Design dilemmas. DIY or hire a professional?
Posted May 2021
Do it yourself or hire a professional? That is one of the first questions to answer when you decide that your interiors need a refresh (or complete overhaul). If you have a keen interest in interiors and are confident in knowing exactly what you like and don’t like and how each of those elements will work together, you may choose to take it on yourself. Styling is a skill that can be developed if the underlying concepts and design elements are understood but more often than not, no amount of home magazine subscriptions and Pinterest boards will make the process completely free of stress, decision-fatigue and potential costly mistakes.
Top interior professionals spend years honing their craft with technical training and practical experience. They typically have an innate ‘eye’ for design that allows for unique ideas that simply can’t be taught. Interior stylists look at a range of considerations when working on a project. This includes what colours, patterns materials and textures work cohesively and how to feature these throughout a space to ensure balance, flow, cohesion and practicality. The scale of furniture is also considered, along with spatial planning for function and traffic flow throughout an area. And don’t forget the finer details – like the all-important size of a rug or the placement of artwork throughout the home – all whilst working towards the client’s desired brief. In addition, professionals will use programs to create 3D renders, floor plans and elevations for clients to help them visualise the overall design before a single purchase is made.
Let’s talk about budget (trust me, it’s not as scary as it sounds!). Rest assured, design professionals are used to managing budgets of varying sizes on the daily. Not only can a professional help keep you on budget, but they also understand how to balance out the budget and allocate spend accordingly. It’s a common misconception that splurging on the larger items of a home is the best way to go. This can leave very little budget to purchase the important smaller, decorative pieces to style the home. The result? The beautiful investment pieces are hidden under low quality, generic items that do nothing to enhance the home. Stylists understand the art of balancing this to ensure a mix that looks more high-end, even if the budget is not.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. Professionals have access to exclusive brands, product ranges and industry contacts that will not supply to the general public. Think of bespoke cabinetry, fabrics, furniture pieces and art that will make your space unique compared to a cookie-cutter design featuring only off-the-shelf products. Design professionals also have an in-depth knowledge of products and their quality and durability. This is essential when creating a functional home. For example, knowing what tiles will be easy to care for and non-slip or looking at the fibre and pile of the carpet to best suit a family’s lifestyle.
Have you ever painted an entire room only to realise it’s not quite what you had imagined or purchased a piece of art that doesn’t seem to work no matter where you place it? I’m sure most DIYers can relate in one way or another! The good news is, hiring a design professional can save you money by avoiding these costly mistakes the first time around. They will also save you valuable time (which we all know is priceless!). Think of the time spent researching furnishings and fittings from different brands, measuring your space to make sure everything will fit properly (or returning items when they don't) and losing sleep over whether that shade of grey in your carpet works with your window treatments or whether the style of sofa and coffee table you’ve ordered even works with your existing dining furniture – not to mentioned the time placing and managing these orders, coordinating and chasing deliveries, and installing everything properly once it’s arrived (let’s get that artwork in the correct spot the first time, and spare yourself the patching and painting over the damage left by incorrect attempts)! Design professionals do all the research and hard work for you and can source everything you need with efficiency and certainty. Think of it as not only an investment in your home but an investment in your peace of mind.
Long story short, if you’re someone who has a very clear vision, is excited by the idea of building your own unique concept and moodboards, is confident to draw up a scale floor plan, will painstakingly collect and compare samples of all your fabrics and finishes to ensure cohesion, and can run a tight spreadsheet – then you might just be an ideal candidate for DIY! …and if just the thought of all of that overwhelms you, it might be time to invest in the help of a professional! The cherry on top is that by using a design expert, there is a chance your home might be featured in one of the many home magazines you’ve been flipping through for inspo! You can check out a selection of my project media features here.
Either way, whether you decide to hire a pro or DIY, I’d like to leave you with this little reminder – ‘Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.’ (Nate Berkus). If you are creating a home you love, that is the ultimate goal, regardless of how you get there. So, choose your own adventure, enjoy the process and good luck!