Digital by Design

September 2018 View more

By Annemarie Mannion

In the age of Uber and other online services geared toward providing convenience, online interior design—also known as e-design—is gaining in popularity. Virtual consultations allow clients to pose their design challenges to interior designers, who come up with a plan to refashion a lackluster or blank space. 

Maybe you’re not quite sure what your style is, what curtain would best frame a window, or which sofa covering would complement, not clash with, your color palette. If you’re like most of us, flipping through this magazine admiring room designs (while wondering how you could possibly achieve a similar look on a budget), read on for a roundup of three online design services.

Clients of Decorilla, which is based in New York, begin the design process by completing an online survey and sharing photos and measurements. Instead of being paired with only one designer, Decorilla offers concepts from two different designers, which offers clients more choices.

Though her partner in Decorilla is an interior designer, co-founder and chief inspiration officer Agnieszka Wilk is not. The pair started the company five years ago, after Wilk had moved to South Korea. She understands how clients may struggle to style their homes. “I found it was really hard for me to visualize what curtains would look like,” she says. “I would buy things and end up having to return them four times.”

Cost The cost varies according to the expertise and number of designers: The Bronze plan ($499) covers two designs from two experienced designers, Silver ($549) provides two plans from more experienced designers and Gold ($699) offers concepts from two industry-leading designers.

Clients complete on online survey specifying their design spaces, style preferences, favorite brands and budgets. They share photos and measurements and discuss their spaces with interior designers via Facetime or a phone call.

Founder Cathy Maready says the process can help clients discover their own unique styles. “They upload any photos of things they really love,” she says. “They can also link us to their Pinterest or Houzz pages so that we can really get a feel for their style.” Maready says projects best-suited to Vavaroom are any rooms that don’t involve plumbing.

Cost A mini room package ($199) covers the development of a color palette, space spruce-up with suggestions of key items to make the room pop and a designer brand shopping list. The popular full room option ($399) also includes a floor plan, 3D photo quality rendering, and multiple personalized furniture choices. A deluxe package ($799) adds one-on-one design services with an experienced designer and postdesign support.

Smithe Online Design
This new service offered by Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design involves several simple steps. First, a client completes a brief online survey that asks what sort of room they want to design and to select a favorite design style from a range of options. They are then paired with a designer who will guide them from beginning to end. In step two, they delve deeper into their needs and wants in a discussion with the designer via phone, email, or video chat. Clients also share photos of their existing spaces and send measurements or blueprints and discuss budgets. In the third step, the designer creates a comprehensive plan complete with mood boards, 3D room layouts, and shopping lists. The fourth step is up to the clients—if they are ready to buy and move forward, then they place their order.

While some customers still want to visit a showroom to touch a piece of fabric or sit in a chair, designer Caitie Smithe says online design meets the needs of clients who seek convenience. “We realize it is 2018 and not everyone wants to go to a store,” she says. “We wanted to provide design services that you can access in your pajamas.”

Cost A flat fee of $99 can be applied to a furniture purchase. If you are on the fence about moving ahead, you can keep the design plans.