Lauri Ward, Founder

When I graduated from design school in the 1970s, professional interior designers were expected to conform to the status quo that had been established decades earlier. Designers would advise their clients to discard their existing furnishings and proceed to sell them all new furniture and accessories for hefty commissions in order to create their signature “look.”

It was not long before I realized that the dictates of the past were not serving the majority of Americans because they couldn’t afford high-priced interior design fees. Although most people wanted more attractive, comfortable homes, they simply did not know how to create the aesthetically pleasing, functional rooms they desired without professional guidance. The whole arrangement seemed wrong (pun intended!). So, in 1981, I founded Use-What-You-Have Interiors™ and developed a new approach: one-day decorating and redesign.

My concept was based upon:

  • Refining clients’ decor by using their existing furnishings more effectively
  • Involving clients in the process instead of banishing them from their homes
  • Empowering clients by providing them with advice during a one-time consultation
  • Teaching clients how to correct mistakes instead of hiding trade secrets
  • Respecting client’s personal design preferences instead of imposing one particular style
  • Helping clients save thousands of dollars instead of encouraging expensive purchases

As word of my service spread, the public, television producers, magazine and newspaper editors all readily embraced Use What You Have as their budget-oriented home improvement advocate. Soon, my associates and I were flying to Los Angeles and other cities around the country to help people transform their homes and, also to appear on television shows to demonstrate why the term “affordable decorating” was no longer an oxymoron. At the same time something else was happening: designers and would-be decorators were contacting me because they wanted to learn my techniques and become certified in the UWYH system, many in order to add one-day redecorating and redesign services to their existing businesses. And so because of the demand, with the help of my husband Joe Ward, we co-founded the Use What You Have® Decorator Training Programs and the Interior Redecorators Network™.

Today, the Use What You Have system is the benchmark in interior redecorating and redesign. There are certified Interior Redecorators, all independent business owners, in over one hundred cities across North America, stretching from Canada to Mexico and from Hawaii to a number of European countries and Scandinavia; all implementing the original Use What You Have® principles in thousands of homes every year.

The members of the Interior Redecorators Network® are an incredible group of talented, dedicated professionals who are all passionate about their craft and about making the world a more beautiful place, one house or apartment at a time. Yet, there is one thing the members of the IRN are even more enthusiastic about; that is making the people who live in those homes happier and more comfortable with what they already have.

To learn more about training with Lauri Ward and eligibility for membership in the Interior Redecorators Network visit redecorate.com.