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Shelley Craft

Shelley joins longstanding ambassador and interior designer Darren Palmer and is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and advice with budding renovators.


Should I hire an interior designer to do the work for me?

Should I hire an interior designer to do the work for me?

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Those awesome rooms you see when you flick through Pinterest or Google Images for inspiration didn't just end up on the internet because someone snapped them on their iPhone. The chances are that they were the product of an interior design showreel; the portfolio photos of a budding interior designer showing off their work.

But it's hard not to think that you could do it yourself. They make it look so easy! Most people won't bother hiring a designer for redoing their interior. The cost alone can seem unnecessary when you know that no one knows what you want better than yourself.

But if you're toying with the idea of getting a designer in, it probably means you're already aware of some of the benefits. For starters it means that an expert will come to assess your needs and desires and maybe add a little something that you'd not have thought of yourself.
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Plus getting a designer in might actually save you time. It can take a day or so to do a full paint job, and that's before you've even started on anything else. A full room renovation rarely happens as fast as it does on TV when you're doing every little bit from scratch.

A lot of designers market themselves on being able tap into your thoughts, to work out what your really mean when you say you want something. This is the charm of getting a designer to come and do your interiors. They will pick up on your taste and character and give you something that you could only dream of, or something that suits you better than anything you could have come up with.

This might all sound a but sycophantic. There is another side to it, and it all depends on you and what you think your limits are. No one needs a designer, but that doesn't mean no one will benefit from a little design assistance.

Nonetheless, the bonus of not getting a designer in is that you don't have to pay for someone to tell you what you already know, you can't do yourself wrong when it comes to your taste. You can pick your own colours, shop for you own accessories and, at the end of the day you can put your feet up and know it was all your own work.

You can also learn a lot on the way. Redoing an interior isn't always just about a repaint. You have an opportunity to learn a load of new skills: upholstering furnishings, putting up shelves, varnishing, sanding, laying a carpet, putting up wallpaper. These are great things to know how to do yourself and add to that DIY satisfaction.
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But even if you think yourself as the keenest DIYer, you shouldn't rule out a designer. Unless you're a genuinely artistic or creative person your clever ideas might not really work in your space. You need a lot more than originality to bring a design that works to life, and doing it yourself can often lead to expensive mistakes. Interior designers know their trade and do it all the time. Picking the right designer is still important, but what they can add to even the most artistic of DIYers shouldn't be underestimated.

If you think you do need a bit of help when it comes to making the right design decisions, and you want get some inside knowledge on what looks good at the same time, then you could think about getting in an interior designer to work with you instead of just for you. Take an active role and talk through your ideas, get their expert opinion and then have your say throughout the design process.

It's your house, and even if you let someone else design it, you can still make sure you have it your way. Shop around, look at those pictures of perfect rooms online, see what sort of thing you're after, and what sort of designer you could learn from or work with. Then see what they have to say and what they can do for you. It might end up with you putting your feet up and watching that room you dreamt of coming to life before your eyes.
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