Decorating 101: Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?

Learn the advantages and disadvantages of decorating alone and bringing in skilled help.

Once you’ve figured out what you want your home to look like, the big question is: Should you decorate it yourself or hire a professional? Or both?

Interior decorators and designers as we know them today barely existed before the 20th century. Before that it was taken for granted that you decorated your home yourself, unless you were Marie Antoinette or somebody with a similar pedigree.

Old habits die hard. Some people still think you need to live in a palace to hire a decorator, or are fearful of the cost (whether real or perceived). For others it’s not so much a question of money, but of ceding control and having the concern that the results might not reflect their tastes. Some dive into the collaborative process without hesitation, while others have confidence in their tastes and skill and prefer to decorate their homes themselves.

Which camp do you fall into? Here are some things to think about to help you decide.

Decorate myself or hire a professional?

Advantages of Decorating Your Home Yourself

Obviously, decorating your home yourself means you won’t have to pay someone else to do it. The results will truly reflect your personal taste, and you’ll be able to take full credit for them. If you’ve gone through the process before and were pleased with the results, there’s no reason not to do it again.

Dining Room DIY Decor

Whether the DIY route will work for you will depend on your strengths. If you know what you like and you know what makes you tick, you’ll love everything you choose. You can also do the project in stages, as funds allow, and you won’t face the challenge of trying to convey your likes and dislikes to a stranger.


Living Room Undecorated

Disadvantages of Decorating Your Home Yourself

You could mess up. And you’ll either need to live with that error for years to come or pay a large sum of money to make it go away.

Do you have the ability to visualize? Are you a creative type? If you’re not, then you need some help, because it is expensive, and you don’t want to make any mistakes.

Furniture Store

The DIY route won’t necessarily save you money. Decorating can be a time-consuming proposition with a steep learning curve and a huge number of decisions that need to be made. What’s your time worth? Will that outlay of time justify the fees you’ll be saving? If you make a mistake and something has to be redone, will you forfeit your savings?

In America a large percentage of home furnishings are sold to the trade only at wholesale designer showrooms. So what you’ll see in stores is only a fraction of the merchandise that’s available. While some showrooms permit public access, you’ll still need to buy through a designer.


Living Room Professionally Decorated

Advantages of Hiring an Interior Designer

Hiring an interior designer will give you access to a large selection of to-the-trade-only furnishings, fabrics and wall coverings that otherwise you’d probably never see, and the services of workrooms and tradespeople that the designer has cultivated relationships with over the years. You can potentially end up with a beautiful home tailored to your tastes and lifestyle, and furnished with pieces chosen by an expert for their beauty, quality and durability.

If you have the budget, that’s the way you should go, because you’re going to have something custom to you. Having someone who can affirm your decisions is really positive! Designers can save you money. And they can save you from repaying for something.