Should You Hire an Interior Designer or DIY Your Home Renovation?

For major renovation projects like kitchens, bathrooms, and whole home makeovers, hiring a professional interior designer is strongly recommended. Their expertise with design principles, project management, insider connections, and experience creating functional, beautiful spaces makes them well worth the investment for extensive projects.

For minor upgrades like a single room refresh or adding unique flair to your existing décor, DIY interior design can work well. The ability to personalize the space fully to your taste and work within a set budget makes small-scale DIY projects rewarding. Evaluate your goals, budget, timeline, and abilities to decide if a designer is right for larger projects

Thesis: Hiring an interior designer is the best option for major home remodels and designs due to their expertise. DIY is better for small projects.

  • Designers have experience, save you time, avoid mistakes in home improvement
  • Good for major remodels, whole home, specialty rooms
  • DIY works for small projects, budgets, and added personalization
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The Benefits of Hiring a Professional interior designer

Experience and Expertise

  • Knowledge of design principles and architectural styles
  • Understand building codes and regulations
  • Have design degrees and certifications

Insider Connections

  • Strong relationships with contractors, tradespeople, vendors
  • Can get discounted rates on furnishings and materials

Pro Tip: Leverage your designer’s connections to get the best prices from suppliers and contractors.

Saves You Time and Effort

  • Handling all details and project management
  • No need to source, purchase materials yourself
  • Oversees the construction and installation process

Hiring a designer handles the heavy lifting of your project to save you time and hassle.

3D Renderings

  • Provide detailed 3D renderings of the proposed designs
  • Allows you to visualize the finished space before starting

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Quality Materials and Furnishings

  • Have access to higher end product lines and brands
  • Recommend best options for your project goals and budget
  • Avoid cheap items that won’t last

When to Hire a Professional Designer

  • Major remodels like kitchens, bathrooms, additions
  • Whole home redesigns and renovations
  • Specialty rooms like home theaters and wine cellars
  • To maximize resale value before selling your home

A professional designer’s expertise is highly recommended for extensive projects or luxury interior space. 

Potential Downsides of Hiring a Designer

Be aware of these factors when deciding:

  • Cost – their fees plus charges can add up
  • May have to compromise on some creative control
  • They often specify more expensive furnishing, materials and design ideas

The Benefits of DIY Interior Design

More Affordable for small scope of work

  • Saves money by not paying designer fees
  • More control over your total budget

Creative Control

  • Make every decision based on your personal taste
  • Add your own unique style and flair

Gain New Skills

  • Learn interior design principles
  • Practice hands-on skills like painting, building furniture

Personalized Style

  • Entirely customized to how you want the space to look and feel
  • Not limited by a designer’s vision

When DIY Interior Design Works Best

Smaller Projects

  • A single room redesign or update
  • Simple changes like new window treatments
  • Adding decor and personal flair to a space

Tight Budgets

  • If you need to stick to a strict budget
  • For minor upgrades vs. major remodels

Enough Time

  • If you have the time to dedicate to researching and completing the project

DIY Project Checklist

  •  Smaller in scale
  •  Simple in complexity
  •  Have the time to dedicate
  •  Within your skill level
  •  Fits your budget constraints


  • For major renovations, hiring a designer is usually worth the investment
  • DIY interior design works best for smaller projects and budgets
  • Consider your goals, budget, and project scope to decide if you should hire a pro

Key Takeaway: Weigh the benefits of hiring a designer vs. taking on the project yourself for your unique situation and goals. Their expertise is valuable for large-scale, complex renovations.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Interior Designer

Hiring an experienced interior designer for your home renovation or redecoration project provides many valuable benefits compared to a DIY approach.

Interior Design Expertise

Professional designers have:

  • Formal training and education in interior design principles
  • Knowledge of architectural styles and design aesthetics
  • Experience applying designs to real homes and spaces

This specialized expertise allows them to develop functional and visually appealing designs tailored to your home.

 An interior designer has the skills and training to craft spaces that align with your personal style and needs.

Insider Connections

Designers have cultivated relationships with:

  • Contractors, tradespeople, and installers
  • Furniture and décor suppliers
  • Product vendors and manufacturers

These connections allow them access to:

  • Discounted rates and pricing
  • Hard to find or exclusive décor items
  • New and innovative materials and textiles

Leverage your designer’s network to get better prices and unique pieces.

Project Management

diy interior designer working on home project
diy interior designer working on home project

Hiring a pro means:

  • They handle all the details and coordination
  • No need to source, purchase materials yourself
  • Oversees the construction and installation process
  • Ensures seamless execution from start to finish

This saves you time and headache trying to manage everything yourself.

The right interior designer brings specialized expertise, connections, and experience that makes the design process smoother and more successful.

In summary, a professional interior designer’s skills and expertise are valuable assets for major home renovations or designs. Their insider knowledge helps craft beautiful, functional spaces that align with your vision and lifestyle.

When to Hire an Interior Designer

Certain interior design projects call for bringing in a professional designer versus attempting them as a DIY job.

Major Remodels

For major remodels like:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Additions
  • Basement finishing

Hiring a designer is recommended because:

  • The scope is large and complex
  • Mistakes can be very costly
  • Require expertise to execute properly

Don’t attempt extensive remodels without the help of a qualified interior designer.

