When designing a home, there are many avenues you can go down to get each room the way you want it. You could spend more money on hiring an interior designer, but you run the risk of not having full creative control. Not only can interior designers be costly, you miss out on doing all the fun things involved with the process yourself.

When you forego hiring an interior designer for your whole home or design project, you get to choose the color scheme, you get to do the shopping and pick the furniture and accessories that you want. You stay in control.

Doing this on your own can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never tackled design before. Luckily there are ways you can go about decorating without an interior designer, that are easy and won’t cost a fortune.

Here are eight different alternatives to hiring an interior designer:

1. DIY

If you do have a flare for the creative, you can put yourself to the task and get it done. From the planning stage to deciding on colors, patters and textures, for a creative soul having this freedom could be the perfect opportunity to create a space you truly love.

This option means you have complete creative control and you can better manage your budget. You won’t be paying for a designer (who could charge you up to USD$ 47 an hour), you won’t be paying to use some form of digital tool, and you won’t end up choosing items that cost more than you can afford. Some designers put aesthetics above all else when they work and can leave you spending out of pocket, investing in things that you really can’t afford. (1)

Everything from:

  • Color
  • Pattern
  • Texture
  • Furniture
  • Lighting
  • Wall hangings
  • Accessories

Are under your control. 

2. Online application

If you still want to give it a go on your own, but don’t have the creativity to imagine things or draw up designs on your own, you can find help in the form of digital, online applications. These services are super helpful and usually cost only a fraction of what hiring a professional designer costs. You can utilize an interior design web app to help you plan, design, and even select your items depending on the functions of the platform you choose.

This is a great way to have all the tools an interior designer would use, but all the control to create the spaces you want. You can play around with design elements and colors, without needing to have the skills to draw. Using an online design app can save you time and money and is great for someone looking for a creative solution, even if they aren’t themselves creative. 

Some of these online tools provide one-on-ones with real designers, mood boards and design revisions. They also offer different levels of help and service to suit your needs and budget. If you only need basic services, you don’t have to pay the same as you would if you required more help. You can find out more about what an online web app can do for you.

 8 Alternatives To Hiring An Interior Designer

3. Decorating service

You could seek the help of a decorating service as opposed to an interior designer. If you have the skills to design the space or spaces yourself, you can reach out to a decorating service to help find the right items for your project. This can work in tandem with the DIY approach or using an online tool as well. 

A decorating service can provide you with style guides and tips as well as pricing options and maybe even discounts. They can help you with color schemes and any themes you choose to have within the space you’re creating. You can think of a decorating service as a second opinion or, the cheaper version of an interior designer. They can essentially provide very similar services, but at the end of the day you are designing the space, they are giving advice and providing the needed items. 

4. Interior decorator

If you don’t want to go through a service, you can hire an individual decorator. Interior decorators don’t usually require the same amount of education to do their work as designers, therefore their services are often less costly. Granted, this is because designing is a little more complex, but decorators can still be an option when designing a space too. (2)

Hiring an interior decorator could be the right choice if you’re confident with your design, but you want another set of eyes to help bring your vision to life. It could also suit your needs if you want to hand over the responsibility to someone just as capable but not as expensive as an interior designer. 

5. Furniture stores

Many furniture stores these days have a lot more to offer than their stock. They provide staging for inspiration and style guides as well as price guides. Somewhere like Ikea has comprehensive instore and online services for you to use and help with the design process. The store clerks can give you advice and show you different options that can be accomplished with one item. 

Many of their websites have planning or design tools as well, where you can do a mockup of your design vision, to get a feel for what it might look like. They price it all out for you too so there’s no confusion about what things will cost. You can mix and match colors, door handles, lighting fixtures, and so much more. 

You can create designs for every room in the house!

6. Get thrifty

Instead of redesigning your space, you can upsell items. Repaint your dining chairs, or your lounge room walls. Utilize old items that you thought wouldn’t work by giving them a sand, varnish, or new paint job. 

Many people don’t even realize the potential of the items already in their home and you don’t need an interior designer to help change your space. Even just moving things around is a great way to open up a space. 

You can also go to a thrift or antique store and buy old items at a cheaper price that just need a little TLC. There is no limit really to what you can do these days within creative design, any table or chair can look brand new again with a varnish or a lick of paint. This way you’re saving money not hiring a designer and you won’t have to pay for new items. If you’re lucky you could redesign a whole space and only have to pay for the paint. One item has the power to change an entire space.

 8 Alternatives To Hiring An Interior Designer

7. Magazines and books

The one thing a designer has that you might not is expertise. They often have the eye for different design elements and are able to take an idea and bring it to life. But this isn’t an unlearnable skill. There are so many different interior design books and magazines that give you all the information you need to understand all the different elements of design. 

You can get ideas, designing tips, and direction about where to buy items. Many books and magazine articles are written by professional interior designers, so you know that the information is correct and can be useful. They can share insight into things such as the importance of lighting, functionality, and how work-from-home spaces are now a must! (3)

You can get inspiration from images and past projects designers have completed. 

8. Real estate professional

This is a particularly good idea if you are designing to sell. A real estate professional knows what looks good to a buyer and what doesn’t and this can help when it comes to staging your home for a sale. Even if you don’t wish to sell right away, a real estate agent can definitely provide advice on how to layout a room the best way, what colors are especially in right now and what furniture can look best in a certain space. 

They might be in the business of selling houses, but they also know the value of great design, layout and what’s appealing to the eye. You can get all the right advice in a single free or low-cost consultation. 

Designing a single space or a whole home doesn’t have to be hassle. If you don’t have the money to hire a professional interior designer, there are plenty of other options for you to choose from. Whether you’re a creative at heart, an idea person, strapped for time, or just need a little advice, the above list can work to help you design the space of your dreams.

Most of these options work well on their own and even better when used together. A DIY approach can be supplemented with the use of an interior design web app. Or you can use a series of design books recommended by a real estate professional or an interior decorator. When you put your mind to it, the sky really is the limit. 

References

  1. “Interior Designers,” Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271025.htm
  2. “What is the Difference Between Interior Design and Interior Decorating?” Source: https://www.rmcad.edu/whats-the-difference-between-interior-design-and-interior-decorating
  3. “The Most Important Design Lessons Interior Designers Learned This Year,” Source: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/design-lessons-from-interior-designers-36853892

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