These and so many wonderful experiences with our online design team, have encouraged a closer look at the best online interior design services out there. Here’s our round-up of the top 7 in the industry!
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The United States is the pioneer of the growing trend for remote, virtual interior design, where the concept has been gaining in popularity and sophistication over the last few years. Inbox Interiors, Buy My Eye and Design In a Box provide erudite, if pricier, services linking civilians with a top-drawer designer for a quick spatial overhaul.
SERVICE: A completed questionnaire, room sizes, and photos are preliminary information needed to get started. Designs include inspirational concept boards, material boards (paints, fabrics, wallpaper, window treatments, flooring), a product purchase list, an optional floor plan and a room guide with detailed guidelines on implementing your new design. Stellar Interiors offers clients a la carte online interior design help and design consultations by phone.
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Though Decorist touts its established designers to attract a discerning clientele, it’s hardly relying on brand names to make a business, instead looking to new technology to incorporate into its interface. “Technology is changing the design landscape very rapidly, both in terms of access and visualization,” Hansen says. “We believe 3-D and AR/VR will dramatically transform the industry in just a few short years. Imagine a time when you can connect with a designer and have a full-fledged, photo-realistic visual of your new room and all of the furnishings, in minutes. You never need to meet the designer in person, go to a store, or select from swatches.” Though that may sound like a nightmare to more traditionally minded aesthetes who rely on a look-and-feel test and relish the process of sourcing, there’s certainly a market for that kind of convenience. “We’re pretty excited about that,” Hansen says.
“For us,” says De Ruiter, “it was crucial to ensure that our designers are not incentivised to sell you furniture, which means they are just as excited to take on a big or small-budget job.”
The service is all about choice: of designer, of product, and even of layout. Laurel & Wolf’s services include unlimited revisions so users can continue to tweak even after the initial plans. “With time being our most valuable commodity and millennials being the so-called ‘do it for me’ generation, I believe design services will become invaluable to consumers as they will tire of trying to solve these problems themselves due to the overwhelming number of decor options,” Fine predicts. Her company is already looking to cater to those expectations.
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The company launched six months ago, has 50 designers on its books and feels like the do-it-yourself Airbnb of e-design.
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SERVICE: Laurel & Wolf starts their process with a style quiz that includes uploading photos of the space and providing dimensions. Clients will receive initial first looks to review from various designers submitting for the job. The site’s communication platform allows clients to interact with their designer to get online interior design help. At the end, customers will receive a final design package that includes a style board, floor plan with measurements, a shopping list, and setup instructions.
De Ruiter believes the cross section of customers they are seeing is already proof of the mass appeal of e-design.
Her solution is a quick-hit of design advice, which costs from £49 per room, is arranged online, and without the need for a designer to step foot in your home. Homewings users upload a sketched floorplan and are paired with a designer who they collaborate via Skype and a messaging service to create a colour scheme, mood board, room plan and finally a shopping list – all within a two-week period. There’s no pressure to buy suggested products, and you set the budget.
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COST: Houzz’s 3D tools are free to use because they earn their commission from furniture sales.
TURNAROUND: 3-5 weeks; projects may be expedited or extended according to client timelines
TIP: This Better Homes and Garden guide to online interior design offers additional sources of help for a successful result.
Best for: The highly informed client; someone looking for a blue-chip designer at a discount rate.
The UK is gradually catching up as other companies testing the benefits of remote design. Decology launched last month, and charges £250, £500 or £800 to refresh your room, depending on whether you opt for a “up-and-coming”, “top of their game” or “master” designer, and a 100 per cent money back guarantee if you are not “delighted” by their suggestions.
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“We have the young, urban professionals – millennials who are comfortable with online services – who are renting for the first time but want to turn their space into something nice. We also have old people who are not tech-savvy at all. We get men who are price sensitive and think our service is better than paying an interior designer a ton of money, and mummies who want to redecorate kids’ rooms.”
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TURNAROUND: It only takes a few minutes to gather inspiration and their 3D tools are instant.
The difference between Havenly vs Laurel and Wolf is that Havenly offers concepts from one designer, but Laurel and Wolf and other online interior design services like Decorilla provide visual concepts from multiple designers. Both Havenly and Laurel and Wolf offer moodboards and two-dimensional layered renderings, but not realistic 3D renderings.
