When Should You Hire A Design Professional
When Should You Hire A Design Professional
When Should You Hire A Design Professional


Last week on the blog…I shared 4 reasons why people WON’T hire an Interior Designer  In addition, I also talked about this on my  FB Live video.

This week, I’ll share some reasons on why you might want to consider working with a design professional.

But first, let’s recap. The 4 reasons people did NOT want to work with a design professional were:

  • Cost (design, furnishings or a combo of both)
  • Embarrassment (on the homeowner’s end)
  • Busy schedules (and the time it takes to get a job done)
  • Pushiness and an unwillingness to listen to the client’s needs/wants

Don’t contact a Design Professional if…

  1. You want to do it all yourself.
  2. You don’t have a specified budget.
  3. You aren’t ready to make the investment in your home and lifestyle.
  4. You’re not open to new ideas. A designer who only agrees with your thoughts may not be the best fit for you. Think “no” to the “yes wo-man”.

Key Tip: If you want free advice, stick to Pinterest or Houzz. I have many boards on Pinterest where I post loads of inspration to share and they are all catagorized for you to enjoy and look through.

Stories tell all.

Over the years, I’ve heard numerous stories from people who had both good and bad experiences. When the design process and relationships are good, the outcome is fabulous. When they are bad, the results are distrust, frustration and overall…projects that never reach their full potential both in terms of whether in asthetics, funtion and/or lifestyle enjoyment.

I completely “get” where these concerns come from and my heart goes out to those who don’t understand the value that a Design Professional brings to the table…no pun intended (well maybe just a little one.)

Before I became an Interior Designer, I had the privilege of watching my grandmother, Edna Jennett, impact lives in a very special way; one that left people endeared to her for life. Edna, (a.k.a. Mimi to us) was a self taught Interior Designer who got started in the industry after taking a floral class in her 40s. She went on to build a successful design practice in El Paso, TX; one that she worked in until the good Lord called her home.

Every person my grandmother worked with had rooms designed specifically for them and for their budget. Edna helped shape their homes into spaces they loved; ones that reflected who they were. She worked with big budgets and small ones…and viewed each with equal importance.

I had hope to work alongside of Mimi and learn what I could but unfortunately she died before I had the chance.

My father recently shared with me how Mimi would go on shopping trips and come back with items she’d purchased for specific people. She knew their style, taste and budget. Each homeowner who received a phone call about the piece she found for them would come in to her store and ultimately take it home. My Mimi knew them and they trusted her.

While I missed the chance of studying under her, I know that she helped shape who I am in my approach to design and how I think of it. I graduated knowing that I too wanted to help others solve challenges and live in beautiful spaces, while building rich and rewarding relationships.

Not everyone will need to bring in the “big guns”, but I do believe there comes a time when a homeowner should consider hiring a professional.

When should you hire a Design Professional?


Do hire a Designer…

when you are ready for professional help. Here are three key points to consider.

  1. If you are the DIY type, many designers will create a plan for you to go by to help you with shopping and sourcing, as a service. With the internet and design programs, it’s easy to share ideas and plans.
  2. Designers can also help you establish a realistic budget, as a service.
  3. Many designers will provide an initial consultation, as a service. From there, you can decide to go it alone or hire that person to help you complete the project. The consultation is something you will pay for, but it can be a very valuable first step!

Key Tip #1: Do your homework first if you are unsure of who’s coming to your home.  Research. Ask for design referrals. Ask lots of questions. The more you ask, the more educated decision you can make.

Key Tip #2: Working with a design professional is an investment in your home and your lifestyle. They too invest their time and resources to bring their A-game to you. A good working relationship is understanding what value is being provided and how you will benefit from working with the designer you choose.

You might be thinking, “OK…I’m ready to work with a Design Professional,now what?”

Here’s what you should know…

How to work with a Designer

If you or someone you know is getting ready to take on a design project, know that you can find a designer to help you achieve your goal. Interior design is an investment of time and money. It’s one that pays you back in terms of resale and most importantly, lifestyle.

When looking for a designer, consider the person, their skill set, their passion for what they do. Ask many questions of them to see if they are a good fit for your project. Get references. Understand how they work, what they charge, and what they provide.

If you have a budget, be honest and tell them what it is. A good designer will tell you if they can work within your numbers and if you’re being realistic.

Design Fees

There are many different pricing strategies designers choose from based on their busienss model.

Here’s a great aricle on Home Advisor that breaks it all down.

No matter what their price model is, a designer runs a business like any other service based provider. They too have business expenses, education, ongoing training, sources, skill sets, etc.

You’re paying for their expertise, contacts and knowhow to help you design the home of your dreams.

Interior Designer vs Decorator

There is a difference between a Designer and a Decorator. Interior Designers go to school for their professional degree; “decorators” do not. There are decorating programs a person can learn from, but they are not as technical as a design degree. That’s not to say that one is better than the other, but if you are looking for structural help such as in a new build or renovations to an existing home, do consider an Interior Designer over a Decorator.

That’s not to say that one person is better than the other because there are many Decorators who are extremely talented and knowledable. If you are looking for structural help, such as in a new build or renovations to an existing home, that is the time to consider an Interior Designer over a Decorator. Make sure they have strong working connections with architects and contractors as well.

An Interior Designer will offer turn-key services from beginning to end; typically Decorators do not. Should you care to manage the project yourself, you’ll want to make sure the project is organized to sail as smoothly as possible because there are always little unknowns that will come your way which can add cost and time to each project.

I created this infographic to help explain the main differences between a Designer and a Decorator. There are overlaps at times, but this should give you a good idea who does what based on their “title”.



What's the difference between Interior Designer and Decorator



My personal thoughts…

I believe good design doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. A Design Professional will help you make smart, functional and cost effective choices to reach your design goals and stay within budget.

I believe “beauty comes from within” and when it comes to design, it’s all about the family, how they function in their home and the items they choose to surround themselves with. Your home tells your personal story.

Any good designer will agree.

I believe you should never be afraid to talk with a Design Professional to help you create a home you love.  The money you’ll spend is an investment in your family, life and wellbeing. We have but one life to live and it’s meant to be lived well, don’t you agree?

And please don’t be embarrassed of your home. Designers and Decorators alike have seen it all.

Personally, my home is rarely ever perfect. Three kids, a big dog who shed, and life makes for messy rooms at times. We now have two kids in college, one still at home and our sweet Maya passed away this spring. The daily busy-ness has definitely slowed within our walls. While our rooms look more intact, a big part of me misses the mess. 

I believe that we can design the lives we want to live. In doing so change is required and that can scare many. Personally, I love change…who ever wants to remain stagnant?!

This is one of my most favorite quotes by Robin Sharma, and how perfect that it was put on a pillow!

Change is Hard Pillow Robin Sharma

This is not an affiliate link but you can find this pillow at BeHappy.me



Here's to embracing change and living a well designed life!Click To Tweet

Let’s talk!

What’s been your experience with working with a designer or decorator?

Are you on the fence and/or ready to begin a project?

If so, remember that I do have a FREE Home Project Planner for all my friends (subscribers) in our FREE Resource Library. Grab your copy if you haven’t already by signing up and joining our list.

Cheers to your and your home! I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Lisa Jennett Wood

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *