Interior Design Procurement Services: What It Is and  How To Execute

Interior design procurement also known as interior design purchasing or interior design sourcing is an important part of the process for any real estate professional, architect or interior designer working on a project.

It involves careful planning and budgeting often via design inventory management software to ensure that all required materials are procured in time and within the desired budget. You should expect at least 10% plus 7 – 9% freight costs as ff&e procurement fees.

In this beginner guide we aim to define what is procurement in interior design, ff&e procurement fees, planning, calculating, evaluating, three inventory management software examples that every design firm needs and other.

How to set up a proper plan for it as well as identifying potential suppliers and vendors to work with you can make sure that your project runs smoothly from start to finish.

Table of Contents

architectural visualiser george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

This blog post is for homeowners who want to understand, amateur interior designs or graduates looking to learn more about why design procurement is part of the design process.

Read on further to understand more about how interior design procurement works behind the scenes!

Definition of Procurement in Interior Design

Procurement is the process of acquiring goods and services for a project. In all design disciplines, procurement involves identifying project requirements, establishing a budget, identifying potential suppliers and merchants, and evaluating their performance.

What is Procurement? 

One word – coordination! In the field of interior design, “procurement” refers to the coordination and acquisition of goods and services required to finish a certain project.

Negotiating parameters like purchase orders, schedules and delivery lead times is part of this process. investigating potential merchants or suppliers who offer excellent items at competitive pricing is also important.

Procurement’s mission is to acquire all required resources in a timely fashion and within the allotted spending plan.

Tips for Amateur Designers
Project Management
Keeps track of tasks, deadlines, and budgets
Use a software that allows you to create project timelines and task lists.
Product Sourcing
Helps you find and purchase the right products for your project
Research different suppliers and consider factors such as price, lead time, and product quality.
Purchase Order Management
Keeps track of what you’ve ordered and when it will arrive
Be sure to double-check purchase orders before submitting them to avoid any mistakes.
Vendor Management
Helps you keep track of your relationships with suppliers
Create a list of preferred vendors and their contact information for easy reference.
Inventory Management
Keeps track of what products you have on hand
Regularly update your inventory list to ensure you have the products you need for your projects.
Invoicing and Payment
Keeps track of payments and invoices
Use a software that allows you to easily create and send invoices, and track payments.

New to interior design?

Read our How to Start interior design firm guide.

FF&E sourcing and procurement planning

In every design process, there is time when furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) must be organized, purchased, delivered and installed.

It’s called sourcing and this is integral procedure by which a company acquires essential items for its operations on any project.

When searching for a supplier of furniture, fixtures, and fittings (FF&E), it’s important to find one that offers both high quality and competitive pricing.

This may seem like something only seasoned interior designers need to think about if you’re just getting started in the field.

It is in your best financial interest to master the ins and outs of FF&E procurement if your interior design firm has grown beyond a single artist or a pair of designers working on a single project.

Types of Procurement

There are two main types of procurement used in interior design projects – direct purchasing and indirect purchasing.

Direct purchasing

Involves buying materials directly from manufacturers or wholesalers without going through any intermediaries such as distributors or retailer

Indirect purchasing

Requires working with multiple parties such as contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers etc., who will provide specific components for the overall project needs.

Properly executed procurement stage can help reduce costs associated with interior design projects.

Ensuring that only necessary items are purchased at competitive prices while also providing access to higher-quality materials than may be available through traditional retail outlets.

Additionally, proper planning can help avoid delays due to unexpected shortages or late deliveries which could otherwise lead to costly overruns on labor costs.

FF&E sourcing and Procurement

If not managed properly during the initial stages of planning for a project’s completion timeline.

Procurement is a vital part of interior design and understanding the different types, benefits, and planning involved can help ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

Moving forward, let’s look at how to plan for procurement in an interior design process.

Average procurement fee for interior designer

The average procurement services charge for interior designers in the United States is between 15 and 20% of the total project cost.

The average fee in the United Kingdom is between 10 and 20 percent of the overall project cost. It is crucial to note that these fees can vary based on the project’s intricacy and the designer’s experience.

Architects’ and designers’ procurement costs can differ.

For example, architects often charge between 5 and 25 percent of the total building cost for residential projects, such as bespoke homes, renovations, and extensions.

For commercial projects, architects typically charge between 3 and 12 percent.

Fees per project: Some companies offer procurement per project. Interior designers often charge an hourly rate between $100 and $200 per hour.

Premium interior designers and decorators might charge between $200 and $300 per hour.

For all freight costs are additional fee depending on multiple factors; typically 7 – 9% on average.

