Should You Hire An Interior Designer?


Feeling lost among paint swatches, throw pillows and all the things? It might be time to hire an interior designer. Here’s why you may want to consider it and what you need to know.

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I’m publicly admitting it right here, albeit reluctantly. 😬 I wasted more money that I want to think about when I recently gave my breakfast nook a redesign. Scroll down farther to read about the decision I made and my experience.

I had a vision in my head and even created a design board, but after making a few purchases, I realized that the room was not coming together the way that I wanted it to. Not at all.

Worst of all – I didn’t know where I went wrong or how to fix it. Bottom line – I was wasting time AND money, which leads me to the first question…..

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How do I know if I need to hire a professional interior designer?

For a DIY design enthusiast like myself, making the decision to hire an interior designer was tough! I’ve never had a problem with interior design projects for both myself and others. But I was stuck this go-round and couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

Here’s how to tell if you need to make the same decision that I did:

  • You have a specific design in mind, but don’t know how to execute it. (I’m raising both of my hands on this one.)
  • You’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the design decisions and choices that need to be made (me also.).
  • You already know that you don’t have an eye for design.
  • Your project is complex. It may be complex from the standpoint of needing construction or complex from the standpoint of making the right choices – or both.
  • You want to save time. Whether shopping online or in person, it can take a huge amount of time and experimentation to search for just the right home decor.
  • You want to save money. While hiring a designer can be investment, a good one will help you avoid costly mistakes, will make the most of your budget and probably save you money in the long run.
spring breakfast nook with blue and white accessories and cottage style furnishingsPin

Is it worth hiring an interior designer?

Creating a beautiful, well functioning space can be an overwhelming task. That’s where bringing in a designer can be a game-changer. But how do you know if you should hire one or wing it yourself? Is it worth spending the money?

There are several reasons why using a designer is a good, even desirable thing to do:

  • A designer can save you money and time in the long run. They’ll help you choose the right furnishings and other products so that you avoid costly mistakes that can occur if you don’t have the necessary expertise.
  • Speaking of expertise: They have specialized training and that gives them a keen eye for pulling it all together. They can help you with space planning, choosing the right furniture and accessories to fit your space, style and budget.
  • They have access to a wide range of suppliers and resources, many of which are not available to the general public.
  • Many designers have relationships with vendors that give them a trade discount that they can pass on to you.
  • A designer can help you plan and budget for your project, so that you can avoid overspending. If everything you desire won’t fit into your budget, a designer will help you prioritize your expenditures. They are creative and will be able to offer cost-effective solutions that you hadn’t thought of.
  • A designer will have relationships with reputable installers and construction contractors. During renovations, they’ll help you avoid construction errors, such as choosing the wrong size wall, which can be costly to fix later on.
  • Project management: Designers can oversee the entire design process, from concept to completion. Whether you need a remodel or just want to redecorate, they can manage contractors, installers, schedule deliveries and handle any unexpected issues that arise.
  • Using an interior designer can increase the value of your home. A well-designed home can be more attractive to potential buyers and can increase the resale value of your property.
  • Interior design cost varies by region, but the amount that you can expect to spend depends upon the scope of your project. When you’re looking for someone, be sure to talk to several as fee structures can vary within the same region.
spring breakfast nook with blue and white accessories and cottage style furnishingsPin

What do you need to know before the initial consultation?

By preparing for your meeting with an interior designer, you can maximize both your time and the designer’s time. Having a clear idea of your preferences, budget, and needs, you can work with your interior designer to create a space that is functional, beautiful, and personalized to your taste.

  • What type of services are you hiring the designer for? Many interior designers offer consultations as well as full-service design. Some also offer e-designs. They may charge a flat fee or have an hourly rate. Some design professionals may also require a retainer.
  • Whatever service you choose, it typically involves some sort of initial meeting to assess the space and discuss your goals.
  • Determine your budget ahead of the initial meeting. You may not know the project cost ahead of time, and your budget may change as you work through the process, but you should at least have a starting point.
  • As much as you can, have an understanding of your style preference. Trying to explain it to someone can be difficult. Saving inspiration from Pinterest, from magazine pages or social media can go a long way toward communicating your likes and dislikes.
  • Know how you need the space to function. How do you use the space? What kind of activities take place there? Are there any special needs?
  • Existing furnishings and accessories – know whether or not you want to reuse or replace what you already own.
  • Do you have a timeline? Discuss it with the designer to make sure they can work within it.
  • Communication is so important! Don’t be afraid to speak up about your likes and dislikes.
  • Begin the process with an open mind. Designer’s see the latest and greatest and are naturally creative people. That’s why you’re hiring them! Be open to their ideas and at least consider any suggestions that you may not agree with before rejecting them.
spring breakfast nook with blue and white accessories and cottage style furnishingsPin

What did I do?

For me, it boiled down to this – I could either continue to waste my time and money by shopping, in hopes that I would be happy with the end result. Or – I could get the advice of a professional to help me get a personalized space that meets, or even exceeds, my expectations.

I hired the interior design firm of Claude and Coy Interiors to help me with my breakfast room. They are a local design firm, that I found on Instagram, in Greensboro, NC. The firm can travel to your location or can do a remote consultation using FaceTime. Their interior design services include full-service design, consultations and e-design services.

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I wanted to do the actual work myself, so I chose to have Beth come in for an in-person consultation for a flat fee. I needed advice, a plan and resources. The consultation included an initial meeting to see my house and the room and to discuss the look that I wanted.

fabric swatches laid out on a table by hired interior designerPin
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We meet again a couple of weeks later where Beth provided me with a mood board, resources for recommended products and a few samples. As I moved through the process, I was able to contact Beth with any additional questions.

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I can honestly say that the entire interior design process was very enjoyable and I couldn’t be happier with the end result! I don’t think I could have achieved the look I was after on my own. If you’re looking for someone, I highly recommend Beth.

spring breakfast nook with blue and white accessories and cottage style furnishingsPin
spring breakfast nook with blue and white accessories and cottage style furnishingsPin

Additional questions:

Ask for referrals from friends and family, search online, check social media, attend local design events, attend designer open houses.

There are a number of things you can do: look at their portfolio, look at their reviews and references from previous clients, ask about their qualifications and experience.

As you’re talking to a designer, make sure that they have good communication skills. That they listen to what you, the client, wants. Get an understanding of what their process is so that you can understand how they work and that their process aligns with your expectations.

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  1. I absolutely love this! You inspire me.