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How To Make Over Your Home On The Cheap. Really!

Is it time for a new look? Help is here!

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Home design elements
Courtesy roomLift
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You’re ready for a new look for your home but have no idea if the rug you’re eyeing will complement your couch — and you need help in the art department. An interior designer charges $100 to $200 per hour on average, with the total cost of design fees totaling about $5,200 plus the cost of furniture. But recently, a handful of interior design apps have emerged, offering everything from total virtual redesigns to color help. You’ll be shocked at the prices.

The Expert

How it works: If you have some ideas for your remodel or renovation — but aren’t quite sure if they’ll work — or if you need more suggestions, then this is the app for you. Speak with an expert interior designer via video call to show your space, and they can answer questions and make suggestions. Prior to speaking, you will write a little note for the expert, detailing your issue. You will also fill out a questionnaire about your style, budget and the room. The consultations start at 25 minutes, and you can ask them about everything from your layout to your window treatments. Unlike most of the other services, your designer may not necessarily suggest specific products. 

What it costs: This starts at $250 for the standard 55-minute consultation.

How long it takes: The expert designer video consultation may be scheduled immediately.


How it works: This interior design site specializes in designing on a budget. You have two choices: A floor plan with 3D renderings; or simply suggestions for new products to swap, such as a new rug or the perfect couch. You will take a style quiz, and you can upload your Pinterest images to the site, along with pictures and measurements of your room. Then, you choose an interior designer from the Havenly site, and you may chat with the designer via phone, text and online messaging. Some of the items suggested are available for purchase directly from their site.

What it costs: It’s $79 for the product swap suggestions, or $169 per room for a full room redesign. 

How long it takes: You receive three design ideas in two days. 


How it works: Are you comfortable doing the work yourself if you have the right tools? Floorplanner helps you create 2D and 3D renderings of your space, choosing from 150,000 images. The best part: It’s free. If you want to upload your own images, this starts at $5 per month (so work quickly!); if you want to make and use your own templates, it’s $29 per month. Floorplanner already offers tons of furniture, room shapes and sizes on the virtual plans — and it’s very easy to add and move around the furniture (click and drag). Most likely, you’ll be able to use the entire app for free and get some great ideas. 

What it costs: Free, but you can upgrade starting at $5.

How long it takes: Starts immediately.


How it works: This is a fantastic app for choosing and pairing colors in a room. It offers more than 100 color themes if you need inspiration; or you can find other colors that will go with your bright orange chair, for example, using Color911 suggestions. 

What it costs: It’s free for 30 days, and then it’s $3.99 per month. 

How long it takes: Use this instantly.


How it works: It’s the closest to a live interior designer in your home that you can get. After taking a style quiz and sharing photos, measurements and design preferences, an interior designer will create a floor plan. They will also ship a box of paint, wallpaper and other samples to your door with suggestions for everything. After you receive your box, you are offered a 15-minute design-consultation call or email about the designs (though suggestions and tips are included in the box — so you may not need the call). You can purchase products suggested directly from their site without any markups. 

What it costs: It’s $1,500 per room for the entire room lift. 

How long it takes: Your box will arrive in two to three weeks. 

Live Home 3D: How it works: This is an easy-to-use design app that will help you create complex drawings for your interior. You can either draw a 2D image to start, or import your blueprints so you have an exact layout of your room. Then, you drag and drop furniture, doors, windows and even carpet and wallpaper. Even if you draw a 2D image, Live Home 3D will build this in 3D so it will look realistic. You also can do a walk-through of your new space, viewing it from different angles. 

What it costs: It starts at $5 per month.

How long it takes: You can begin immediately.