Procurement Planning

Procurement planning is an essential part of any interior design project. It involves establishing the project requirements, setting a budget, and identifying potential suppliers and merchants.

By taking the time to plan out procurement properly, you can ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to expectations and timelines.

Establishing Project Requirements

The first step in procurement planning is to establish the project requirements.

This includes defining the scope of work, specifying quality standards, and determining delivery timelines.

It’s essential to be as detailed as possible so that everyone involved understands what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.

Establishing Project Budget

Once you have established your project requirements, you must set a budget for materials and labor costs associated with completing the job.

You should also allocate some contingency funds in case of unexpected expenses or delays during production or installation processes

Identifying Potential Suppliers & Furniture vendors

After setting your budget, you need to identify potential 3rd parties who can provide high-quality products at competitive prices within your schedule constraints.

Check reputable sources such as trade magazines or online forums for past customer reviews before deciding who will best meet your needs.

Additionally, request quotes from multiple firms so that you can compare prices before making a final decision on who will supply materials for your project.

Warehouse and storage

When sourcing components for a design, a warehouse is crucial since it can keep all the pieces until they are needed.

As a central location for collecting and delivering supplies, a warehouse is vital to smoothly running any design procurement process.

A stockroom can be utilized to control inventory to guarantee sufficient materials and labor to finish the procurement process.

Well-planned storage can be utilized to store the materials and products in a safe and secure environment, protecting them from the risk of theft or damage and preserving the honesty of the procurement procedure.

Once you have identified potential suppliers/merchants for your project, it is crucial to evaluate their performance throughout the process against pre-defined criteria such as quality standards, delivery, and cost efficiency.

Doing this helps ensure that everything runs smoothly while providing valuable feedback that can help improve future projects.

Key Takeaway: Planning is essential for design projects and involves establishing project requirements, setting a budget, and identifying potential suppliers and merchants.
Evaluate performance against pre-defined criteria to ensure success.

It is obvious by now that procurement planning is a critical step in ensuring that all aspects of the project are met on time and within budget.

With the proper requirements, quality standards, and deadlines in place, it’s now time to identify potential suppliers and vendors for your interior project.

Identifying Project Requirements

Defining Scope of Work: The scope of work is the foundation for any interior design project. It outlines what needs to be done, who will do it, and how long it should take.

When defining the scope of work, designers must consider factors such as materials needed, labor required, sequence schedules, and budget constraints.

This helps ensure that all parties involved are on the same page.

Specifying Quality Standards: Quality standards are essential in ensuring a successful outcome for an interior design project.

Therefore, designers need to establish quality standards when selecting merchants or suppliers so they can guarantee that their desired results will be achieved.

These quality standards may include color accuracy, material durability, and finish consistency.

Establishing lead times: One more essential step in procurement planning for interior design projects.

Designers must determine realistic deadlines based on their availability and that of potential suppliers or vendors before making any commitments or agreements with them.

This ensures everyone has enough time to complete their tasks without sacrificing quality or missing deadlines.

Once the project requirements are identified, it is essential to establish a budget that will cover all costs associated with the FF&E process. This includes material fees, labor costs, and contingency funds

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Establishing Project Budget

Estimating the cost of materials is an important step in establishing a project budget.

It’s essential to consider the quality and quantity of materials needed for the job and any additional costs, such as shipping or taxes.

When estimating material costs, comparing prices from multiple merchants and suppliers before deciding is best. This will help ensure you get the best deal possible on your materials.

Calculating Labor Costs

Calculating labor costs is another important factor when creating a project budget. Be sure to include wages for all workers involved in the project, including subcontractors, if applicable.

Additionally, account for any overtime fees or other related expenses incurred during work on your project.

Allocating contingency funds

This is also an essential part of setting up a successful project budget.

These funds should cover unexpected expenses that may arise throughout your interior design project, such as repairs or replacements due to damage caused by unforeseen circumstances like weather events or accidents at work sites.

It is essential to ensure these funds are allocated based on realistic estimates so they can be used effectively, if necessary, without exceeding the overall budget limit.

Establishing a project budget

It is an essential step in ensuring the success of any custom design project. After determining the necessary costs, it’s time to begin researching potential suppliers and traders who can provide the materials needed.

Identifying Potential Suppliers and Vendors

Identifying potential suppliers and vendors is an essential step in the procurement process for any interior design project.

Researching reputable sources and requesting quotes from multiple vendors are vital steps in finding suitable suppliers or traders for a project.

Researching Reputable Sources

When researching potential suppliers, looking at their track record of providing quality materials and services is essential.

Start by asking colleagues, friends, family members, or other professionals who have worked with them before if they can recommend anyone. 