Whole Home Redesigns

For projects like:

  • A complete home renovation
  • Restyling or modernizing the entire home

A designer can:

  • Create a cohesive design scheme
  • Oversee all the details and staging
  • Help bridge your old and new design aesthetics

Specialty Rooms

For specialty spaces like:

  • Home theaters
  • Wine cellars
  • Swimming pool rooms
  • Game rooms

Hire a designer to:

  • Maximize the functionality of the space
  • Incorporate necessary AV, lighting, acoustics
  • Include key design details that align with the room’s purpose

Professionals have the specific knowledge to design specialty rooms that meet your unique needs.

pro interior designer working on a client project
pro interior designer working on a client project

Resale Value

Hiring a designer prior to listing your home allows them to:

  • Create wider appeal for potential buyers with design trends
  • Recommend strategic upgrades to maximize value with their design plan
  • Stage the home in the best light and select the best paint colors

This can lead to selling your home faster and for more money.

In summary, for major renovations, whole home projects, specialty rooms, or preparing a home for sale, a professional designer is strongly advised over DIY. Their experience and expertise is crucial for these large-scale, complex interior design projects.

Potential Downsides of working with an interior designer

While professional designers provide valuable services, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

Costs Add Up

  • Designer fees
  • Material and furnishing charges
  • Construction and labor costs

Hiring out can increase project budgets, especially for larger scopes and complex technical aspects of interior designing.

Creative Control

  • The designer drives most decisions
  • You may have to compromise on some personal preferences

If you want full creative control, DIY may be better.

Pricier Options

  • Designers suggest higher-end brands and materials
  • Top choices for quality but can boost budgets

If sticking to a fixed budget, be prepared for potential compromises.

Weigh the benefits of a designer’s expertise against increased costs and less control before deciding.

While designers add value, be realistic about how their involvement may impact your costs, creative freedom, and material choices for the project.

The Benefits of DIY Interior Design

Doing your own interior design work has some key advantages compared to hiring a professional designer.

Cost Savings

  • Avoid designer fees and markups
  • Shop sales and discount retailers
  • Reuse furniture and décor you already own

DIY is significantly cheaper than outsourcing the work.

Interior designer photographing a large open space
Interior designer photographing a large open space

Creative Control

  • Make every choice based on your personal taste
  • Add your own unique style and flair
  • Not limited by someone else’s vision

DIY allows you to create a space that fully matches your preferences.

Learn New Skills

  • Research principles of interior design
  • Practice decorating techniques hands-on
  • Gain experience with tools, building, and installations

DIY interior design develops your skills and expands your decorating knowledge.

Personalized Outcome

  • Fully customized to your aesthetic
  • Incorporate meaningful pieces with sentimental value
  • Reflects your personality and lifestyle

The end result will be a space you designed entirely for yourself.

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When DIY Interior Design Works Best

DIY design is better suited for:

To Renovate Smaller Projects

  • A single room refresh or update
  • Quick changes like new window treatments
  • Adding unique flair to an existing design

Budget Conscious

  • If you need to stick to a strict budget
  • For minor upgrades vs. major remodels

Time and Interest

  • If you have the time to dedicate to the project
  • If you find the process creatively rewarding

Personalized Projects

  • Small ways to incorporate your unique style
  • Showcase your favorite pieces and heirlooms

DIY design allows you full creative freedom for projects of a smaller scale and budget.

In summary, DIY interior design works best when you want full control and personalization for more modest projects in terms of size, cost, and complexity.

interior of 17th_century_renovated_mews_house_italian_minimalist style
interior of 17th century renovated mews house italian minimalist style

Affordable Alternatives to Hiring an Interior Designer

Full-service interior designers can be costly. Here are two options that provide professional help for less:

Hire an interior decorator

Decorators focus on:

  • Color schemes
  • Furniture arrangements
  • Fabrics, finishes, and styling

They don’t provide:

  • Floorplans or layouts
  • Architectural or construction services

How Do You Know Your Home Needs a Makeover project? You can find out in Home Makeover Guide.


  • Lower rates than interior designers
  • Expertise with decorating principles
  • Help pulling together furnishings and décor

When to Use

  • Small projects like a room refresh
  • If you have floorplans already
  • Need help styling and dressing a space

Interior decorators offer decorating help at a lower price point than a full-service designer.

Online Interior Design Services

interior design online services
interior design online services

Online services provide decorating help virtually. Many options like:

  • Online questionnaires to understand your style
  • Access to designer chat or email support
  • Virtual 3D layouts and renderings
  • Guidance shopping for furnishings online

Benefits of interior decorator

  • Very affordable, starting under $100
  • Work from anywhere, no in-person meetings
  • Faster than traditional services

When to Use

  • If you’re on a tight budget
  • For small rooms or simple projects
  • If you want DIY guidance versus full service

Online interior design services make professional advice accessible at budget-friendly rates.

In summary, interior decorators and online services allow you to access professional decorating help and guidance at much lower price points compared to hiring a hands-on designer.

Consider these options if you want expertise without the higher costs.

tallbox virtual staging

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