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SERVICE: From decor advice or furniture recommendations to whole room designs, Havenly offers wonderful correspondence with an online interior designer. The process starts with taking a style quiz followed by having you upload images and measurements of your space. With your information, your online interior designer proposes some themes and looks, and provides a final concept board complete with layout, new furniture and accessories. The initial themes from a Havenly designer are in a moodboard format and the final concept is a 2D layered rendering which helps to better visualize the room.
I was assigned Christine Tse, a New York-raised, London-based designer for Homewings who has 10 years’ commercial experience. Over Skype, she asked me questions such as whether I need extra storage (yes), was there anything I liked about my room and wanted to keep (no), what are my favourite colours (neutrals, blues), how I used the space now, and what was my budget (£1,500 for all furniture, including a headboard for the bed and cupboards).
TIP: See more online interior design service benefits highlighted in this Inc. article about why interior design is moving online
With Decorist one of the cheapest models, you can opt for a makeover with design boards and recommendations based on photographs and a questionnaire about their room within a few weeks – for a flat fee of $199. Past users are full of praise, with one family-of-five enthusing: “Decorist helped make my Pinterest inspiration a reality – on my budget.”
SERVICE: After snapping a few pictures of your room, Decorate It Online asks you to complete a simple StyleFinder form which indicates decorating goals and what inspires you. With this, a custom online decorating plan is created for you. Projects include space planning, furniture arrangement, room color scheme, and decorative accessories like artwork, lighting, area rugs.
TURNAROUND: A design project typically takes about 2 weeks for a single room project. If you’re doing a multi-room project, you’ll have 3 additional days per room during the Design Time phase of your project.
COST: Depending on the room, Eleni’s design projects start as low as $595.
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The concept: Laurel & Wolf founder Leura Fine is a believer in the power of harnessing the internet’s vast options. “The internet changed everything because it created access that people didn’t have before,” she explains. “Today, consumers have access to new products, services, and information faster than ever and this is only going to continue. What this means for the design world is that consumers have a lot of choice, a lot of inspiration, and are well educated as to what they want and need.” With that in mind, Fine launched Laurel & Wolf, a design service that also serves as a veritable personal shopper. The service offers three service tiers: Light at $59 per room, which provides a suggested shopping list; classic at $149 per room, which offers a match with a designer; and signature at $249 per room, which gives options from three designers.
The concept: Founder Beatrice Fischel-Bock started Hutch (then Homee) with two friends out of her college dorm room at George Washington University after she and her fellow design students found themselves fielding requests to help friends outfit their apartments. Unlike the designer assignment model of many other apps, Hutch makes use of “filters” to enable users to redo their homes within a user experience that often feels less like a renovation project and more like an addicting game. That’s no mistake: “We looked to design games for inspiration,” Fischel-Bock says. “The templates allow for play.” Users upload a photo of their space, receive a photo rendering, and then can swipe through styles as desired. The template styles tend to mirror trends popular with a millennial set—Hygge, California Cool, Midcentury Modern—and, in a further play to the younger demographic, such “play” is free. Hutch earns its revenue through the sales of furniture and decor products presented within the templates. “Our core belief is that the experience should be free,” Fischel-Bock says.
Tse, who for the £199 fee will work for between five and seven hours, is thrilled by the range of homeowners she is now able to help online.
TURNAROUND: 20-45 minutes to fill out the styleFinder. E-decorating plan complete in just 10-14 days.
With wonderful options like these, it is no wonder that notion of online interior design services is hitting its stride. Still wondering if it’s for you? Schedule a Free Consultation with Decorilla to see which options are right for you and to ensure you get the best results possible.
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But online “room visualisers” – which enable you to imagine how a piece of furniture might look in your home – only take you so far. I signed up to Homewings’s £199 “classic” package, which promises two weeks’ online design time with an expert, a digital concept board, furniture placement plan, set-up instructions and a clickable shopping list. My spare room is a miserable pit of a space that doubles up as an office. It is overflowing with junk, spare clothes and is about as roomy as a Ford Mondeo.
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“Modsy combines cutting-edge 3-D visualization with personalized style advice and recommendations, providing a seamless, technology-enabled retail experience,” Tellerman says. The focus, though, is undeniably on the testing, and for good reason; it’s one of the service’s most impressive assets. “You can test-drive cars, you can try on shoes, but you can’t see what a thousand-dollar sofa would look like in your home? It’s crazy,” Tellerman opines. “Retail has shifted dramatically to e-commerce, but furniture is lagging way behind. Modsy’s technology and experience address this head-on.”
