The Interior Designer In a Do-It-Yourself Age

Published: November 4th, 2013

“Why buy their style when you can create your own?” reads the ad for a major retail furniture chain.  “If you love it, it works!”   This is, after all, the age of HGTV and, and thousands of homeowners are feeling empowered to engage in do-it-yourself home decorating without the benefit of an interior designer.   In many ways, this represents an exciting change. A sense of style is not exclusive to interior designers, and homeowners with great taste are creating residential spaces of beauty and charm. If you are such a homeowner who also possesses interest, time, and patience — the results of your work may be as rewarding as anything you might achieve with professional guidance.

So when is it worth it to hire an interior designer?  The financial advantages are fairly well-known, such as avoiding costly mistakes, having access to better quality furnishings and materials, increasing the value of your home,  staying within budget,  and obtaining efficiency in working with other professionals such as architects.

Still, I think there is a much more essential answer to this question that captures not just the economic benefits of hiring a designer but the aesthetic ones as well.  The fact is, great interior designers bring to their work a unique set of talent, training, skills, imagination and perspective that elevates style to the level of art.   When we ponder a painting, hear great music, or watch an outstanding dance performance, “we find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time,” as Thomas Merton observed.  So it is with great design.

Choosing between your style and that of an interior designer is a false dichotomy.  Rather, your personal style, passions, and values become the inspiration — the foundation, really — for an artist who expresses them through interior design.     “Art,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “is the most intense mode of individualism the world has known.”  To that I would simply add that great interior design is great art, reflecting who you are in ways you never imagined.

Living life well is also a work of art. If we are fortunate, we create a masterpiece.  The great interior designer, as artist, imagines a one-of-a-kind home for you that meets that standard.   If that is the standard to which you aspire, an interior designer can insure that you achieve it.