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3 cheap ways to get interior design advice

Let’s face it, setting up your home’s interior so it’s at once attractive and livable is more difficult than you’d first assume. One problem is, few of us have the budget to buy all new, matching furniture, fancy, framed artwork, and all the knick nacks and accessories to go with them.
However, there’s a lot more to interior design than your mismatched couches, and professional interior designers know how to work with what you have. Don’t have the cash for hiring your own interior designer? Here are some ways of getting professional decorating advice without shelling out the big bucks.
Ask around at the local college
Chances are good that there are budding interior designers at your town’s college or university that would love the chance to practice their craft. Their services may come with a nominal fee, or it may be free, depending on if they’re just looking to build their portfolio or if your home could qualify as a class assignment. Look for students nearing completion of their degree to ensure they have all the proper knowledge of furniture layout, proper proportioning, and the color wheel.
You might also try asking around at your local home improvement stores. Not only will you already be in the right place for purchasing the materials to create your design, but Dina Morgan, chair of the interior design program at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, said, “A lot of our students work [at home improvement and furnishing] stores while they’re going to school—so they’re taking interior design classes.” Morgan went on, “So you’re getting some student interior design advice from someone who’s passionate about where they’re going to be in the next few years.”
Watch a DIY show on HGTV
You’d be surprised how much you can learn just by watching a TV show. Popular series like Fixer Upper and Property Bros go through the steps of many DIY projects that can drastically improve the look and feel of your home’s interior. Alternatively, there’s a lot of DIY ideas to be found on Pinterest and YouTube. And all of these options are free.
Get a consultation
A slightly pricier but still affordable option is to hire an interior designer to consult on your home, but not actually create and implement a design plan. A consultation might include color ideas or pointers on how to space your furnishings.
For instance, Sebastian Rako didn’t have the budget for a full interior design plan, but he was able to hire a newly-launched designer who was offering her services for $45 an hour as she builds her portfolio to come and give him tips on design for his 1,100 square foot apartment. She gave him the ideas—like move his couch to a different wall and remove the casters from his bed—and he did the labor.
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