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Elements of Style

Interior Designer Melissa Bouffard Advises on How You Can Achieve the Rooms of Your Dreams

Feeling like it’s time to “spring clean” your interiors with a new look? Rather than take on the dizzying array of choices on your own, you can hire a designer to help you determine what would work best for your family and curate the options to suit your vision. 

Since 2021, Melissa Bouffard of Melissa Lynn Designs – Decorating Den Interiors has been guiding Somerset County homeowners in re-envisioning their residences in sophisticated, livable style. 

Bouffard, who always loved interior design, got a lot of practice as an Air Force wife. “We moved often so I decorated many homes over the years. I made my own draperies, pillows and bedding and did woodworking,” she says. Later, she honed her skills in workshops and classes with the New York Institute of Art and Design and through classes offered at Decorating Den.

Somerset Hills City Lifestyle sat down with Bouffard for her advice on working with an interior designer. 

What should people understand when starting an interior design project?

First, you will need to consider the budget. How much are you comfortable spending on your project? This is one of the many reasons why it’s good to work with a designer versus doing it yourself. Designers know how to stay on budget, which products to invest more money in and where to save. Designers also prevent you from making any impulse buys that may not work in the design, thus preventing unnecessary returns or wasting money.

You also must consider how you want your space to look, feel and function. A good designer can make any room beautiful, but a great designer makes it both beautiful and functional.

What are the benefits of working with an interior designer rather than going it alone?

Unless you have the expertise and experience, I would advise working with an interior designer. You will be more satisfied and will love your space longer when you hire an interior designer to do it for you or to at least hold your hand along the way.

People often will see something on HGTV or in a magazine and try to replicate the look in their own homes. However, what they may not understand is why a piece should go in a certain place — how the placement of one item can affect the whole design. Interior designers have the skills and experience to place pieces in a way that makes the whole room cohesive and balanced. 

How does the process work?

My first visit is complimentary. Clients fill out a lifestyle questionnaire that helps us both understand how they live and how they want the room to function. We also talk about details like the preferred colors and what current pieces should be kept and what should be added to complete the room. 

Is working with an interior designer expensive?

When hiring a designer, people should know that they are hiring an expert to take care of every step of the process — from inspiration to installation. So, the answer to this question is “yes” and “no.” If you were to do it yourself and were able to achieve the final product as you envisioned without costly mistakes and wasting time shopping, then yes. But if you do not have the time or the expertise to put it all together without making those costly design mistakes, then no. 

I ask clients to show me pictures from magazines or the internet that attracts them. It could be a whole room or just a piece. That will give me an idea of the look they are seeking. We buy direct from over 100 vendors. I’ll select products and furniture and present a proposed design for consideration. Once the project is approved, I do all the ordering and am present for the installation. 

What trends are you seeing?

More people are going transitional. They want a modern design but have traditional furniture that they want to keep. I find ways to incorporate these traditional pieces in a more modernized design scheme. 

Browse design ideas at

“A good designer can make any room beautiful, but a great designer makes it both beautiful and functional.” —Melissa Bouffard

  • Melissa Bouffard/Photo by Helen Lawler, InspiorMX
  • Melissa Bouffard/Photo by Helen Lawler, InspiorMX