6 Ways to Get Interior Design Help on a Budget

dining room

Tara Kantor

Once upon a time you had two options when it came to executing home design: total DIY or hire an interior designer. The former can be quite challenging for many, who either don’t have the skills, creativity, or time to execute home design from concept to execution, while the latter can simply be, well, expensive. 

However, as we enter into the next decade, getting interior design help isn’t an all or nothing affair. In fact, you can hire a professional to transform your space for as little as nothing or as much as the cost of a swanky dinner out. 

1. Start with Online Inspiration 

Thanks to Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, magazines, and books, it’s easy to find inspiration—and many people simply don’t see the need to hire a pro . “My biggest piece of advice is not to overthink it,” suggests Maggie Griffin, Founder & Designer Maggie Griffin Design. However, if you do get stumped or can’t find the creativity to execute ideas on your own, then she suggests enlisting the help of a designer. 

2. Hire an Interior Designer by the Hour 

Hiring an interior designer doesn’t have to be a huge financial investment of tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, according to Jade Joyner, Founder & Principal Designer of Metal + Petal, all interior designers know how to work around a budget, and many even offer affordable online programs. You can also reach out and see if they can offer you an hourly rate, or hire them to simply lay out a room for you or choose your products, while you do the buying yourself. 

“Adding in a couple of chic designer elements, or selecting a new paint color can quickly elevate a room,” she points out. “If you’re only looking for a few items to spruce up your space, be intentional about where you source your furniture to stay on budget.” When looking at potential designers, check out their websites and see if they offer mini project pricing. 

If you’re only looking for a few items to spruce up your space, be intentional about where you source your furniture to stay on budget.

3. Utilize Free Interior Design Resources at Your Favorite Stores

If you are planning on buying most of your furnishings from a specific store—or even just a few—you should inquire about any free design services they offer. For example, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn offer free design services. While they do expect that you ultimately make a purchase, it is not required. However, if you know you want a certain piece from a specific store, it can be a great way to get inspiration for the rest of the room. 

4. Check Out Modsy

If your aesthetic is mid-century modern-inspired, head on over to Modsy where minimalist, 1950s design is the specialty. (Though other styles are offered.) You can choose from three packages, Premium ($159 a room), Multi-Room (starting at $269), and Luxe ($499 a room).

5. Try Havenly 

This virtual interior design experience gives you the opportunity to work with a designer of your choice, whose work experience and portfolio you can sift through first. The process is pretty fun, starting with an initial little interior design “survey” to help pair you with the right designer. While Havenly will offer suggestions, ultimately you can choose the designer you like the best. They will ask you a bunch of questions, ranging from budget to your overall goals, and then start sending over mockups and product suggestions. You can even order every single item through Havenly to save you lots of time. 

6. Or Spoak

While other interior design services are focused and priced on a per-project basis, Spoak is basically the equivalent of having an interior designer on call 24/7. You fill out a brief form about your project, including what you're looking for and your price range. Then Spoak sends you a list of designers' proposals. (They refer to their designers as Thingologists.) You choose the one you'd like to work with, pay, and get started.