DIY or Designer?

Many people are not entirely satisfied with their home décor, and are faced with two options when it comes to remodeling their space. If you have a clear idea of what you want from your space, functionally and aesthetically, a strong initial impulse may be to do it yourself. If you have a great deal of time and patience and want the experience and satisfaction of designing and transforming your own space, this impulse may be justified. However, it is easy to underestimate and overlook many elements of the design process, and the initial excitement can evaporate when faced with the headache of unanticipated problems. Even with a clear vision of your desired space, locating the pieces you need can be a complicated affair. An interior designer draws upon a network of connections and resources to expedite and facilitate the acquisition of the pieces you need. Without an understanding of the practical half of design, even an apparently simple remodel can consume a remarkable amount of time and energy if not facilitated properly.

If, on the other hand, you elect to approach the design process more casually, transforming a space piecemeal as you encounter pieces you like, working with an interior designer can be just as useful. This approach can be satisfying, but without a clear sense of the needs of the space, can also lead to costly errors or an interminable project. Without a structure to the process, an expensive piece purchased early in the remodel process might no longer seem appropriate in light of new acquisitions. You might also find that, because of the lack of an initial plan, your space may end up looking too crowded or too spare as the project draws to a close. At the end of a long and difficult process, dissatisfaction is the last thing you want.

An initial investment in an interior designer ensures avoidance of these problems. An interior designer will communicate with you to get a clear sense of both the function of the space and how you would like it to look and feel. They will then draw upon a depth of experience to clarify your vision of the space and orchestrate the remodeling process. The designer does not exclude you from this process; communication at every stage of the process ensures that you are able to the enjoy the experience of making design decisions without the anxiety and complexity of hunting down an securing the pieces and services necessary fro the transformation of the space. You will experience the satisfaction of the design process while avoiding the many pitfalls that the “do it yourself” designer risks.


 SARAH BARNARD is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy’s board of directors and specializes in green interior design and historic preservation.

Sarah Barnard Design undertakes residential interior design projects, commercial spaces and even single rooms. She can help you with space planning, color counseling, kitchen and bath remodeling, historic preservation, and all aspects of green design and healthy living: organic, non-toxic, sustainable and fair trade materials, energy and resource conservation, air and water purification, natural furnishings and fabrics and much more!