How Interior Designers charge their professional fees


{Updated as of February 23, 2020}  In 2018, I was invited to do a hotel project by a colleague. I remember to be excited praying that this project will push thru, at that time I haven't met or discussed the project-in-charge yet. Still, I was positive to do the job because it's a big one for me at that time.

By the time the contractor and I have discussed the exchange of E-mails and phone calls. He had a very convincing project portfolio telling me that he did a certain hotel prior to that and he is doing another one and needs an interior designer to give him the best price that I offered and countered me with a 5,000 PHP offer for 1,500 square meters plus to do the design their reason behind it I would be simply doing the design only and emphasized that many times that it was just a design.

I immediately declined the project in a polite and firm indication that they lack the value and input of a licensed interior designer. I was told by them that they did the design of a hotel nearby Parkmall, whom I also knew the Interior Designer behind it, which my first indication of a red flag client.

At that time, I was starting out my career for a year and I have taken several projects with a fair rate and an understanding of the contribution to the profession of interior design.  I felt offended and thought why are they thinking that anyone would not let go of this type of project? This prompted me to update this blog post and that you may understand where my point of view is coming from.

Why Interior Designers are the same as those other licensed professionals? According to the

We also took a 4-year course and took a licensure exam which leads to the successful passers to acquire a licensed and also become a member of an organization on the chapter of their own choosing. That doesn't give anyone a license to undervalue licensed professionals over the unlicensed ones or even think that it's simply a design. A sketch to make in a day which most people had misunderstood.

When it comes to the fees of an interior designer, there are lots of various reasons on how the fee is being computed and one of the few factors there are base on-site location, the scope of work, number of site visits and years of practice by the professionals are just a few factors to mention.

As mentioned in this article written by Interior Designer Vera Villarosa-Orila for Real Living in 2016.

From 301sqm and aboveNote that charges get lower as the space gets bigger. For areas measuring 301sqm. and above, design fee rates are at a minimum of P400 to a maximum of P800 per square meter.

Almost 5 years had passed since that post was published, still, somehow these standards are being followed despite the economic development and progression that is happening. It's safe to say that the counteroffer made by the engineer to do the 4 storey hotel project was a good pass on my end.

In my commercial projects, I do follow the standards and check accordingly the factors of the services I'll be serving my clients since it is a personalized service base on their needs and I always ensure that it's a win-win for both of us and to work with people and companies who values the output of our creativity and technical expertise. Above mentioned or estimated computation was the design only with sign and seal and does not include the other works such as project management and site visits and sometimes these administrative works may fall under the consultation services, where I also get my basis in my computation but likewise, I have a different way in charging my clients which is different from Manila Interior Designers. Below is how it was computed, base on the article written by  Interior Designer Vera Villarosa-Orila for Real Living in 2016.

Consultation For projects that do not require much planning, you can hire an interior designer for consultation only. This service takes into account material and decoration like sourcing for furniture, furnishings, and sometimes decorative finishes like wallpaper and accent tiles, as well as the actual setting up of the project site. Rates may vary but the designer can charge a minimum of P500 to a maximum of P1, 500 per hourLump sum rates can go from P4, 000 to P10, 000 to cover the eight working hours per day. These rates do not include transporation and food expenses for projects within Metro Manila and the aforementioned plus accommodation for out of town projects—both local and international.

If you are planning to hire and inquire about an Interior Designer, please ensure that you will be dealing with professional Interior Designers and that expect that they will ensure that your projects will be worthy upon the results that you have desired. I hope that this post gives you an idea of how interior designers charge their fees.  {Original Post was in 10-31-2018 Titled: Declining a Hotel Project}

When you have space and planning to hire an Interior Designer here in Cebu, Philippines, My team and I would be glad to take part in your journey. Give us an overview of your project and let's decide together how we will proceed on our next step. Send us love via E-mail.

Batch 2014

"I'm graduating!" I exclaimed!  After my thesis defense I found out I passed and I knew from there I'm graduating and I did. After spending hours in preparation of my thesis defense and all the hard work I put through myself, my mom, my friends and people who made it possible. I truly made it.

2014 is a memorable year for me. I got my diploma that year which is another milestone that I have achieve and my mom. Of course, My mom was the happiest human being when I graduated after years being in school and ups and downs that happened at the end of the day it was all worth it.

The photos above were after my graduation in 2014 as we celebrate our success. This was my journey towards my dream of becoming an interior designer by passing the first challenge to graduate in the University of San Carlos Bachelors in Science in Interior Design.

