Once you’ve figured out what you want your home to look like, the big question is: Should you decorate it yourself or hire a professional? Or both?

Interior decorators and designers as we know them today barely existed before the 20th century. Before that it was taken for granted that you decorated your home yourself, unless you were Marie Antoinette or somebody with a similar pedigree.

You know, you don’t really need to hire an expensive interior designer when you want to redecorate your home. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be the creative type, you may be surprised to find out just how creative you can be when you are using the right tools and resources.

Old habits die hard. Some people still think you need to live in a palace to hire a decorator, or are fearful of the cost (whether real or perceived). For others it’s not so much a question of money, but of ceding control and having the concern that the results might not reflect their tastes. Some dive into the collaborative process without hesitation, while others have confidence in their tastes and skill and prefer to decorate their homes themselves.

Changing the look of your home is never easy. It’s an investment of time and money that you want to continue falling in love with for many years to come. It’s no surprise that many people seek professional assistance to ensure that they create a timeless look.

Obviously, decorating your home yourself means you won’t have to pay someone else to do it. The results will truly reflect your personal taste, and you’ll be able to take full credit for them. If you’ve gone through the process before and were pleased with the results, there’s no reason not to do it again.

The DIY route won’t necessarily save you money. Decorating can be a time-consuming proposition with a steep learning curve and a huge number of decisions that need to be made. What’s your time worth? Will that outlay of time justify the fees you’ll be saving? If you make a mistake and something has to be redone, will you forfeit your savings?

Before starting any design projects, odds are you have some idea of what you’d like the finished space to look like. Since working with a designer often requires steady communication to get your concept across, take the time to consider how you see the space before you start hiring.

If you have an eye for style and a nack for interior design, the the DIY approach may come easy to you. However, if you lack basic knowledge of colors (and which secondary or tertiary colors complement them or are analogous to them) or struggle with textiles, furniture arrangement and how to accessorize, then consider hiring a professional interior designer. A professional interior designer has experience working with a wide array of rooms, square footage and styles. They may be able to problem solve much faster than you are able to do, and may be able to pin point problems faster. Even if you are naturally talented with design, it’s often difficult to look at your room with “fresh” eyes. Getting a fresh perspective on your home can be a great reason to hire a pro. utilizing the seating you already have,and limit additions to just a couple of pillows for accents. Design skill can be hard to scale, but if you have high expectations for your space being designed, consult an expert to make sure the outcome is up to your standards.
Working with an interior designer can be costly. It’s also a very intimate process. You will be sharing a lot of details of your life with another person. You might end up working together for months — maybe even years. A designer can become a confidant. Or, if you don’t pick the right one, an adversary.

There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with decorating your home yourself that you might not feel if you pay someone to do the work for you. A good designer will involve you in the process, however, and make you feel like you played a major role in the outcome.