Do you drool over the rooms featured in home design magazines and websites and wish your home could look so put together? One reason those rooms are so fabulous is because they were created by people who really know what they are doing! A professional interior designer can give you confidence in your purchases and help you create a cohesive, styled home that is uniquely yours.
If you’re like me, it’s hard to decide about things like furniture size, styles, colors, fabrics and materials. Designers are trained to overcome the most daunting challenges. And, they are well-versed in floor planning, color theory, design styles, window treatments, paint, finishes, textiles, accessorizing and traffic flow. Coping with unusual room layouts and/or space challenges is part of their everyday job.
Here’s my hot tip for you this summer: Many furniture stores offer interior design services, either in-person or online, that you can tap for free or for a small fee that can be deducted from the price of any furniture you purchase later. You can sit down with their staff designer, either at the store or via video conference, and get great advice and gain access to hundreds of options that extend far beyond the website or showroom. Designers also help you avoid costly mistakes, which I learned from experience.
Here are five ways to make the most of the interior design talent at furniture stores:
- Pre-shop. Go online or visit the store before your appointment to familiarize yourself with the store merchandise that might be of interest. This will help the designer know your style.
- Measure and shoot. Measure the room you’re focusing on and create a layout with exact measurements, noting the placement of windows, alcoves, doorways and columns. Take photos from all angles to capture the layout and show the room you want to redecorate — including how it connects to adjacent rooms — and share these with your designer before your meeting.
- Grab a front-row seat. For a FaceTime, Zoom or phone consult, be ready to access the store’s website on your computer. Their online apps will take you on a 3D, 360-degree tour of your room layouts with various furniture options. This virtual tool helped me find an L-shaped sectional sofa that was slightly downsized and perfectly scaled for my small sitting area. If I had been on my own, I would have bought a model from the website that was way too large for the space.
- Baby steps into design expertise. Consulting with a furniture store designer is a good first step to experiencing the value of design expertise. If you have even a limited design budget, just a few hours — with no commitment beyond that — with a professional interior designer in your home can be worth every penny. One three-hour, in-home session with a designer years ago saved me a ton of money. How? I was seriously considering selling my home, but the designer’s furniture rearrangement was so transformative that I fell in love with my home again and decided to stay put!
- Add comfort. Visit our list of retailers and work with furniture stores that carry products containing CertiPUR-US®-certified foam to be sure the foam inside meets our rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability and is tested by independent, accredited testing laboratories.