At this point, I was called Interior Decorator after graduating because I was not licensed. According o Article V. Section 34: Prohibition in the Practice of Interior Design in summary I can't be called Interior Designer, Interior Stylist or Interior Designer Consultant if I haven't passed the licensure exam and for me to be truly called Interior Designer, I took another meaningful journey by taking the board exam the following year and another fruitful year also for me and my family.

Top 5 Social Media Platform


Gone are the days that I would make an effort to write a lengthy letter and have it drop to the post office and have my letter send to my friends and family; those traditional, yester-years are something that we still all treasure and find it more compelling in terms of effort and making us feel more connected. However, with the ever-changing ways communication I could deny that these technology is where my life and business runs with my entire day and here are my Top 5 Social Media Platform that I frequently use.

1. Instagram. Since I joined Instagram, I really got hooked on to this but my having my feed curated or wanting to be like an Instagram influencer but on how people and users makes an effort to showcase a beautifully curated photos and makes it so enticing not just for a show but also telling me, why I should make an effort in putting a content that is motivational and meaningful not just for myself and but also for those who follows and who the whole community of instagrammers.

2. Facebook Messenger. Facebook messenger become the alternative for a mobile phone in terms of communicating with friends. It helps me to connect with friends and also clients since this become an office platform were documents and quick images are sent that mobile phone service provider cant. Aside from its quick and easy, its more or less looks like a free platform despite all the huge data im sending and sharing.

3. Pinterest. My lifesaver, there are times that I cant fully explain what I meant that I use its imagegs or photos faster communication towards my idea. Pinterest is where I also get my ideas and at most the answers to my quick or passive questions and since I'm a visual person, i get to understand things better that what I would read for a quick learning.

4. YouTube. The Online TV Box that I could say, this is where I would listen and watch any videos from education to reality life of a video blog and entertainment; It makes everything quicker and understand better the things that despite reading an entire book, I got to understand the summary version plus have a number of references of the same topic and whenever I wanted to entertain I just type in the music category and viola! its there, listening to the music is another click away on the search tab.

5. Facebook. Facebook has become my least favorite because I find it to commercialized and people seems to post whatever they want and post things that doesn't' feel right; That's their thing though and still, I kept this app to find out the "what's going on with your life, my friend?" my just checking their profile rather than browse more than thirty (30)  mins and check whats going on. Since I was once addicted to this app and I don't feel good about it spending unconsciously 5 hours of my time, scrolling and lying down; though is app is reliable since the people whom I'm know has this app than any social media.


Let's get connected 


The 5 reasons I started my company

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My story with wanting to be in the business started as early as I was an infant, probably because I grew up with parents who are entrepreneurial and must be on the genes (probably!).  I had such a beautiful and exciting flare for it that my parents just let me go by whatever I think would give me a Eureka moment. I had a lot of stories of different business ventures but only one (1) (uno) (prima) Business, I ready took seriously to the next level and that is Premiere Design Interiors.

Why? I had it registered (under E.G.Pimentel Interior Design Services) and this is the most business that I worked so hard and took me years before starting on my own and to tell you, I have been wanting to have a company that I can call mine and I'd like to share the reason I started my company on a Personal Level.


It was the right time to start my business, A company I can call mine. Surely Mine and I'll be the one running and do the lead, just like anyone wanting to own their business. I felt I was running out of time and I must do what I have planned a long time ago, right after I had my license.


I always wanted Freedom and I wanted to do the things I have missed or been somewhere no one would call me or ask or demand me on my time; back then I'm a YES Person for some reason. I got tied to a job that doesn't give me what I want in a more than 8-5 job that I felt lost over time and stuck in my life especially in the later part. 

Exploring new things has been my agenda and If I would continue working, I won't have it. I wanted to prove myself that I can do it and I am meant to for it; No Matter what the challenges would be thrown on me. I see myself similar to a bird who's been in a cage for a long time and once that bird broke its barriers, the bird flew up to the sky and look at the brighter side of life.

Creative Control. 

I wanted control on the things that I have or wanted to do; Order I must say in all aspect if possible. I'm not a perfectionist but I wanted Control things that I can control especially when being creative.


I am limited to meet people and explore new things, and there are certain people that I want to enjoy one's company and be surrounded with to explore a wonderful. A lot of people told me that I would fly and those words of encouragement were helpful. I see a lot of my friends who took a direction a few would take and I am inspired by the people who took those steps of giving value towards themselves. There was this saying you'll never know what you'll get until you do your part.

