Once upon a time, hiring an interior designer was聽a luxury afforded to only those with tens of thousands of dollars lying around. Then Homepolish came along and changed the game. Co-founded by Noa Santos and Will Nathan, Homepolish is聽making interior design fit聽any budget in聽10 cities聽across聽the country. Whether you鈥檝e got great design sense and just want some advice on how to tie it all together, or staring at paint chips makes you feel clueless, their designers will tailor their guidance and style choices to you.聽CEO and co-founder Noa Santos chatted with us about everything聽from how to define your personal style聽to how using an interior designer can actually save you money.

Noa Santos Homepolish

Why He Says Renting Is THE Best Time to Experiment With Interior Design

If you鈥檙e already thinking that Homepolish is a service you鈥檒l use someday when you buy a house, stop right there. The majority of Homepolish鈥檚 clients are聽renters. 鈥淔or us, there is no wrong time to begin thinking about your style,鈥 says Noa. 鈥淵our style isn鈥檛 something that is stagnant 鈥 it grows as your life grows. And it鈥檚 so much better to experiment when you鈥檙e renting, because you can learn those things in small, easy, bite-sized pieces. So that when you do invest in a home and you have more money to spend, you make the right choices.鈥

Homepolish Designer

How Homepolish is Making Beautiful and Bespoke Work on a Budget

Interior design that鈥檚 actually cheaper than shopping for yourself? Believe it. There鈥檚 no smoke and mirrors when it comes to Homepolish鈥檚 fees, because they鈥檝e removed the commission aspect from interior design entirely. You pay an hourly rate for your designer鈥檚 time, and you can spend that time however suits you best, whether that鈥檚 buying new pieces or reorganizing your furniture. Plus, Homepolish鈥檚 Swatch program hooks you up with seriously amazing discounts at favorites like West Elm, Anthropologie and Bludot, which could save you big bucks in the long run.

Don鈥檛 expect this all to take place via the interwebs either. 鈥淚t isn鈥檛 about jumping on a Skype interview or picking solutions online,鈥 says Noa. 鈥淚t鈥檚 about a designer coming to your home, spending the hour with you, showing you the potential of the space and then working with you in person, whether that鈥檚 moving things around or shopping at a flea market.鈥

Homepolish Designers at Work

How to Define Your Personal Style: Show, Don鈥檛 Tell

Do you find it hard to put your personal style into words? That鈥檚 because you probably shouldn鈥檛, according to Noa. Interior design is a visual business, so get visual with Pinterest boards and Homepolish鈥檚 dashboard, and leave the adjectives out of it. 鈥淚t鈥檚 much more efficient for a client to describe why they like specific items, and then let the designer worry about how to translate it into a style. A one-hour consultation with the designer is so valuable because they can see the things you鈥檝e already collected that you love.鈥

Homepolish Gallery Wall

His Cheap and Cheerful Hacks for Sprucing Up the Place

Noa likens your design tastes to your fashion tastes聽in that they聽evolve as you grow. It鈥檚 totally natural to want to shake things up around the home now and then 鈥 after all, don鈥檛 we do it with our wardrobes all the time? Paint is your friend, he says, even if you鈥檙e only renting for a couple of years. 鈥淚n the next two years, you鈥檒l probably spend more on new shoes聽than you鈥檒l spend on painting the entire house.鈥 He鈥檚 also all for browsing Etsy for new decorative accessories, rearranging furniture, learning to style a coffee table and hanging art.

Homepolish Colorful Room

How to Play with Color

You know we love a bright color around here, but if you鈥檙e afraid to take the pigment plunge, Noa recommends two things. First, don鈥檛 waste time browsing allllll those thousands of paint chips 鈥 use Benjamin Moore鈥檚 Williamsburg Collection, which has pared it down to 144 shades. 鈥淚 hedge my bets,鈥 he says. 鈥淭he difference between two shades of purple聽is the difference between you having a chic, plum wall and a Barney wall.鈥 Secondly, start by putting your bold colors in smaller spaces, like a guest bathroom. It鈥檒l impress friends and help you decide if you can commit to color in a larger space.

Homepolish DIY Bench

When to Buy Versus DIY

Having the skills, the time and the resources to make your own furniture or accessories is half the battle, but Noa says the real way to decide if you should DIY is to ask yourself: Do you actually聽want to, and are you excited to share that experience with others? 鈥淚t鈥檚 more about the process than it is about the end result,鈥 he says.聽鈥淥ur designers don鈥檛 do DIY unless it鈥檚 with the client, because then it鈥檚 about the story.鈥

Noa Homepolish Home

A Few of Noa鈥檚 Favorite Things

So what about the design expert himself?

Home Style: Monochromatic with rich, natural materials. 鈥淲hen I get home, I really want to walk into this clean, crisp, white, blank slate of a home. So that when I wake up the next morning and I see all these amazing colorful things at work, I can appreciate them and not feel exhausted by color or by design.鈥

Favorite Room: 鈥淭he living room. I love it because we entertain, and it鈥檚 something I can share with everyone. It鈥檚 been聽a real case study for me: how do you design a chic, clean room where聽you don鈥檛 have to be afraid of people dropping a drink?鈥

Inspiring Blogs: Design*Sponge, A Cup of Jo, Todd Selby, Fashion Your Seat Belt and Brit + Co ;)

Ready to hire Homepolish? Be sure to enter our sweepstakes, where you could win 10 whole hours with a designer plus $1,500 to spend at West Elm.聽Then head to the comments to tell us what room you鈥檙e dying to have redesigned!聽

(Photos via Homepolish)