To help! You’re trapped in a Pinterest loop and can’t get out. You’ve decided to try your hand at interior design – you have an idea of what good design entails, plenty of ideas (and TikTok tutorials), even some stylish furniture or artwork. But before you know it, you’ve fallen down an internet rabbit hole of ideas upon ideas.
This creative spiral is why people hire a full-service interior design firm to manage the project from start to finish. “There’s so much inspiration out there, but people don’t know how to recreate it themselves,” says designer Monica Stewart of The Misfit House in Athens, Georgia, who works with The Expert, a platform of interior decoration which offers virtual consultations of 130 creators.
If your project and budget are small, hiring a full-service designer may not be an option. However, booking a one-time session with a decorator or home stager for interior design advice can solve a design conundrum, and homeowners and remodelers can get personalized expert advice directly from professionals to much less than a complete end-to-end project. Design by the hour gives clients access to busy designers who could be booked for months for whole house renovations. When you book an in-person, in-store or video consultation, the design expert gives you advice and a proposal for furniture and accessories. You might even qualify for their trade discount if they place orders for hardware, accessories, or fabric on your behalf.
“We help people solidify their ideas into something cohesive, and they walk away with confidence and a game plan,” says Sarah Zames, designer and co-owner of General Assembly design studio and Assembly Line, her new brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn. . “We direct clients to resources and they execute the project.” Hourly rates are based on type of service, location, and level of expertise, but tend to start around $50. Here are some interior design consulting services to consider.
Tap your furniture store for advice
Stop by an independent furniture, antique, or home goods store for free, tangible design advice from knowledgeable homeowners. Some designers may even have a boutique and offer in-store consultations like Zames and co-owner Colin Steif. These one-on-one design sessions are great for finding out where to hang a mirror or what style of coffee table goes best with a new sofa. The recent Zames client, who had never hired an interior designer before, booked an in-store session to get design advice for her new, white-boxed condo. The client prepared a list of targeted actions, and the designers recommended fixtures, paint colors, and carpet to accommodate sufficient floor play time that is part of the client’s lifestyle.
This type of design help is for people looking to update a few spots that don’t warrant hiring a company. Clients can also benefit from commercial pricing, just as they would if they hired a full-time designer.
Book a session with a home stager in your area
Home stagers can be less expensive than a full-service interior decorator, but still offer solid advice, especially when it comes to recommendations on furniture scale, fixtures, or artwork placement . “My design clients are usually a young family who’s researched decorators, but they’re not approachable,” says Kyra Frankel, designer and set designer at Angle Poise Design in Brooklyn. “They have a specific aesthetic and parts that need to stay, so I’m coming up with a design plan that incorporates those with new parts.” Frankel says his clients are pretty independent. “Some customers just need me to help them with the size of the mat and where to place or [to figure out] good floor finishes. She provides her customers with a PDF of specific pieces for scale and style, like a Lucite coffee table for a small living room, with in-store purchase recommendations.
Book a virtual consultation
Designers across the country are offering hourly virtual sessions on platforms such as Modsy, Havenly and The Expert. These services help create a vision based on your space, manage item orders (sometimes with a trade discount), and can even request samples and track delivery. Stewart recently worked with a couple who used The Expert to outfit a gender-neutral nursery in an attic with a fireplace and old plaster walls. Clients uploaded their ideas and floor plan to the site, and Stewart created an inspiration board that included all the sources, brand names and colors her clients could explore. “Even small projects take time, but this way I can [help clients] choose wallpaper or tile as a starting point,” says Stewart.
Hire a painting consultant
Whether you have a blank slate or need a paint refresh, a paint consultant can narrow down your choices, help you with a color scheme, recommend the best paint finish, and even give you advice on paint finishes. complementary ceiling and trim colors. Their expertise can also help you avoid paint pitfalls such as the undesirable effects of light (or lack thereof) on hue, as well as prevent paintwork from clashing with existing furniture and fixtures. “Clients call me to develop whatever they want,” says Amy Krane, founder of Amy Krane Color. When faced with a request for a green kitchen, it does not have all the green hues. Instead, Krane goes through the fan deck, settling on six to 10 maybe. She shares her notes and sends paper samples to customers who then buy the paint themselves.