Additionally, online reviews on websites such as Yelp or Google Reviews can be helpful when evaluating a supplier’s reputation (keep in mind that online review sites can be manipulated, so make sure to double-check).

It’s also wise to check out their website to get an idea of what products they offer and how long they have been in business. 

Another great option is to check with competitors in the same niche; for example, if you are dealing only with Japandi-style houses, or rustic cottage, both styles have their specific details and millwork.

Companies with projects in these styles will likely have already established workflow, so why not ask them for help?

Requesting Quotes from Multiple Vendors

Once you have identified the potential companies that meet your requirements, it is time to request quotes from each one so you can compare prices and determine which vendor offers the best value for money.

When requesting quotes, provide all relevant information about the project, including the scope of work, budget constraints, project schedule, etc., so each vendor has enough information to give an accurate quote based on your specific needs.

This will help ensure that you receive competitive bids from different purveyors, allowing you to make an informed decision about which is most suitable for the job. 

Once you have identified all possible purveyors, evaluating their performance is essential to make an informed decision.

There will be times when your project budget is not a lot, and most offers you receive may be over.

Consider splitting the tasks into multiple sub-steps and outsourcing each step to a different company with better pricing on that specific part.

Remember that this is an advanced FF&E strategy that requires experience and primarily works only with established supply lines.

In the next section, we will discuss how to assess quality standards, project schedules, and cost efficiency when evaluating potential suppliers and manufacturers.

Performance Evaluation of Suppliers and Vendors

Evaluating quality standards is essential in assessing supplier or vendor performance during the procurement process.

Quality control should be conducted throughout the entire project, from initial product selection to final delivery and installation.

It’s crucial to establish criteria for evaluating quality standards that can be used consistently across all suppliers and purveyors. This could include material durability, finish consistency, and measurement accuracy. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that certifications are up-to-date and valid before purchasing.

Assessing delivery timelines

This is another critical factor in evaluating supplier or vendor performance during procurement.

It’s essential to ensure that all materials arrive on time so as not to delay the project’s progress.

When selecting suppliers or vendors, ask them about their typical turnaround times for orders and their ability to accommodate rush orders if needed.

Ensure they have a reliable shipping method in place, so you know your order will arrive safely and on time whenever you need it.

To better understand cost efficiency, it is essential to compare quotes from different suppliers or manufacturers before making your decision. This way, you can get the best deal possible without sacrificing quality.


Is an essential step in the FF&E process, allowing for informed decisions that can save long lead times and money. Moving on to our conclusion, let’s explore how this information fits into a larger context.

Key Takeaway: It’s important to evaluate quality standards, delivery timelines, and cost efficiency when selecting suppliers or manufacturers during the procurement process. Create criteria for assessing quality, ask about turnaround times, and compare quotes before deciding.

The Best 3 Purchasing Programs for Interior Designers (procurement process)

Interior firms continuously juggle various projects and furniture manufacturers to bring their clients’ ideals to life. An interior design inventory management software is a must.

To speed up and simplify this procedure, many businesses use procurement project management software to present and get everything approved during the procurement phase.

The purchasing process can be streamlined and made more precise using these technologies, which can be used to manage stock levels and relationships with suppliers and, most importantly – markup!

This part of the post compares and contrasts the best three procurement programs available to interior design businesses today and why a spreadsheet won’t cut it.

Studio Designer

Q: What features of Studio Designer attract interior firms to it?

A: Studio Designer is a program developed with the interior design business in mind. It has many tools that can streamline managing projects and making purchases.

In addition, the software offers a product library and tools for project management, invoicing, and creating purchase orders, making it simpler than ever for designers to find and obtain the materials they need.

Design Manager

Q: The design Manager simplifies purchasing in several ways for interior design firms.

A: Managing purchase orders, suppliers, and stock levels are just some purchasing tasks that may be streamlined with the help of the Design Manager’s many capabilities.

Companies in the interior design industry can benefit from this software by reducing the time and effort spent on purchasing and inventory management.


Q: Why should an interior design firm choose Co-construct over other procurement programs?

A: Co-construct is a web program that provides a consolidated portal for all project-related communication and administration, bridging the gap between the interior design and building industries.

With capabilities like invoicing, purchase order management, vendor management, and change order management, it helps to optimize the purchasing process and keep projects on track.

The software also includes communication tools that aid in the cooperation of designers, constructors, and clients.

If you aim to satisfy your clients, excel spreadsheets and google folders won’t help, nor will they please your customers. Every client needs access to procurement software to approve all design details, specifications, and shipment costs. 

