Designing Spaces That Reflect You
Interior Design Contracts

Everything You Need to Know about Interior Design Contracts

Aside from knowing how to find the right interior designer, it is also important that you know the content and clauses involved in interior design contracts. 

In this guide, we’ll look at the standard clauses included in a design project contract. This way, you can have a much better understanding of how interior design contract agreement works and what to expect when working with an interior designer

Everything You Need to Know about Interior Design Contracts

Standard Clauses in Interior Design Contracts

#1: Detailed Specifications

In the contract, the designer must lay out detailed specifications of all the tasks involved in the project. The designer must also develop 3D representations of applicable works. 

Moreover, specifications include furnishing specifics in terms of color schemes, furniture, proposed lighting, fabric choices, and other furnishings. 

All interior design works must be stated in detail in this section of the contract. 

#2. Scope of Work

The scope of work specifies all of the interior design works the designer will deliver to the client in complete detail. This clause is the longest section in interior design contracts as designers tend to be as thorough as possible when drafting this clause. 

Furthermore, the scope of work specifies what works the designer are not liable for such as construction, renovation, and plumbing, among others.

These tasks are the responsibility of builders or other third-party contractors. 

#3. Third-Party Contractors

Third-Party Contractors

The contract must also indicate the third-party contractors who will work alongside the designer for the project. Whether you like it or not, your interior designer will have to hire contractors as they have the necessary skills and access to cutting-edge tools for their line of work. 

The designer may hire builders, plumbers, electricians, and other contractors or consultants whenever needed. 

#4. Professional Fees

The designer must clearly state their professional design fee in the contract as well as the payment terms. In this section, the designer indicates the fee structure and the method of making charges.

As the client, you will need to pay in terms whenever an invoice is given. 

Interior designers also often impose a non-refundable deposit fee upon contract signing. This deposit is then credited to the total remaining payable of the client to the designer upon project completion. 

#5. No Price Guarantee

As the designer can’t guarantee the prices of vendors and have no control over the changes in prices of materials, the no-price guarantee clause is included in the contract. 

Aside from the prices of materials, the designer is also not liable for the changes in the cost of the works done by third-party contractors. 

#6. Refunds and Cancellations

Refunds and Cancellations

Once furnishings and furniture have been purchased from the merchandisers, the majority of these items can’t be returned and refunded.

Similarly, orders made can’t be canceled once the contract is signed. If the client decides to move forward with the cancellation, they will be held liable for the cancellation costs imposed by the vendor. 

#7. Expense Reimbursements

The expense reimbursement clause in interior design contracts states that the client agrees to pay the designer for the out-of-pocket expenses they have made relevant to the project. These include freight costs, postage charges, delivery fees, storage fees, etc. 

Moreover, the designer may also charge the client for other expenses such as travel, lodging, and meal, so long as it is necessary for the project. 

#8. Insurance

#8. Insurance

To protect both the designer and the client, all interior design project contracts include insurance coverage for things such as furniture and furnishings, along with other materials that need to be moved and installed. 

Having insurance coverage is highly important, especially when working with medium to large-scale interior design projects. 

#9. Before and After Photos

Most designers take before and after photos of their projects for business and marketing purposes. If the client permits, then taking pictures of the design project shall be included in the contract agreement.

Furthermore, the contract must also state that the designer will not disclose the client’s personal information such as their name and address. 

#10. Termination


The termination clause in the contract allows the client to terminate the project contract by notifying the designer in writing. 

This clause also states that the client agrees to pay for any outstanding charges and fees incurred during the period the project contract is effective and active. 

What To Do Before Signing a Contract

Before signing an interior design project contract, make sure to follow the following tips to make sure you get the best deal and service possible:

1. Carefully read and analyze each clause’s details

Before moving forward with the project and signing the interior design contract, make sure to exhaustively read and analyze the agreement clauses included. A professional interior designer won’t have any problem buying you some time to read and review the contract before signing it. 

2. Evaluate whether the terms seem fair for both sides or not

Upon reviewing the contract and its contents, weigh out the terms and make sure it benefits both parties. In addition, it is also important to watch out for the red flags you shouldn’t ignore when appointing an interior designer.

3. Look into the third-party contractors

The builders and other contractors will handle most of the construction work on your space, thus, it is crucial to select top-rated teams to ensure seamless work. 

Before signing the contract, take some time to look into each contractor’s business profile and track record. Check their previous customers’ reviews and see if they can deliver a fairly satisfactory job. 

4. Have a lawyer review the contract for you

If you are not confident enough to read and evaluate the project contract by yourself, you can have a lawyer do it for you. A lawyer or any person knowledgeable in contracts and laws can ensure the agreement is favorable to both the client, the designer, and other third-party contractors involved in the project. 


The clauses included in interior design project contracts are necessary to ensure that all phases of an interior design project flow seamlessly. Make sure to look into the contracts carefully and set the right expectations from start to finish.


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