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Should You Pay for a Designer, or Not?

blog / September 13, 2016

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Is the help with customizing your home worth the cost of a professional designer?

By Ryan Siebert

The decision comes down to whether you want to roll the dice on your HGTV watching skills, or fork out the additional cash to pay for a designers skill set.
When your designing a build to suit project your going to have to make the decision as to whether or not you will hire the services of a designer to help you with your finish selections. Today’s article will examine the benefits of using a designer or choosing not to.
Pros of Hiring a Designer


  • Trend Setter – if your designer has an in with upcoming designs and trends they will know what is on the up and up and what styles and selections you can use in your home to give you something that very few people have.
  • Designer Discounts – odds are your designer will have suppliers that will be able to provide you with big discounts on the product that you are purchasing.  However, you need to be aware of kickbacks that your designer may have with their “supplier of choice”.  If your price conscious and your not buying a “once in a lifetime” product, don’t be afraid to price out your supplies bid with another vendor.  Plumbing material, electrical fixtures, and tile suppliers will often have a markup price.  Pay your designer to help you with selections, but don’t let them expect to make money off what you purchase too.
  • Stress and Time Relief – if you are paying a designer to make selections for you they will save you an abundance of time.  If you are like me then you understand you cannot get time back, so the cost of a designer is worth it.  They likely will take their time with you early, get to know your style and even visit your current home to get to know what you like and don’t like about your current home. This will help you save enormous amounts of time when making your final selections. In addition, you will be able to avoid fighting with your family and causing stress if you use your designer as a mediator.  Check your ego at the door and let your designers expertise and vision guide you to the finish line.

Pros if Doing it Yourself


  • Decreased Budget – You are not going to be paying someone extra money to do what ultimately you could do and more importantly your builder can do for you. You are already paying your builder to design the home for you. They will have a process that they use when building their own homes that they will be able to share with your to help you make design selections.  The main difference is a builder will let you pick whatever you want, and you may end up with zebra kitchen cabinets that accent a tiger striped floor.  Your builder likely won’t stop you, it’s your house after all!
  • Knowledge – I always say one way or another you are paying for it. If you do your project on your own you are certainly going to go through some bumps and bruises when it comes to the finish selection process.  Mainly in the time you spend and the fighting between you and your family.  However, when you are all said and done you will have an abundance of knowledge that you can’t pay for unless you go through it.  If this most likely won’t be your last home and you have the time and energy to stomach picking selections on your own, then go for it. However, make sure you talk to your builder about the selections your making and the timeline you have to make. You would be surprised how much you can cost yourself by changing out a simple bathroom vanity if the plumbing requirements are completely different from what the previous vanity you selected was.
  • Sense of Accomplishment – I always love hearing people tell me that, “we did it all on own own”.  There is a sense of pride they have in themselves for accomplishing what, at more than one time, seemed impossible. When a family talks about how they found the cabinet design they decided on or the hand made flooring or the countertops that are to die for, they boast about it and each time they walk into their house they know it was possible because of them.

Whatever you end up going with know this, building a home is stressful but the joy and memories that you will get to enjoy watching your family grow is something that you cannot replicate.  Building your own home will be a memory that you won’t be able to replace either.