Design Fees & Pricing

How much do you charge and how do your design fees work?  I feel these are the two most frequent questions in my initial consults with clients.  Therefore, I’d like to talk a little about how it all works.

back photo of natural wood sofa and TV console with desk

How Do the Interior Design Fees Work?

First thing to keep in mind, interior Design Fees are relative to each individual project in question.

Second, there is no standardized structure for how Interior Designers should charge their clients. 

For example, A designer may charge a percentage of the total budget of the project. This amount varies from 15% to 25% of the total budget.

Other designers, in contrast, may just charge a fixed fee for their services, regardless of the budget.

With interior design work, I find it easier to charge based on a fixed fee. This way, both the client and I will know how much the fees will be from the very beginning. Moreover, these fixed fees are not attached to a budget which will probably vary greatly through the design process.


Once you get in touch with me, we plan an initial consult to discuss your project.  After I have all the info needed to understand the scope of your project, I will create a customized proposal for the fee for the design.

Once the project has gotten to the point to source and install furniture there is a designer’s fee of 10% to 20% (depending on the size of the project), added on to each item.  These prices will still be way under market price as you will receive factory pricing for my custom made furniture.  Or if you would like me to go shopping with other vendors on your behalf I extend my discount as a designer to you.  This ensures you receive high-quality items for the lowest prices.

Architectural Design Fees

When it comes to Architecture work, things work a little differently. Architectural services are regulated by CFIA (Costa Rica’s Federated College of Engineers and Architects). These regulations dictate a minimum an architect must charge for his or her services. 

The minimum by law is 10.5% of the total budget of the project. This includes the Technical Direction of the project, meaning the architect must supervise the construction process. 

The total budget of the project will be determined by CFIA once the floor plans are submitted for permits. Based on this amount the architect can then adjust their fees. 

For example, if your project budget is $50k the minimum you will pay is $5,250 to your architect to design and oversee your project.

3d image of a rooftop terrace design
front desk design for luxury rental villas

The IVA tax

A Costa Rican IVA tax of 13%, on top of your design fees is mandatory to get a legal invoice for your project. Nowadays, all professionals must pay this tax to the government of Costa Rica.