Education. I'm a graduate, licensed and I felt that I have to use that on a higher purpose and reason and for me to do that I need to step up my game and take a high risk on taking new challenges in life. It was full of uncertainty back then and all my knowledge gained from school, work and the people I was on with myself and just perfectly imperfect the way it was.  Especially now that I'm pursuing post-graduate education, Masters of Architecture - Major in Interior Architecture. I felt things are just on its right and bumpy journey where every day is a choice to make.

Those are my reason why I started my business and if you are those a few designers who wanted to pursue entrepreneurship or a unit owner who wanted to get in touched with a licensed interior designer.  Just click this.  

Ace your Thesis Proposal

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It seems that you have won a 4 digit lottery when you have your design plans to be presented to your client. Immediately hitting your laptop to check these plans and encode all the stuff you need to present to the panelist. You wanted to Ace everything that you don't like to miss a single hit. I got your point, but what exactly do you need to present. Aside from the list of items either you know of or a list of items given to your instructor before the design proposal.

On my part, During the time we were all proposing with the 5 panelist, 5 of our major instructors were there asking us a bunch of things during a closed door meeting per student as we have to defend it also on the W's? 

My 3 copies of A3 PAPERS and short bond paper are in placed to be given to them individually and As I stood up in front of them with a copy of my own, they threw me some questions to defend my plan.

  1. Where is this located? Provide a vicinity map.
  2. Is the built, constructed or design phase?
  3. How many square meters in total, does this belong to the 500 sqm requirement. Provide the breakdown of Area
  4. Who is the architect, company?
  5. Do I have a permission? This is the time you show the Approval Sheets(Submit the approval plan signed by the architect that you're allowed to use the plan for thesis)
  6. What is the Client background, give them a little overview about the proposal
  7. Why did you choose this project?
  8. What is the Possible Concept.
These were just a few things being asked in general, On the spot the panelist will give you an insight on the possible concerns per proposal presented including why the student should or should not proceed with it and Lastly, your enthusiast and their assessment on the project if it does well with your ability to present and your design strength. When approved, Oh! My, you won the 5 Digit Lottery.

What is your story then?

How did Premiere Design Interiors got its name?


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Before Premiere Design Interiors got its name, I have thought and named different names since High School whether i'd like to use it in the future and a few of them I could recall would be

  • Lireo Interior Design because I was a big fan of Encantadia back when it first aired
  • Design Wave because my college friends love to go to the beach
  • The Emari Interiors because its first name with the "THE" just to feel like a celebrity
None of those push through and it would be funny if I did but of course, I think that Lireo would be a catchy name to use for a business name; after all Jacinto and Lirio has proved to be a good name for the business. Here I am progressively building a brand name using Premiere Design Interiors, It came around between 2014 and 2015 when I was thinking what name I would use for myself and for prospective clients to remember my name, I initially named it Pimentel Premiere Design Interiors, why?
  • Pimentel, stands for my name and it really rings a bell. Most often its where I get my initial conversation with anyone who talks to me.
  • Premiere, stands for the "first show" like a ballerina you are introduced and do the best in which I aim to do the best like it was my first project.
  • Design, stands that I do design and what specifically?
  • Interiors, I do Interior Design as my specific niche

Later then I named it Premiere Design Interiors when I was continuously accepting side hustle in 2017 and up to this day, that I have registered the business under E.G.Pimentel Interior Design Services while Premiere Design Interiors, is my trademark branding name for the business.

Ready to get started on your next 

design project?


Where to find my thesis plan?

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Internship done. Thesis Plan, Blurrrreeeedddd. Not for me, I have prepared ahead of time to whom where I should be getting my thesis during the time I was in my internship program. I have asked the following people and company already before that and thankfully I had 5 design plans lined up for approval just in case some will not be accepted, So at least I had a back up.

If you are one of those students who merely doesn't know where to find your thesis plans. Here's some ideas where I got my thesis plans.

  1. Architectural Firm
  2. Private Practicing Architect
  3. Real Estate Developer
  4. Interior Design Firm, I didn't but some of my classmates did.

Who else would you get the plan right? They are the technical and design person who the client would go to before Interior Designers can work.

  1. Just like applying for an Internship
  2. Ask for an appointment and explain why you need that
  3. Back up your appointment with a letter of consent from the school that you need a plan for thesis
  4. Letter of Request on your side 
  5. Business Card with your Name on it and number to remind them of your request
  6. A Contract between you and the architect assuring them that you wont share their design plan (if required) and what do they expect in return, Some in exchange of the 3D Design and Plan in Soft and Hardcopy
  7. Purchase a NEW USB if they will give you the soft copy, to give them a relief that your nor bringing any viruses to their personal computers or laptops.
  8. Follow up them and Don't wait for them to contact you. You aren't their priority in general because they are busy and their priority is their client
  9. Be thankful a small token of appreciation for them will make you both happy.

