DIY design has become a booming industry. With the ever increasing popularity of HGTV, Houzz, and Pinterest, more people want the help of an interior designer to achieve a pulled together look for their home. Working with a design full-service is a luxury service. it is expensive and full-service designers sell higher quality expensive furniture
there are some services cropping up that allow budget minded homeowners to access decorating help. some services we are going to explore in the future are: Shopping/ designer on call, DIY plans, pre-made boards, etc. In future posts we will begin to look at eDesign services, and in-store service. I have three questions you will want to ask when you seek these services:
- Who are the providers?
- What do you get?
- For whom does this service work best?
DIY Design: Who Are the Providers?
Often these DIY design services are provided by the retail vendor themselves. Pottery Barn offers in store design assistance, but they also have a room designer that you can use on their website. If you’re a big fan of the Williams Sonoma brand of stores – Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Williams Sonoma Home – you may want to look into this. When you use their room planner you can add any piece of furniture and quite a few accessories from their catalog.
With the tool, you can create a room that is the size of the room you would like to decorate at home and add pieces of furniture. This is great because you can make sure that the furniture fits in your room. You can also see the furniture rendered in full color. Bonus: the program creates a shopping list for you, so all you need to do is click and pay!
The downside to using the Pottery Barn room planner is that you can’t view the room as a 3D perspective, only a flat floor plan. This means that it will be hard to make sure the furniture is the right scale for the room. The other downside is that you can only select from the Williams Sonoma family of stores. That means that if you want to incorporate something you already own or something from another store, you will have a hard time using the tool. It’s also not the easiest room planner tool I’ve ever used, and I’m a pro who has mastered several complex CAD programs, like AutoCAD, Chief Architect, and 2020.
We will be covering in-store design services in a few weeks.
Designer On-Call Services
This is a DIY design service where you can hire an interior designer or decorator to help support your decision-making. The providers are usually independently employed interior designer and decorators. They will work with you remotely and usually help you sort through ideas with the help of a Pinterest Board.
The benefit of working with a designer who sells this type of DIY service is that they will give you professional advice on the ideas that you already have. They’ll not only telly if something won’t work in a design plan, they will also tell why. They use the elements and principles of design to help you cultivate the look you want.
Paradigm Interiors Designer On-Call
I offer this service in my menu of services and I pack as much value into the service as I possibly can! I start each Designer On-Call project with a 90-minute video call where you and I get to know each other and the scope of the project you are working on. We have enough time for you to give me a virtual tour of your home. At the end of the video call, you receive a copy of the video to have on hand and access to any notes or sketches I may have made while we talked.
Then, we will set up a private Pinterest board to get you started on your project. We will share ideas and take a visually inventory of the items that would work in your space. Once the Pinterest board is set up, you will have 5 emails to use over a one-month period to ask the Paradigm Interiors team as many questions as you might have about your project! This is a great option for when you care actively engaged in the planning phase of your project!
In total, you get 3-4 hours of one-on-one time with an award-winning interior design team! A designer’s touch without a full-service price tag.
Summary of Designer On-Call
Not many designers offer this type of service. If this is a service that might meet your needs, I recommend looking for a firm that has this service in their menu of services. Many of the designers who are a part of the eDesign Tribe offer this service as well.
Design Courses & Binders
This is very much a DIY service, but I think it is a very interesting concept. The idea is that a professional designer or decorator will teach you how to decorate your home and create a beautiful space. I have not tried any of these programs, but they look very well done. The designers use video and written materials to teach you enough about decorating to get through your own home decorating project.
I found two DIY design courses online and my friend Val Grieg-Malnar is pre-selling her course right now. The two courses I found online are “The Design Genius System” and “Thoughtful Nesting.”
The Interior Design Advocate offers their Design Genius System for $299. It includes 7 videos with worksheets that you can complete at your own pace.
We have also created our own course. It is focused on helping pre-retirement couples create comfortable, functional, and adaptable homes without sacrificing beauty. You will learn specific concepts that will help you create a retirement-ready home that support your ideal retirement lifestyle without ever feeling like your living in a “retirement home.” You can access our course, “Feathering Your Empty Nest” on Teachable.com
DIY Design: Who Should Use It?
Pottery Barn Room Planner
This DIY design service works well for people who really love the Williams Sonoma brands. You also have to know what pieces will look great together. However, who this would work best for is someone who wants to see if a specific Williams Sonoma look will fit in a specific room in their home. So, you know how Pottery Barn and West Elm put entire rooms together for their catalog? You could completely replicate the look in this room planner. The advantage: you can make sure that everything fits.
If you think this is great for you, grab a catalog and re-create the look in the room styler to make sure it fits. Get that shopping list made and then… wait for the next BIG sale and buy your dream room!
Verdict: Best for people who want to test a Pottery Barn (or West Elm) look in the space of a specific room.
Designer on call is a DIY design service that works best for people who sort of already know what they want, but just want a professional opinion on how to pull everything together. So, this may not work well for people who don’t have a very good sense of style or decorating ability.
You usually need to be pretty proficient at using Pinterest as well. And, since these are online services, you also need to be proficient with communicating online.
This service works best for smaller projects, like styling a single room or selecting a paint palette for your home. This is not a service you would want to use if you are trying to plan a whole home remodel…
Verdict: Best for people who have a general idea of what they’re doing, but just need some validation on their final choices.
DIY Design Courses
Design courses are not for the faint at heart. You will need to do some work to learn this content. So, you need to have the time to invest in watching the modules and learning the content. You should also have a pretty good sense of style and interest in decorating to begin with.
That being said, courses are a fantastic idea for someone who wants to fully decorate a new home or if you’re planning to remodel and re-furnish your current home. A course could give you the tools you need to create an overall concept for your home and ensure that each rooms “flows” with that concept.
Verdict: Great for the highly invested DIY-er that is planning a whole home or multiple room project.
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