Decorate at Your Own Risk: Why You Should Hire a Designer Instead

How consulting a professional can help you avoid your home getting stuck in the same design style.

U.S. News & World Report

Decorate at Your Own Risk: Why You Should Hire a Designer Instead

Beautiful Kitchen in Luxury Home with Island and Stainless Steel(Getty Images)

Renovating and redecorating can be a very exciting time. Many of us have a mental list of projects around our home that we have been itching to start. In the simplest of cases, it’s a new color palette for your walls, or maybe a new rug or sofa. For others, you may be finally planning your dream kitchen or master bath.

Whichever your situation, the anxiety level can be the same. Making changes to your home can be an intensely personal process, and it’s difficult to hand over the reins, even if the process is too overwhelming to handle on your own. For some, making design decisions around the home can lead to some fairly contentious dinner conversation as well. So why not give yourself a break and consider what a designer can do to help?

There’s the misconception that interior design services are only for the wealthy, but most jobs prove the opposite. Great design is available to everyone, and comes in all price ranges.

A good designer should be able to come into your home and for a fair fee be able to help you edit what you already have, make sound decisions regarding the scale of the room and what should fit appropriately in it, and suggest ways for you to customize the room to bring it in the design direction that you want to go.

A New Kind of Service

With the popularity of the DIY Network, HGTV and remodeling and design site Houzz, consumers have a lot more information at their fingertips and are more eager than ever to get their hands on their projects.

This trend has created a niche customer that wants design help without the commitment of a full-blown designer renovation. Some design firms have begun offering paid consultation appointments that serve as free-form, working design appointments.

This consultation has brought stylish design to a whole different market. For clients who want advice on paint colors, furniture placement, furniture editing, and other general assistance. After a couple hours, both sides walk away satisfied with the results, which can concludes the interaction or lead to a more detailed project assessment.

Either way, you’re excited and energized because you have a plan for success. This is a great way for customers who have never worked with a designer before to get their feet wet with the process. Ask designers in your area if they offer these types of appointments.

A Fresh Perspective

A fresh set of eyes is invaluable for troubleshooting design issues in your home, and who better to serve that purpose than a trained designer? It has probably taken a long time for your home to get into the state it is in.

Let’s face it, most of us do a lot of living in our home. Our furnishings are a collection of things purchased and donated – items we feel guilty getting rid of because they have memories. We’re wary of discarding rugs that have survived two generations of pets because Sparky still brings sticks into the house. Many of us have followed the well-meaning advice of family and friends only to find their style doesn’t quite fit your idea of what “farmhouse industrial” is.

Much of the design mistakes in our homes go unnoticed to us. We see it every day, and offensive items fade into the background as a means of necessary denial. We don’t know how to fix it, where to put it or what to replace it with, so we leave it.

The kids need a convenient place to put their shoes, so we give in and put a rack by the door instead of in the closet 3 feet away, because the closet is packed with too many coats and a lot of soccer balls and shin guards on the floor. While it may seem impossible to find a better way to handle the overload of stuff, a designer is trained to help solve these problems in ways that fit within your budget and lifestyle.

A strange thing happens when one goes to select a new paint color, rug, or sofa. Even though you may want a change – maybe you no longer like your French Provincial style and would like to opt for more of a spa look. There’s a strong likelihood that, left to your own devices, you’ll inadvertently select items and colors closer to your existing look. It’s human nature; you’ve been living with it and are used to it. You’re comfortable with it. You’ve re-decorated and at some point you will become aware that something isn’t quite right. Don’t wait for your spouse to go out of town and re-paint. Call an interior designer.

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