It’s a perpetual decorating dilemma: leafing through catalogs and magazines and wondering why the rooms in your home can’t ever come alive like those in the pages of the magazines. On top of the anxiety of not knowing how to pick the right pieces is the stress of thinking it will cost a potential fortune to replicate it. The struggle is real. The good news? Creating the ideal room is actually easier and more within reach than it seems. And there’s no need to enlist the aid of a pricey interior designer to do so—many of those same catalogs, online sites and brick and mortar stores offer in-store design services gratis or for a very small fee. Here’s a guide to just a few.
At Pottery Barn, they call it the Design Crew. A team of designers is available to consult at no charge online, in-store or at home on everything from paint colors and fabric selections to window treatments and furniture layout. No job is too big or small—they will advise on one item, one room or an entire home. Plus the Design Crew stays on after selections are made to oversee installation services including painting, lighting, window treatments, hanging frames and furniture building. potterybarn.com
Pottery Barn shares the same parent company (Williams Sonoma Inc.) as West Elm, which offers similar design assistance as well as a new partnership with Rent the Runway, where curated textile bundles (think pillows, blankets, drapes and more) can be rented short term or long, to try out a look for a room. westelm.com
Crate and Barrel, CB2
Both Crate and Barrel and its lower price-point brand, CB2, offer complimentary expert design advice and solutions online and in stores. The service starts with a getting-to-know-your-style questionnaire. Soon after submitting the form, an in-store designer reaches out and gets to work. CB2 also offers a premium design service for a $99 fee that is redeemable toward purchase. This includes a 3D and 2D floorplan to make sure any new pieces fit perfectly in a space. crateandbarrel.com, cb2.com
The traditional furniture store Ethan Allen is super up to date with its no-cost design service offering. There are no strings attached and no obligation to purchase. In fact, they are known for helping customers figure out how to work new pieces into an existing configuration. So even if it’s just one piece that’s necessary to make a place pop, they are happy to help. ethanallen.com
The well known Scandinavian style house BoConcept approaches its free design service with a three-step process. First is a conversation about the project in store or at home, where the designer can also take measurements and better understand a space. Next come the designer’s recommendations plus a store walk-through to pick out specific pieces. Step three is guaranteeing a customer’s happiness. Designers then order, deliver, assemble and arrange the space to perfection. boconcept.com
Havenly is not a store but an online design service with four tiers of design: Design Quickie (free) to get acquainted with the process, including a 30-minute chat with a designer; use Havenly Consult ($19) for shopping lists and personalized designer advice; try Havenly Mini ($69) which includes three mood boards, one flushed out concept with one revision; and there is Havenly Full ($199/room) with three mood boards, custom floor plan, one flushed out concept and two revisions. On its site, there are an array of 3D room designs from baby’s room to home office. For those not looking for personal service but prefering to pick and choose on their own, the shopping section with curated items is ideal. havenly.com