What is an Interior Design Contract?
An interior design contract is a legal document between the client and the designer that outlines the specific details and conditions of an agreement.
The contract outlines the project at hand to ensure all parties are in agreement and provides remedies for if either party finds themselves in breach of contract.
Note: If you’re ready to start editing your free interior design contract template from Bonsai, head over and sign-up now.
Why you need an interior design contract
An interior design contract is necessary for two main reasons:
- Ensure everyone’s in agreement about the details of the project
- Ensure everyone fulfills their side of the agreement
A contract keeps the project on track and aims to avoid or settle disagreements between the interior designer and the client.
What should be included in an interior design agreement
Below we’ve detailed the necessary components of your interior design agreement. These cover the ins and outs of the project, process, and payment, as well as some other essential details requirements for both the client and the designer.
Once the contract agreement is complete and the client agrees, the contract should be signed with each party receiving a copy.
Scope of work
This is where the interior designer details all the services that are required for the project to be considered complete. This is especially important when charging a fixed fee, as the client must agree to the exact services offered for the quoted price.
It's also necessary here to include what the interior designer won't do, such as architectural design, plumbing, electrics, and anything of the like— otherwise known as ‘out-of-scope’ work.
Here the interior designer lays out the specific plans for the interior design concept. This includes information on proposed color schemes, lighting, fabric choices, furniture, and interior furnishing specifications.
This is best done via detailed blueprints and 3D drawings, where applicable.
It's essential that the client knows that all drawings are conceptual and rely on accurate information from the client. Essentially, you need to ensure you're not liable for any miscalculations or design flaws that can arise from being supplied with incorrect information by the client.
It's also important to include a clause confirming that the drawings and designs are your intellectual property, and are not to be used for any other purpose than for the interior design services at hand.
Consultants and contractors
An interior designer is not a general contractor and an interior design contract must reflect and account for this. If the project requires input from consultants or contractors, the client must enter into a separate contract for other services.
You should highlight that you will not take responsibility for any other part of the project, or issues that arise from them.
This is where you'll outline the fee structure for the project, and lay out how and when each payment will be taken for the services rendered. This could be either:
- A fixed fee—where you charge a flat fee for the design project
- An hourly rate—where the designer charges a rate for every hour spent on project-related tasks.
Whichever fee structure is used by the interior design business, it must be crystal clear to avoid any disagreements or disputes further down the line.
Purchasing and Procurement
This part of the interior design agreement details information regarding purchasing and procurement for the project. You may require a deposit before purchasing any necessary items, or the client may decide to handle that themselves.
Whatever the agreement, it must be included in this contract and any other legal documents.
Refunds & Cancellation
Once furniture is purchased, it’s often non-refundable—especially if it's customized. Your agreement must mention that you will not reimburse the client for any goods purchased, regardless of whether a refund is available or not.
The same goes for cancellations. Any fees incurred from the cancellation of a product or service is not your responsibility.
This details that the client is responsible for reimbursing any out-of-pocket expenses incurred throughout the project. This includes expenses such as:
- Rendering services
- Delivery costs
- Storage costs
- Meals and lodging if applicable
- Payment terms
You previously outlined the terms of the project and its payment; here's where you communicate what will happen if those terms aren't met.
This includes factors such as late payment and unpaid invoices, and what will happen in the case of non-payment.
There must be insurance coverage for all interior design furnishings, furniture, and all other materials during handling, moving, installations—but it's not always your responsibility to provide it.
You can't start the project without insurance, so make sure the client knows this and that you both understand how interior design insurance works.
Photographs of work
Your work depends on being able to wow prospective clients with before and after pictures of past projects. It's important to ensure your client understands and agrees to you taking pictures before, during, and after the project's completion.
What's the benefit of using Bonsai, instead of editing a template yourself?
Interior design requires ample planning and precise execution to create the desired end product. There are plenty of plates to balance to ensure success, so lightening the load is helpful where possible.
Bonsai saves you time and effort by giving you a legally approved template you can work from, deliver, and sign in just a few minutes.
How to create an interior design contract with Bonsai
Signing up and creating with Bonsai couldn't be easier:
- Sign up for free to the platform
- Choose your desired contract template
- Fill the blanks to fit your needs
When you're done you can send it off to the client for their approval and signature.
Interior Design Contract Template FAQs
How much do interior designers charge?
An interior designer can cost anywhere from $1800 to $12,000 depending on the type of project, involvement, and their portfolio of work. This will also vary depending on the state, county, or country you’re in.
Do interior designers charge a consultation fee?
It's up to each interior designer to decide if they'll charge a consultation fee. It's not essential, however, it can be useful for ensuring a potential client is serious about the project and not just looking for free professional advice.
Interior design contract sample
Interior designers need to be creative and precise. You need to be able to focus on the project and the client at hand, and to have everything in check to start bringing their vision to life.
Because of this, you’re going to need easy and swift access to an interior design contract that’s flexible to every want and need. Every interior design project is different, and you need a contract template that knows this. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your contract below.