Get Interior Design Consultancy Without Hiring a Full Service Interior Designer | Architecture Digest

Help! You’re stuck in a Pinterest loop and can’t get out. You’ve decided to try your hand at interior design – you have a sense of what good design entails, lots of ideas (and TikTok tutorials), even elegant furniture or art. But before you know it, you’ve fallen down an internet rabbit hole of idea after idea.

This creative spiral explains why people hire a full-service interior design firm to handle 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 Athens, Georgia-based The Misfit House, who works with The Expert, an interior decorating platform that runs virtual Consultations offers 130 designers.

If your project and budget are small, hiring a full-service designer may not be an option. However, booking a one-time session with an interior designer or home stager for an interior design consultation can solve a design puzzle, and homeowners and renovators can get personalized expert advice directly from professionals for much less than a full end-to-end project. Hourly design gives clients access to busy designers who may be booked up for months on entire home renovations. If you book a personal consultation in store or via video, the design expert will give you tips and a suggestion for furnishings and accessories. Hourly rates vary based on the type of service, location, and expertise, but typically start at around $50. You could even benefit from the professional’s trade discount when they place orders for supplies, fixtures, or fabrics on your behalf.

“We help people consolidate their ideas into something cohesive, and they walk out with confidence and a game plan,” says Sarah Zames, designer and co-owner of design studio General Assembly and new store Assembly Line in New York Brooklyn. “We refer clients to resources and they execute the project.” Here are some interior design consulting services to consider.

Ask your furniture store for advice

Visit an independent furniture, antique, or home goods store for free and specific design advice from knowledgeable owners. Some designers may even have a store and offer in-store advice, like Zames and co-owner Colin Stief. These design tête-à-tête sessions are great for figuring out where to hang a mirror or which coffee table goes best with a new couch. The latest Zames client, who had never previously hired an interior designer, booked an in-store session for design advice for her new construction and white box condo. The client prepared a targeted action list and the designers recommended lighting fixtures, paint and a rug to allow for ample playtime on the floor, which is part of the client’s lifestyle.

This type of design help is for people who want to update a few spots that don’t justify hiring a company. Clients can also benefit from commercial pricing just like they would if they were hiring 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 designer, but still offer solid advice, especially when it comes to furniture sizing recommendations, lighting, or art placement. “My design clients are usually young families who have been looking for decorators, but they’re not affordable,” says Kyra Frankel, designer and director of Angle Poise Design in Brooklyn. “They have a certain aesthetic and pieces that need to stay, so I develop a design plan that connects those with new pieces.” Frankel says her clients are pretty independent. “Some customers just need my help with rug size and where to place it [to figure out] the right flooring.” She provides her clients with a PDF of specific pieces for size and style — such as B. a Lucite coffee table for a small living room – with purchase recommendations for shops.

Book a virtual consultation

Designers across the country are offering virtual hourly sessions on platforms like Modsy, Havenly, and The Expert. These services help create a vision based on your space, fulfill 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 furnish a gender-neutral children’s attic room with a fireplace and old plaster walls. Clients uploaded their ideas and floor plans to the site, and Stewart created an inspiration board with all the sources, brand names and colors for her clients to explore. “Even small projects take time, but I can do it this way [help clients] Choose a wallpaper or tile as a starting point,” says Stewart.

Hire a color consultant

Whether you have a blank slate or need a color refresher, a color consultant can narrow down your choices, help with a color scheme, recommend the best paint job and even offer advice on complementary ceiling and trim colors. Their expertise can also help you avoid painting pitfalls like unwanted lighting effects (or lack thereof) on the hue and preventing the color from clashing with existing furniture and fixtures. “Customers call me to expand their desires,” says Amy Krane, founder of Amy Krane Color. When faced with a request for a green kitchen, she doesn’t present all shades of green. Instead, Krane goes through the fandeck and decides maybe six to ten. She shares her notes and mails paper samples to customers, who then buy paint themselves.


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