There you have it. It's simple to take some responsibility over the course of time rather than cramming. I had my fair share of cramming and delaying. In other words procrastinating and this will put you in a lot of stress that you don't want to handle. Being in your last year of college will have a lot of pressure. Mind you, this is crucial for 1 mistake or failed subject will not lead to your graduation.

My Internship delimma

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I have passed my third year majors and Thank God I did it. It was time for me to search and acquire new knowledge through Internship during the two months summer break. I was so excited that I had all my resumes and portfolio printed, ready to be submitted.

I had spent searching over the net when it doesn't give me results back then the things that I needed. I saw no interior design firms , and when I did its not in Cebu since I relied to much on the net. Since I had a handful list of to whom to go for that two specific days that I'm going to visit to submit my resume and Finally, the last stop, After two days of commuting, walking and being in the city to find a job, I got accepted immediately and headed of the following week to start my Internship.

In my mindset at that time, I want to start my internship wherever field I will be only here in Cebu. I have no specific idea which and where I want to go. All I was thinking of that it should be related to my course and I want to have a good grade. I didn't make a 10 sources to know about a company, I merely looked at the Company Name, the industry, Address and Telephone number to find out about them and submit. WRONG MOVE, as I have a different plan at that time but GLAD IT HAPPENED because over the two month period, I was able to gain additional knowledge, knowing people and be able to communicate and it's not exactly how I imagine to be and yet, I had a great time. 

For those planning to have an Internship, Do not limit yourself by having your internship somewhere around the globe or outside your location as the learning counts more than where you were planted.
  1. Research about the industry you want to be part of, at this point you should know 
    • Real Estate
    • Construction
    • Interior Design Firms
    • Retail Stores
    • Furniture Companies
    • Specialty Companies related to Interior
    • Others that you think will help you in your career
  2. Prepare your Resume, Portfolio and School Requirments
    • Have a hard copy and soft copy ready on hand
  3. Ask for an Appointment or Interview
    • Make it personal communication, through Phone Calls and E-mails
    • Avoid text unless you made a few calls before Texting
    • Visit your prospect
    • Avoid social media communication as possible 

Before and After Internship there are thing to consider, as this is a small detail to help you figure out what you wanted to become in the near future when you plan to work. The internship is just one way knowing your strength and how you visualize yourself. So think of it was a process on becoming an Interior Designer not just by title but also with knowledge. 

Back to the Future: 1 year journey of Full-time Freelancing

I was reading a blog when  I read "What were you doing a year ago today? How has your business changed?" that I decided to answer question.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

A year ago, October 1, 2018, I was officially unemployed; I knew it was time. I left a "secured" job to do a freelancing interior design works to finally be able to get this off my chest on wondering what could it be. I have thought about it for a long time and when I finally did; I had my hesitations asking some inner thoughts. Can I do this? Will I be able to survive? How am I going to work this out? Should I apply for another company? Stuff like this put myself in questioning my ability to look beyond what I have.

A year ago, I invested most in marketing my business, Premiere Design Interiors. I relied most of my clients through social media, business listing and website and most of my time learning on doing business plan, marketing and implementations; I tested all those strategies that fits within my timeline and budget most often exceeding my budget in trying different things that works best for me. It was challenging to make things up specially when projects becomes overwhelming either multiple projects coming in, personal stuff going on to my life that I even hardly could have time to manage it properly. I was mostly in "WORK WORK WORK", which isn't good for my health and little my little I'm managing it to make it balance and still in a work in progress. 

In one year time, what I was basically building my portfolio and connecting with people and educating myself attending the available and access any resources I have. Network with people and engage myself in various activities relating to interior design as I develop myself through the wonderful experience as I have personally grew and my business grew as well, I have decided to register and operate my business 1 month before my a year anniversary in freelancing. So, How my business changed, it went from freelancing gig to an operational interior design service provider for owners who seek an Interior Designer to create a lifestyle space for their home and business needs. 

Recalling on how I felt being jobless ("secured job"); It was the best decision I made; I saw different wonders in life, people and experience that made me grew and how I look forward to be better and how I would like to pursue my job as a Creative Entrepreneur in Interior Design.

Curious on what I could offer?


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