Home Decorating Tips

DIY Decorating vs. Using a Professional

This kitchen, with its center island, provides the perfect location around which the family can gather.

DIY decorating versus using a professional is a consideration not to be taken lightly. Kitchen and bath upgrades generally require experts and installers who are familiar with building codes, plumbing, and wiring.­

Structural work demands a licensed architect or designer/builder as well as licensed contractors and skilled tradespeople. Smaller-scale jobs with no construction involved are the safest endeavors for do-it-yourselfers.

By doing your own work, you save money, you have control of the schedule, and when it's done you get the credit. However, decorating entails time and energy. Be honest with yourself. If you like to sew and hate to paint, make the drapes and hire a painter.

An interior designer specializes in aesthetics but can also draw floor plans and construction documents. Although not as well trained in dealing with projects that affect the exterior and structure of a house, interior designers who list ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) after their names have received a degree from an accredited school of design, have had full-time work experience, and have passed an exam given by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.

Designers charge for their services any number of ways: Some request a flat fee covering their design and supervision; others charge a retainer for their services and an hourly rate; some add a fixed percentage to designer-discounted prices to yield a profit; and still others use a combination of all these methods.

To ascertain which designer is for you, collect references and conduct interviews. Find names by visiting the local chapter of the ASID or trying the Web. Equally as important as the designer's portfolio and credentials is how well you bond. You want a designer you feel comfortable with, who understands your goals, and who will do his or her best to see that those goals are met.

Laying the groundwork -- determining how the room should function and feel and deciding the best way to finance the job and whether to seek assistance -- is a large accomplishment.

Now, set aside time to study what good design entails. Once grasped, these basic principles will help you look at every space with a better understanding of what's required to create the perfect setting every time. For example, choosing furniture and decorations that don't overwhelm a space or that appear to best advantage can be tricky. On the next page, learn how to achieve balance with decorating.

To learn more about interior design and get tips and information on decorating your home, visit:

  • Interior Decorating: Get tips on how to decorate your home and read about organizing a project and selecting an interior design that fits your lifestyle.
  • Decorating a Room: Find out how to decorate a room from floor-to-ceiling.
  • Decorating Styles: Are you traditional or eclectic? Learn about decorating styles for your home.
  • How to Design a Kitchen: Create a kitchen that works for you and get tips on how to choose and place appliances and create a decorating scheme.
  • Kids Rooms: Get tips on decorating your child’s room, with information on colors, smart strategies, and money-saving tips.