The above tools are built specifically for interior design firms to help expedite the buying process and help projects stay on schedule.

Studio Designer, Design Manager, and Co-construct, the three solutions discussed here, are all excellent alternatives for interior design businesses searching for an actual procurement software solution.

However, each has its own set of benefits, so it’s up to you to figure out what those are for your company and pick the one that fits the bill. And even if you don’t have time to deal with the procurement itself, you can hire companies to do that job on your behalf.

Why Visuals Are So Important For Interior Designers and their clients?

Procurement is connected with architecture and interior design visuals. The 3D renderings are essential as they make presentations alive.

They help to communicate the vision of a project in a way that words cannot. In addition, visuals provide an opportunity to showcase the potential of a space or property before it is built or renovated.

By utilizing visuals such as 3D renderings, sketches, floor plans, virtual tours, and more, stakeholders can get an accurate representation of what the final product will look like without having to wait until construction is complete.

Visuals also allow clients to make informed decisions about their projects by giving them insight into how certain materials may look together or how different elements will interact within the space. 

With this information, they can better understand if their ideas are feasible and decide which changes need to be made for their vision to come alive.

Ultimately these visuals create trust between all parties involved in a project as everyone has access to the same visual reference point when discussing design concept options or making decisions on budgeting and project schedule.

In conclusion, architecture and interior design visuals play an essential role in creating successful projects that meet client expectations while staying within budget constraints. 

Through these visuals, clients have access to detailed representations of what their finished product could look like, allowing them peace of mind knowing that they are investing wisely into something they can envision coming true.

In this blog post we’ve explained how 3D Rendering For Interior Design Can Improve Profits.

FAQs in Relation to Interior Design Procurement

A vendor in interior design is a company or individual who provides products and services related to the field of interior design.

They can provide furniture, fabrics, window treatments, lighting fixtures, artwork and accessories that are used to create an aesthetically pleasing space.

Vendors may also offer professional consultation services such as project management, installation assistance and product recommendations.

Additionally, they may be able to help with budgeting for projects by providing cost estimates for materials and labor costs associated with each job.

1. Planning: This is the first phase of interior design and involves creating a plan for the space, considering factors such as budget, desired style, function and size.

2. Research & Analysis: During this stage, research is conducted to understand the client’s needs and preferences in order to create an effective design solution.

3. Design Development: Here design team to develop their ideas into tangible concepts by sketching out plans and selecting materials that best suit the project’s requirements.

4. Implementation: In this step, furniture pieces are chosen according to budget constraints while also keeping in mind aesthetic considerations such as color schemes or textures used throughout the space.

5. Evaluation & Refinement: The final phase of interior design includes evaluating how well all elements work together to create a cohesive look and feel for the space before making any necessary adjustments or refinements if needed.

Interior design contracts are agreements between an interior designer and a client.

The contract outlines the scope of work, payment terms, timeline for completion, and any other relevant details.

It is important to read through all clauses in the contract carefully before signing it to ensure that both parties understand their obligations.

A well-drafted contract will also protect both parties from potential disputes or misunderstandings during the project’s duration.

Interior designers should always keep copies of signed contracts on file for future reference if needed.

1. Traditional Interior Design: This style of interior design is characterized by classic furniture pieces, symmetrical arrangements, and muted colors.

It often features antique items or reproductions of historical styles to create a timeless look that evokes feelings of comfort and elegance.

2. Contemporary Interior Design: This modern style emphasizes clean lines, neutral colors, and minimalistic decorating schemes with an emphasis on function over form.

It typically uses natural materials such as wood and stone for a sleek yet inviting atmosphere.

3. Eclectic Interior Design: This eclectic approach combines elements from various styles to create unique spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personality and interests without adhering to any particular aesthetic rules or trends.

4. Industrial Interior Design: Industrial interiors are characterized by raw materials such as exposed brick walls, metal accents, concrete floors, and vintage furnishings for an edgy yet cozy vibe that celebrates urban living in all its forms.


In conclusion, interior design procurement is an essential part of any project. It involves defining the requirements of a project, establishing a budget, identifying potential suppliers and vendors, and evaluating their performance. By understanding these steps in detail and planning for each stage of the process, you can ensure that your interior design projects are successful. 

Have an interior project to render?

With careful planning and execution, you can ensure your interior design procurement process is as efficient as possible.

Are you looking for innovative interior design solutions tailored to your needs? TALLBOX is here to help. 

Our team of experienced professionals can provide the architecture and interior design visuals necessary for a successful project.

We take pride in providing our clients with quality designs that bring their visions to life while ensuring they get what they need within budget. 
So contact us today, and let’s work together on creating a great space!