5 Tips for Getting Decorating Help on a Super Tight Budget

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Unless you are a professional interior designer, decorating may not come naturally to you. Whether it’s choosing a sofa, finding the right size rug, or simply rearranging what you already have, sometimes we all need a little help.

However, hiring an interior designer may not be in your budget, or what you have questions about (such as choosing a single paint color or a rug) isn’t a big-enough project. That doesn’t doesn’t mean you can’t get help though. You just need to know where to find it—here’s how to get decorating help for free or cheap.

Get Free Help From Your Favorite Furniture Store

Looking to re-decorate your bedroom? Could your home office use a spruce-up? Are you furnishing a baby nursery? If you are having trouble choosing new furniture—your best bet is to go with the free design services that many of the furniture stores you know and love offer. West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, CB2, and Ballard Designs, all offer free interior design services. You can work virtually or in person depending on where you live. (Keep in mind, they will almost certainly recommend their own products for the space.)

Try Visualization Tools Online 

It’s not always easy to visualize what that coffee table will look like next to your accent chair. Fortunately, there are an array of free virtual tools from a variety of stores to help you with this. One particularly good option is from Williams Sonoma Brands which includes Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Teen, Pottery Barn Kids, Green Row, Rejuvenation, West Elm, West Elm Kids, and Willams Sonoma Home. This online tool lets you create virtual rooms using pieces from all of the brands for free. Best of all, it’s easy to use.

For those with tighter budgets, IKEA also has free visualization tools. You can also plan kitchens, bathrooms, and home offices.  

Consider Virtual Services

Do you want a room to have that designer touch without the designer price tag? Consider using virtual design services like Havenly, which starts at just $159 per room. This is also a fantastic choice if you currently have things you’re looking to design around like an antique china cabinet that belonged to your grandmother. 

However, Havenly isn’t your only affordable option. Decorilla is another service that offers packages by room as well as hourly rates. Space Joy is another fantastic choice if you are looking to take your space to the next level with paint and window treatment options.

There are also services that are product-specific, like Ernesta, which is a brand that makes custom-sized rugs and offers free virtual design services over Zoom, so you can choose the right material and size for your specific space. Rug regret will surely be avoided. 

Browse Reddit

On the fence about an accent wall? Does your new house really need to be entirely repainted? If you’re not sure and want the advice of total strangers, Reddit is free and filled with people just waiting to share their opinions. Post all the pictures you want and ask every question completely anonymously. While this isn’t professional assistance, sometimes we’re just uncomfortable asking our friends for help or discussing costs. A few subreddits to consider include r/HomeDecorating, r/interiordecorating, and r/DesignMyRoom. 

Talk With A Famous Pro (At A Reasonable Price)

Are you frustrated with wallpaper choices? Sweating between two sconces?  Intro is a platform that connects you with some of the best interior designers in the business including Nate Berkus and Alexa Hampton, as well as some accessibly-priced but still incredible talent including Jennifer Hunter, Sara Weichel, and Sasha Bikoff. Each designer sets their rates. This is a particularly good idea for those who have a very specific style in mind and just want a pro to bounce ideas off of. 

Article Written By: Amanda Lauren; Published in Real Simple 3/7/24

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