If you’ve ever gone through the process of searching for a designer, you likely came across a few enticing advertisements offering free design. Whether it be cabinets or furniture, there are several stores and showrooms that offer complimentary design services. If you’re not familiar with the industry, it can be easy to assume that the “free” services being offered are the same services you may receive from a traditional design firm; however, there are notable differences that should be taken into account before hiring one over the other. Depending on your project, one may make more sense for you, but the two are not interchangeable.


When hiring a designer through a furniture store, often times, you are required to purchase their product—which makes sense. After all, nothing is truly free. The design services you receive are usually complimentary with the purchase of the products your designer has chosen for you. The design potential is limited to what they have to offer; rather than designing around your needs specifically, they’re creating a design around what they already have to offer.

When you work with a design firm, you’re not limited to the selection one company can provide. Designers source from a variety of vendors to give you the best design possible. Much of the time, designers have access to vendors that source to the trade only, meaning you receive products that aren’t readily available to the general public. The potential is endless (depending on your budget, of course).

Having said this, if you’re a huge fan of a specific store’s selection and you know that you’d like to purchase everything from them, then this option may make more sense for you. Just don’t expect to be able to source from other stores, and don’t expect to be able to take their floor plans and run off to buy the physical product elsewhere as the designer on your project doesn’t truly work for free (who does?).


Home décor stores typically start with a consultation to get a sense of your style; however, a design firm will take this a step further. The design interviews are a more in-depth overlook of your home—the scope goes beyond the look of the furniture to take into account the way you and your family live in your home. When we present our final design to you, we do so with 3D renderings that allow you to get a better picture of what your newly designed space will look like, including wallpaper, paint, and lighting—something a free designer may not be able to offer.


Furniture stores and showrooms may coordinate scheduling and delivery, but they aren’t on site for the delivery itself. When you purchase your furniture through TruDesign, our designers are there from start to finish during delivery and install to ensure everything is placed exactly as it should be. Seeing the project through from start to finish is guaranteed so that you aren’t responsible for the way the finished product comes together.

If you’re in the process of planning a redesign, keep the above in mind when it comes time to hire a designer. Either option is always a better alternative than trying to tackle it alone!

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