COST: Each room has 3 online interior design services to choose from, ranging from $449 to $1699. Customized packages starting at $75 are also available.
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COST: Depending on the type of room being decorated, IT decorating plans start at $367. Rooms that require more furniture and accessories cost a bit more.
SERVICE: Known to spruce up traditional style with fun prints and bold color pops and design, Fairley’s online interior design services are useful for those who appreciate hands-on materials and design boards as guides. After sending measurements, photos, inspiration images, a questionnaire, and paying the full fee upfront, the designer-client communication happens via email. This results in a lovely box containing a “look book” with floor plans, sketches and elevations of important details, a concept board, a shopping guide with pricing and detailed instructions on implementing the design. A packet with swatches of your chosen fabrics, wallpapers and paint is also sent.
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TURNAROUND: as little as 1 to 2 weeks with Havenly Mini and 2 to 3 weeks with Havenly’s Full online interior design help package.
This rarefied notion of home improvement has long riled Cornelia De Ruiter, founder of Homewings, a newly launched online platform designed to bring a professional interior design service to the masses.
Calling a taxi, meeting a significant other, shoe shopping—these are all activities that have moved from the real to the digital realm over the past few years, for better or for worse. It’s little surprise, then, that interior design has followed suit. Despite the belief of many traditionally-minded aesthetes that a sofa can’t be purchased nor a room outfitted online, many companies have set out to do just that. AD endeavored to find out just what they all offer, and which are the ones worth knowing. Though our selections offer differing approaches and services, they all seem to have in common a twofold mission: access and passion. “First, we want to provide an affordable design service to as many people as possible,” says Decorist’s Gretchen Hansen. Second, is sharing the love designers feel for their spaces with others. “We ask the question ‘Why don’t I love the spaces I live and work in?'” explains Homepolish founder Noa Santos. “Ultimately, it’s about helping our clients love their homes by creating a great relationship between the client and designer,” Hansen says. “From there the sky’s the limit.”
For those looking for basic design advice, colour specialists Dulux has launched a £75 video consultation that concludes with a 3D rendered image to aid you along your “decorating journey”. DFS has a Room Planner online tool and app that showcases their products in a representation of your home. Ikea and Homebase are also dipping their toe into the digital design market.
“In the UK, interior design is still seen as a far more exclusive service than in the US, a thing for ladies who lunch. It’s a shame. It is not how the market should be seen. It is a creative industry that can benefit all people, if they have the right access.”
COST: Paint consultations start at $85 and room designs range from $375-$475 depending on the need for floor plans.
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The concept: Founder Gretchen Hansen hatched the idea for Decorist when she found a pair of Milo Baughman chairs she coveted but couldn’t find a way to fit into her home’s scheme. The process is a fitting metaphor for Decorist’s process and demographic. Hansen says most of their clients are fairly design-savvy and come armed with Pinterest boards and magazine cutouts of inspiration. “Our clients already have a strong sense of their style and they are looking for someone to partner with to make their dream room a reality,” the founder explains. Decorist’s partnerships are three-tiered: their roster of 400 designers are divided into Classic at $299, Elite at $599, and Celebrity at $1,299 (this tier includes talents like Celerie Kemble, Jeremiah Brent, Consort, and Campion Platt). The prices include two concepts, messaging with your designer, a personalized shopping list, and a final floor plan and setup instructions.
SERVICE: With Houzz, getting started is as easy as browsing furniture online. They offer a delightful new augmented reality tool that let’s clients try on furniture from their catalog before they buy it though their smartphones. This app is perfect for people who love online DIY interior design projects and those who need one or two finishing pieces. One limitation is that it doesn’t allow clients to view two or more items at once to scale so it may be difficult to create a whole room design from scratch. Houzz offers the ability to easily share inspiration with family, friends, and professionals. Online interior designers are known to refer their clients to Houzz when they need a better understanding of their inspiration.
When considering a new look for a room, “getting an interior designer in” has long been the preserve of the well-heeled. For those who live in the very best neighbourhoods – in the kind of homes where driveways are gated and a cavernous reception room comes as standard – going in for something different decor-wise calls for a professional eye: all mood boards, colour palletes… and a long shopping list for new furnishings. When you’ve got high ceilings and even higher design ambitions, you need deep pockets.
A full-blown trend to stay, online interior design services are transforming the way we access interior design help. It’s the magic combination of professional design guidance, affordable prices, plus an easy and quick process that is attractive to people everywhere.
