Whether you’re renovating your home from top to bottom or simply refreshing a bathroom or bedroom, it’s always a smart move to get expert advice from an interior designer.

Professional interior designers are specially trained to create attractive, functional interior environments that will ultimately enhance the quality of life for every occupant of the home. And hiring a professional interior designer is not a luxury reserved for the very well-heeled: in fact, the choice to enlist one can be an invaluable timesaver and a proactive way to avoid making mistakes that will ultimately cost more money. Here’s what you can expect:

After working closely with you to discover your particular style, as well as your family’s personal needs, interior designers have the education and experience to offer you a creative and artistic vision, coupled with the research, analysis, and technical knowledge to create design solutions that are functional as well as aesthetically appealing.

Trained designers measure your space carefully to create a scaled furniture plan using sophisticated computer-aided design software (CAD). This can eliminate the possibility of a poor purchasing decision, which can happen if you choose an item that doesn’t fit properly or function the way you had envisioned. You then keep your custom drawings to help you communicate your ideas to vendors and contractors.

To be competitive and stay on-trend, interior designers must be learning constantly. They travel to trade shows, attend seminars, and maintain large libraries of catalogs and samples to choose from. This saves you the effort of research and offers you solutions and products that you may not discover in stores you normally visit.

To help your designer most effectively, you need to do some homework. Gather photos from magazines of rooms and furniture you like; this will give your designer a place to start in creating a look specifically for you. Be able to explain to your designer the style you want, the colors you’re partial to, and the activities that will take place in the room. Make a list of furniture you own that you want to keep. Think about your preferences for furniture, fabrics, materials, and patterns.

Finally, with your vision of a finished design in place, a professional designer can assist you in getting the best price on your project, especially if it involves hiring out subcontractors for a renovation.