Enlisting an interior designer can be valuable, yet pricey.
That’s not to say you can’t get professional, personalised styling tips and home makeovers if you’re on a budget. And, let’s face it, most of us are right now.
Here’s where you can find your own design guru for advice on furniture placement, interior trends and colour schemes – and some won’t cost a penny.
Ask an expert: Heal’s offers interior design services in store and online. An expert will visit your home to take measurements
No costs involved
There’s plenty of help on the High Street if you know where to look. Many offer advice virtually, if you would rather chat on a video call from the comfort of your own home.
Next offers free virtual, in-store and at-home appointments. A consultant will quiz you about your style, budget and what you want to achieve.
You’ll then get a tailored mood board and floorplan complete with shopping list of how to achieve the look.
Swatches will be sent to help with any furniture selection. If you spend more than £5,000, Next offers discounts.
Free advice is also on offer at John Lewis. Punch in your postcode online and you can choose from stylists available in your area.
You’ll be handed a mood board, floorplan and 3D visualisation, as well as a list of all the products discussed, with fabric samples.
If you plump for a more comprehensive service, you’ll get a 30-minute initial chat and to follow, an invitation to view their proposed design scheme.
‘Some customers want a quick update, so it’s a case of pulling together accessories that might revitalise a room,’ says Wil Law, home design stylist at John Lewis. ‘Others are planning multi-room makeovers. I can be working with a customer for just an hour, or many months.’
At Heal’s, there’s an interiors planning service. It includes an initial chat with a designer in the store, who will visit your home to take measurements.
For those living outside London, home visits are not offered, but virtual advice is at heals.com.
You can also snap up a free one-hour session at Designers Guild either in one of the London stores or virtually.
A stylist will talk fabrics, wallpapers, paints, furniture and accessories. There’s a fee if you want a fuller service.
You can snap up a free one-hour session at Designers Guild (designersguild.com) either in one of the London stores or virtually
Cheap and cheerful
If you don’t mind investing a little in your design sessions, check out Ikea’s design advice at £25. This will get you a one-hour session online. You’ll get a product collage, 2D floorplan and a detailed shopping list.
For an enhanced service at £90 you can get two 45-minute online meetings and 3D views of the room and wall elevation among extras. This service limits advice to one room.
Make an investment
Design help is at hand from some high-end brands. While it comes with a bigger price tag, if you end up buying some or all of the suggested items, you might get some or all of your money back.
Oka’s design service starts with a complimentary consultation either in-store or online.
Following a visit to your home or a detailed look at your plans, the designer will draw up a proposal.
Oka charges £450 for design help, though the charge is waived if you spend £5,000 on furniture and accessories. On delivery the designer will unpack and style everything for you.
At Designers Guild, the interior design service (beyond the free one-hour chat) buys you a home visit — as long as you’re in London or the Home Counties — there’s an extra charge if you’re further out.
A design pack with samples and virtual mood boards as well as a full quote for the items suggested will be created. If you go ahead, the £295 charge is taken off the final bill, with no minimum spend.
Savings of the week! Saute pans
By ANNE ASHWORTH
If you want to lower fuel costs and cook with ease, a saute pan with a lid is an essential piece of cookware.
Catering for the upsurge in demand for more economical food preparation — using one such pan – big names are cutting the prices of these items.
Marks & Spencer has reduced its 28cm stainless steel pan by 20 per cent to £49.50.
Hot pot: Wayfair also stocks the 30cm Jean Patrique pan in cobalt blue, pictured, which is in the sale at £68.54
At ProCook, you can buy a Professional saute pan of the same size and same material for £58, down from £69.
The 24cm Symple Stuff pan from Wayfair, which would suit a smaller household, is half-price at £24.39.
Wayfair also stocks the 30cm Jean Patrique pan in cobalt blue which is in the sale at £68.54.
Robert Dyas offers the FlavorStone Diamond The Pan That Can for £89.99, down from £99.99.
This pan has a detachable handle and a deep-fryer basket and can be used in the oven.