Styling Tips

Why You Should Consult With A Designer Before DIY Decorating

Farmhouse Cottage Kitchen with White Shiplap and Tall Cabinets

Redecorating a room in your house can be a lot of fun.

But it can also be a lot of hard work, and it takes a hard hit to your wallet, too.

With all that time and money invested, it’s so important to be sure you’re doing the right things the right way.

You’ve probably spent hours upon hours studying blogs and stalking Instagram designers and watching HGTV and pinning like a madwoman (or man), so in your mind, you’re a freakin’ pro.

You know exactly what you want, how you want it, why you want it, and how it’s going to be.

Sound familiar?

Well don’t go making it rain on the furniture store just yet.

While not everyone needs a designer to build their redecoration plans, it’s such a good idea to consult with one first.

Interior designers and stylists do more than just shop for pretty things and throw them into rooms and say “ta-da!”

They take into account important aspects that homeowners sometimes overlook.


For example, when you’re out scouting for a new sofa, you probably look for something that is the color you like first.

Your second priority is material.

Third would be comfort (or squishiness, as most of my clients say).

Fourth, is size.

Whoa, wait a minute, your fourth priority is size???

And here’s what I’m told, “If I love it that much, I’ll make it fit.”

Um….see the problem here?

Designers Often Offer Helpful Tips For DIY Decorators At A Much Lower Cost Than Having A Full Project Scope

One of the biggest rookie mistakes when it comes to DIY decorating is not taking into account scale.

Scale is how the objects in a room fit within the space to provide optimal traffic flow and livability.

If you’ve got a small space and you cram a huge sectional, a huge coffee table, two end tables, and a huge entertainment center, you’ve just demolished every bit of breathability in the room.

Think of it as the lady at the fancy restaurant that just did it up a little too much.

The orange spray tan, the five chunky necklaces, the giant chandelier earrings, the six other earrings going up the side of her ear, the prom hair, the jewels in the hair, the glitter eyeshadow, the fuchsia blush, the nine bangle bracelets, the rings on every finger…must I go on?

Too much right? Now throw a puffy mink coat over her dress, a flashy bag, sparkly shoes, and a thick gust of perfume that trails behind her as she walks past you.

That’s your cluttered room. Ew, right?

Tour this stunning farmhouse style lakeside cottage at In The New House Designs

Aside from making sure your room doesn’t look like a Real Housewife of Fancypants Town, other things you may not consider include

The Style Of Your Home’s Original Character

The Flow Of The Other Rooms In Your Home

Color Pairings With Wood Floor and Furniture Tones

Electrical Outlet and Wiring Placements

Lighting Options

Functional Layouts

Traffic Flow

Incorporating Existing Pieces With New Pieces

Designers and Stylists also have a bit of an advantage up their sleeve.

Since their job is basically to scout out perfect pieces for homes, they can usually offer money saving suggestions you may not have thought about.

They know the best places to buy quality furniture, the places to stay away from, the window treatments that will work for your home, they can help establish how to build the room so it works best for the needs of your family, and they really do have great advice.

Most designers and stylists offer consultations and idea sessions as a service, which allows you to still do the work yourself (and save a lot of money) but have the professional tips in your back pocket as a guide to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Overall, people who consult a designer or stylist before tackling a DIY decorating job are happier with their space and are much less likely to redecorate again in the near future.

Let’s face it. Furniture is expensive. Painting sucks. And spouses roll their eyes when we mention redecorating.

Getting it right the first time is totally worth it. And that consultation is a non-negotiable.

Relaxing Coastal Cottage

So what happens when you book a consultation?

What goes down?

It can go one of two ways.

You can work with a local designer or stylist who would either visit you at your home or a public place like a coffee shop.

Or you can work with someone online who would chat with you digitally.

Both options work great, and neither are better than the other since you aren’t actually hiring them to do any physical work for you. You are basically looking for someone who pairs well with your personality.

The actual session should feel like a conversation between friends.

You sit down, chat, ask questions, get answers, gain ideas, and walk away feeling empowered to start your project without any doubt that you won’t love it. And a good designer or stylist usually leaves the conversation door open so you can contact them throughout your project with any additional issues that arise (within reason, don’t bombard them daily with emails).

To make the session a little less nerve-racking for you, I created a worksheet for you to use during your own consultation.

The first section is a little pre-work for you to jot down info about your project, needs, wants, and personal style.

The second section contains helpful questions to ask your designer or stylist, just in case your brain goes blank in the middle of the session. I’ve also left some blank spots for you to add your own Q’s.

This worksheet is perfect for anyone planning to work with a designer or stylist, whether it’s for a full project or just a consultation. It really helps get your thoughts in order and gather awesome ideas.

You can download and print it FOR FREE right here.

If you’re ready to start your own redecorating project and you’d like to chat with me, I provide these exact brainstorm session services!

For one hour, we go over anything and everything you’d like to know.

You get my full attention, and you can ask whatever you’d like.

You can even put me on Skype or FaceTime and walk me around your house for a virtual tour if you want.

Or we can just chat via phone or online and I can share my tips to help you with your upcoming project.

To find out more and schedule your session, click here!


Sidenote: Loving the little glimpse of the adorable cottage I’m showing off? That’s my sweet friend Caroline’s Canadian Cottage Lake House. You can tour the house and read all about the renovation (plus see a few before photos) in this post. It’s absolutely stunning!


  1. Yeah because sometimes you’ve got so many creative wonderful ideas but you don’t know where to start. That’s where the struggle begins.

    • Lela Burris

      You’re so right! Sometimes too many ideas can actually be a bad thing. It’s hard to decide which direction to go. Thanks so much for your comment!

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