help you stay organized and on track as you grow your company!
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! Here’s a breakdown of all the pertinent information your business plan should cover:
A brief overview of your business, including your company’s mission statement, products/services offered, target market, and how you plan on making money.
A more in-depth look at your company, including its history (if applicable), structure, and any other relevant information.
A detailed explanation of the products or services you offer, including pricing information.
An examination of your target market, including demographic information (age, gender, income level, etc.), needs/wants, and where they can be found.
Sales & Marketing Strategy:
Your plan for selling your products or services to your target market.
A look at your direct and indirect competitors, and how you plan to differentiate your business from them.
Management & Operations:
An overview of your company’s management team and any relevant operational information.
Estimates for your company’s income and expenses over a set period of time.
This is all just a basic outline of what should be included in your business plan. For more detailed instructions on how to write a business plan, check out this helpful article from the Small Business Administration. There’s also this article by Bplans that provides a list of 500+ free business plan templates!
Necessary Licenses and Permits for Your Interior Decorating Business
Before you can start your interior decorating business, you’ll need to obtain any necessary licenses and permits from your city or state.
You can usually apply for these licenses and permits online or in person at your local government office. Once you’ve obtained all the necessary licenses and permits, you’re ready to start decorating!
Funding Your Interior Decorating Business
If you’re looking to start an interior decorating business, then you’ll need to start thinking about how you’re going to fund it.
There are a few different options available to small business owners when it comes to funding, including loans, credit cards, and personal savings. Let’s take a look at each of these options in more detail:
One option for funding your interior decorating business is to take out a loan. There are a variety of different loans available to small business owners, including SBA-backed loans and private loans.
If you’re looking to take out a loan, then be sure to shop around and compare interest rates before making your decision. You can also check out this list of the best small business loans from Investopedia!
Another option for funding your business is to use a credit card. This can be a great option if you have good credit and can qualify for a low interest rate.
However, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with using credit cards to fund your business, as you could end up with a lot of debt if you’re not careful.
Another option for funding your business is to work with a private lender. Private lenders are usually individuals or businesses that are willing to lend money to small businesses in exchange for an equity stake in the company.
This can be a great option if you’re unable to qualify for a loan from a traditional lender, but it’s important to be aware of the risks involved.
If you don’t want to take on any debt, then you could always fund your interior decorating business with your own personal savings. This is often the safest option, as you won’t have to worry about making loan payments or accruing interest.
However, it’s important to make sure that you have enough saved up to cover ALL of your start-up costs, as well as any unexpected expenses that might come up.
Useful Resources You Should Definitely Bookmark
Before we wrap things up, we wanted to share a few helpful resources that you should definitely bookmark if you’re looking to start an interior decorating business!
- How To Become an Interior Decorator: The Ultimate Guide
- 9 Business Ideas for Interior Decorators
- How To Charge As An Interior Decorator
- The Best Tools for Interior Decorators
- 17 Ways To Get Clients As An Interior Decorator
- The Difference Between an Interior Decorator and Designer
- Why Business Knowledge is Integral to Your Interior Decorator Certification
- How To Build a Loyal Client Base for Your Interior Decorating Business
- How to Network With Your Interior Decorating Certification
Starting an interior decorating business can be a great way to turn your passion for design into a successful career. However, it’s important to be aware of the costs and expenses associated with starting a business before you make the decision to jump in.
At the end of the day, though, if you’re passionate about event planning and are willing to put in the hard work, then we believe the investment is DEFINITELY worth it!
We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of how much it costs to start an interior decorating business. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below! And if you found this article helpful, be sure to share it with your friends!
Thanks for reading! 🙂