Fees & Questions

Homeowners are often unclear how to work with an interior designer. Here is information that will help clarify everything.

What is Full Service Interior Design?

Full-service interior design is for the client who wants to outsource everything:

  • Design
  • Product Sourcing
  • Process Management
  • Communication with the Trades
  • Receiving
  • Delivery
  • Installation

All of the above are parts of the interior design process and will be included in the budget we refer to as your investment.

How to Work with an Interior Designer

Many people are unclear on how to work with a full-service interior designer and it is one of Google’s most popular searches! This page should answer most of your questions and if you have unanswered questions, please contact us.

First of all, we want you to know that we strive for all of our projects to be a good fit for everyone involved before we are willing to commit. We know that you want the best service and to have an excellent experience from end to end, and we know that we can provide it as a full-service interior design firm. Our pricing is inclusive of the elements we mentioned above.

Secondly, we also want you to understand that our primary source of revenue is not fees. Through our partnership with Decorating Den Systems Inc. (DDSI), we enjoy to-the-trade wholesale pricing with over 130 suppliers in the textiles, home furnishings, and décor industry. Many of them are located in North Carolina. We buy wholesale and sell retail similarly to home furnishings and décor stores. However, we are only sourcing and ordering for you. We do not carry overhead inventory, and importantly, we do not shop at retailers on your behalf, either in person or online.

So, when we determine your investment at the beginning of the project, please know that you will be purchasing directly from Ayanna Kai. We are focused on the best quality available for each price point, and categorize our suppliers as good, better, best in terms of their offering. In addition, as interior designers we have many vendors who supply to the trade only which gives you customized or one-of-a-kind pieces rarely seen elsewhere.

Design Consultation

After we have an initial fifteen-minute discovery phone call, and it’s mutually decided to move forward with up to a two-hour in-depth design consultation, we schedule your appointment. We hope that the discovery call revealed enough about us that you felt comfortable inviting us in as the appointment is not an extended meet and greet or a time for us to provide design “advice”.

It is a working meeting where we will take a home tour, discuss your needs in greater depth, discuss the budget guidelines within which you are working, and our process to successfully meet and exceed your goals. If we mutually decide to move forward, most times a Retainer Agreement is signed, with the fee due at that time. If the project is complex, we may need time to determine the fees based on the full scope.

If third parties such as General Contractors, Painters, or Electricians are required for the project, it will be discussed with you, and ultimately, you will contract with the trades directly. We do not employ, subcontract, or manage the trades – we communicate and work with them.

Retainer Agreements

Determining a fee arrangement is not always possible by the end of the design consultation meeting as it may, depending on the scope of the project, take some research. However, regardless of when the Retainer is signed, you will know your fee on that date, and it will not change unless the scope changes and a new fee is agreed upon. We mostly work on flat fees, and there simply won’t be any surprises.


At the point of signing your Retainer Agreement, we will have agreed upon your investment level for the project, and unless you decide to upgrade your product choices, we won’t exceed the agreed upon investment.

Trade Contractors

We make a point of being very transparent with any non-product costs that you may incur with electricians, wallpaper hangers, painters, general contractors, and the like. Ayanna Kai Design does not employ or manage the trades, and you will contract with them directly. Once the contract is in place, we will communicate with them regarding your project throughout the entire process.



Please call if you need more information about design fees and questions about how we work Book a Discovery Call