A new year, another remodel. At least that’s the plan for a lot of us; even small redecorations and tweaks can do wonders in terms of brightening up your life, and every year, more and more homeowners take the plunge.
The first question most wind up asking: should I do it myself, or hire a pro? DIY projects are increasingly popular these days, and you’ll find more help than ever online. Still, when it comes to a big upgrade, I heavily recommend finding yourself an experienced interior designer. This advice doesn’t really apply to lifelong handymen, but for the rest of us, it’s generally a good idea to invest in expert assistance.
Sure, it’s a little counterintuitive, but going the professional route can often wind up saving you money in the long run. There are several reasons for this.
Quality materials can be extraordinarily expensive. If you’re planning something that requires pavers or high-end wood, you’re looking at a serious cash sink even before the remodel begins. And if you screw up? Well, that’s an awful lot of wasted capital. Professional designers are much less likely to make mistakes, and if they do, you won’t see such a direct hit for cost of materials.
And that’s just over the course of a build. Even after everything’s wrapped up and ready for use, things break. If you’ve set up wiring poorly, or maybe laid out tiles just a little out of true, those mistakes can bite you big down the road, taking even more time and money to fix.
After money (or heck, sometimes even before money), the biggest cost of a remodel is time. It can take years for some home-builders to finish a major project. During that period, you’ll be losing full use of a room or more, potentially impacting quality of life at your house. Signing on with a company or contractor lets you set and meet a more definite time frame.
An Objective Eye
Interior designers know how to make a room look good. DIYers…don’t always know how to make a room look good. No matter how excellent your ideas look on paper, there’s a solid chance that once they’re actually realized, you won’t like them quite as much as you did when you were brainstorming.
Even if you’re determined to do the build with your own two hands, I’d still recommend at least consulting with a designer. A weathered perspective might be just what you need to figure out if your ambitions are fantastic, or just flops.
Access to Specialists
Large design firms (think Boscolo) aren’t just one-trick ponies. They have to have a pretty deep phone book of plumbers, painters, and other specialists that know one particular facet of interior design inside and out.
No matter how good a handyman you are, you’ll likely find yourself reaching out to one or more of these experts during a large project. Some tasks require an enormous amount of experience to accomplish well, something that can’t be made up for by even the most frantic Googling.
Sites such as Porch, Angie’s List, or Houzz offer an alternative by connecting you directly to local contractors. Still, finding competent, reliable help on these engines is a major time commitment. Partnering with an established firm also puts you in immediate contact with their vetted roster of specialists.
At the end of the day, there’s a reason that interior design firms exist. No matter how good you are, a large remodel is an enormously involved task, something that many aspiring DIYers fail to appreciate. While I like the pluck that it takes to start a project on your own, and have seen plenty of people do it well, I still think that for most, it’s best to skip the heartache and go straight to the professional solution.
John Miller is obsessed with remodeling, redecorating and renewing homes. He’s written for many publications on the topic, and enjoys sharing his expertise.