do i need an interior designer for my new space

Do I Need an Interior Designer for My New Space?

Matt Ho by Matt Ho on Apr 1, 2016
Why you should care

We break down what an interior designer does and how much they cost so you can decide if you need one.

Hiring the right interior designer is similar to finding a good date on Tinder – it takes time and chemistry.

If you’ve watched home improvement channels, you’ve probably seen those shows where interior designers (IDs) work with homeowners to completely redo a room or an entire home within a short amount of time, and on a shoestring budget no less.

Spoiler alert: no such thing.

In the real world, doing so much in such a small amount of time just isn’t possible, even with the help of a professional interior designer. In this article, you’ll learn some of the pros and cons of hiring an interior design consultant.

But first, Interior Designer vs. Decorator

There’s a difference.

A decorator is more focused on the décor of the space. He/she might have a knack for home furnishing and décor aesthetics, but would not have gone through official training to adopt the title.

An interior designer, on the other hand, has gone through some type of official training and owns a permit. Interior designers are also often involved with the project from start to finish, even throughout the building process. A sketch of the proposed finished look is part of an interior designer’s service.

interior design vector sketch

The Pros of Hiring the Pros


1 Don’t Do-it-Yourself

You don’t have to do the dirty work. Literally. No more driving around comparing prices of tiles and countless hours of crawling online for inspiration only to be distracted by a video of kittens getting stuck in a blanket.

2 The Big Picture

retro furniture


Interior designers can see the bigger picture. You can show them just one pattern/item/furniture that inspires you and they can design the whole room around that item.

They also help make your home “flow” from one room to another. This can prevent an instance where one room from looks like a hipster café having a garage sale and the other like Martha Stewart designed it.

3 Functional Beauty

Probably the most alluring part of hiring an interior designer is that they can make your home both beautiful and functional. Storage that is easy on the eyes? Check. A couch that satisfies Feng Shui and comfort needs? Double check.

giant bookshelf


4 Savings

While interior designers can come with a hefty price tag, they can potentially save you money in the long run. Making mistakes with poor furniture choices, the wrong shade of paint, or low quality materials can cost you.

Even if you’re able to live with a poor decision, the frustration it costs might value higher than the cash.

5 Well-Connected

As many of them have been in the business for years, interior designers are rich in industry connections. They have contractors and suppliers on speed dial, and they know who does quality work.

Designers may also have access to furniture and materials that you will not be able to access. This means that you may have pieces that are truly unique to your home versus something that everyone you know has purchased at a major Swedish furniture store.

The Other Side… 



Knowledge in colour and design comes at a price, one which relies largely on the size of the project and the interior designer’s level of expertise.

Interior designers charge in different ways, depending on the service(s) you hire them for. Those who are only involved in the design process will charge for design sketches or a design fee, while those who are involved with the entire project including construction will charge a commission of 20% – 40% of the construction work.

2Chemistry Doesn’t Come Easy

Picking an interior designer takes effort, trust, and chemistry. You will have to research for one that fits your budget, style, and personality.

Style is obvious – if you’re going for a rustic look, it would make little sense to hire a contemporary interior designer.

Personality, however, is more important than one might think. It’s your home and their project – you’d need to be able to bounce ideas back and forth, communicate openly and honestly, and ultimately trust the professional to make it work.

3Personal Styles

Interior designers are people with their own specific tastes and ideas too, so be sure to look through their portfolio.

It’s important to hire someone whose work you like. Always set clear expectations for each other. It’s crucial to give a clear idea of what you specifically hope to gain from the project.

rustic living room


4 Patience is the Virtue

When working with a popularInterior designer, you may not be their only priority. Often times, after you hire an interior designer it could be days, weeks, or even months before your project gets to the top of their to-do list.

This means that working with this type of professional requires a little bit of patience and a flexible timetable for when you and your home will cross that finish line.

5 New #BFF (Best Friends Forever)

If you’re hoping to maintain the serenity of your home (as well as your sanity), hiring anInterior designer might not be for you. A goodInterior designer will be doing much more than just decorating your space — they’ll be staging rooms, hiring contractors, architects, and painters; and generally creating controlled chaos in the service of turning your home into a personalised paradise.

Even a project that only lasts a month or two can feel like an eternity when you’re suddenly faced with a barrage of workers and the not-so-soothing sounds of their power tools.

So…do you need an interior designer? Here’s a list of questions that can help you quickly decide:

  • Do you spend the majority of your time working/taking care of your home and family?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of paint and fabric choices that are available?
  • Did you begin your redecorating process by buying a few items, then get lost when it was time to place them?
  • Do you save images from the Pinterest/Instagram, but wonder how to give your home the same look?
  • Do you and your significant other disagree on what to do with the home?
  • Do you feel that you need design inspiration?
  • Do you have budget to spare for design fees?

If most your answers are yes, then you should probably hire an interior designer!

Why you should care

We break down what an interior designer does and how much they cost so you can decide if you need one.

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