COST: Online interior design services include a sprucing up service, the Havenly Mini, starting at $79 per room. For $199, the Havenly Full includes concept boards and product suggestion found in the Havenly Mini, plus furniture layout and additional revision time.
And the biggest complaint from those that she helps? “I’ve seen so many mistakes made by people who don’t measure their room properly and then buy things that don’t fit. You have to make sure your measurements are precise.”
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The strategy seems to be working. Tinder founder Sean Rad was an early angel investor in the app after Fischel-Bock presented it on Shark Tank (he now sits on the Hutch’s board), Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund contributed $5 million shortly thereafter, and last week, the company closed a $10 million funding round with Zillow, further cementing its status as an up-and-comer for the swiping generation.
Best for: Those looking to work with young, up-and-coming designers.
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The concept: Helmed by Noa Santos, Homepolish bills itself as a company “built by interior designers for interior designers.” Indeed, though the company strives to offer great service to its customers, it’s likely the most outspoken about offering a platform for up-and-coming designers to get work, and acts as a sort of middleman or agency to make that happen. Like Decorist, Homepolish has a roster of designers to pair with clients, though it does so via a questionnaire on style and budget and doesn’t categorize its 500 some-odd designers into tiers. Rather than a flat fee, Homepolish uses an hourly rate ($130, with a 10-hour minimum) which includes both in-person meetings and remote video conferencing. A singe, flat day rate is also offered for $390.
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Best for: Design neophytes; tech enthusiasts; those looking for a furniture change rather than a schematic design.
“I love how affordable and accessible it is. I do it freelance, and it doesn’t use up a lot of my time as I don’t have to go to clients home to measure everything. The only downside is that I am not able to go and see the effect of natural light at the site itself.”
The concept: Modsy’s intended audience? “Anyone buying furniture!” according to founder Shanna Tellerman. “From day one, I set out to build a new retail experience accessible to a large audience, using technology,” she explains of the platform, which prioritizes digital visualization using 3-D mapping technology. Users upload iPhone images of their spaces to the service and receive converted renderings in which they can test out furnishings from hundreds of retailers. Modsy will provide recommendations based on a style quiz, but users can swap out any individual features. The flat-rate pricing is two-tier: $69 per room for general service provided by Modsy and $199 for advice from a Style Advisor, accessible via phone, messaging, and video.
COST: Depending on which package you select, they start with light at $79 per room and signature at $249 per room, but Laurel and Wolf almost always has discounts of up to 50% off so it can end up being a lot less!
SERVICE: Through her renowned site, My Paradissi, and as an interior designer at Decorilla, Eleni offers her clients online interior design services. A questionnaire including budget estimate, room measurements and photos allows Eleni to create customized concept board proposals that are later converted into photorealistic 3D renderings. After the design is fine-tuned using client feedback, a shopping list and implementation tips (the e-design plan) are offered. With a keen sensibility for beautiful and tranquil spaces as seen on her blog, Eleni gives an eloquent touch to all styles.
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I uploaded a hastily sketched floorplan and photographs, and by return was sent concept images of beautiful rooms that I might draw inspiration from. We narrowed it down to preferred furniture and accessories – no to fluffy wall hangings, yes to antique brass mirrors – and finished with a floorplan that moved existing furniture into new locations, with new additions from The White Company, Ikea, John Lewis and Anthropologie. For a design Luddite like myself, it was a breath of fresh air and I agreed with everything she suggested.
Ultimately, Homepolish touts the symbiotic relationship between happily working designers and happily served clients. Says Santos: “People want to feel better about the way they live and work. Designers want to build fulfilling careers in Interior Design. Those are the two challenges we started tackling almost five years ago and we don’t plan on slowing down.”
Best for: A multitude of options; the type A client looking for the exact right solution.
My spare room is a miserable pit of a space that doubles up as an office. It is overflowing with junk, spare clothes and is about as roomy as a Ford Mondeo
SERVICE: All clients experience a complete and personalized online interior design help beginning with an initial one-on-one consultation and interactive questionnaire to start. You receive design concepts from multiple designers based on your requirements and budget with constant designer communication. Your selected designer works with you to finalize your design in photorealistic 3D renderings (incorporating new and existing items together to scale), they create a color palette, floor plan, and online shopping list using great designer discounts. Among other things, clients say they love the: in-home and phone consultations, savvy user friendly online platform, realistic 3D renderings for easy visualization, and online shopping assistance with 10% to 25% discounts at popular stores like Wayfair and Crate and Barrel.
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