Another Way to Save With an Interior Designer

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Tired of blank white walls staring back at you? It's the eternal renters' dilemma: How to make a stale apartment feel affordably like home. We know professional interior design doesn't have to cost a fortune and now there's more help on the way. A partnership between designers and Art.com lets your designer deliver original, price-sensitive options for your plain walls.

Under the agreement, Art.com, which has one of the Internet's widest selections of posters, art and photographic prints, will offer trade discounts to members of the American Society of Interior Designers. Art.com's prints start as low as $5 and up to $1,000 for unframed photographic pieces.

Says Michelle Pollak, an interior designer from Charleston, S.C., of the Art.com site: "This is a great tool to go online with the client -- whether they're 3,000 miles away or right next to you -- and say 'Hey, pull up this Web site.' You can both be looking at the same things. It's a quicker, more efficient process."

In a move away from the brick-and-mortar frame-stores, the site also provides custom mats, frames and finishes, and claims to be 40 percent cheaper than your local shop. Art.com extends free consultation and quotes on framing services; however, they will not mail away samples nor can you send them prints for framing.

Are you swaying towards Andy Warhol's "Diamond Dust Shoes," a Picasso or Matisse sketch, or perhaps an Edward Hopper scene? If you are uncertain how the print is going to look on a wall, the site features a "Room View Showcase," which enables designers and other prospective buyers to "drag" an artwork of choice into a setting, such as a living room or bathroom, for some perspective.

However, designers admit that like most online shopping experiences, it's tough to visualize how an item will fit in a room without the product in hand. If you're prone to indecision, you (and your designer) will be relieved by Art.com's return policy -- a full refund or exchange within 30 days.

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