Online interior design services, virtual interiors, eDesign, you may have heard about it, but what is it? It seems to have popped up out of nowhere, but is it right for you and your design dilemmas? This week I’m lifting the veil on this new way of getting professional interior design services in a more convenient way than ever before!
But first, here’s why I think online interior design services aren’t just a passing fad (no matter how hard some designers wish it would vanish without a trace).
I felt sick just thinking about it. I’ll never forget the day that I was sitting in one of my interior design classes and the teacher made a comment about retail furniture and how it’s oh so very important to only source the best of the best trade-only pieces for a client…so we can mark up the price and make a bunch of money.
I didn’t grow up with loads of extra money floating around, and going to school with a bunch of Real Housewives types was seriously one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever been through. So when I happened upon online interior design as a way to get professional and polished interior design to anyone, anywhere, and at any budget, I knew this was the path I wanted to take to help all of create the home of your dreams. I knew I wanted to start an Interior Design Revolution!
Not quite sure what online interior design is, or how it works? Well I’ve broken it down for you below so you can see if this is the way of your design future!
Online Interior Design Can Be Done Anytime, Anywhere
Like the name says, online interior design is done online. From video calls, to email, to shopping, the entire process involves working with a remote designer when you want and from wherever you are located. The entire process takes place virtually!
The communication is also super flexible. Maybe I’ll send you a design concept at 10:00 AM PST and you aren’t available give me some feedback until you get off work at 6:00 PM EST. No problem!
Traditional interior designers typically work M-F from 9-5, but you might too! And with kids, and friends, trips to the gym, your lady boss life, and getting enough sleep (what’s that?), you may not have time to meet with a designer, even if you don’t have a traditional job.
Online interior design makes it easy for the gal-about-town, who already has a full to-do list, to get professional, personalized design help without ever leaving their house and with minimal scheduled appointments.
Online Interior Design Gives You Everything You Need to Decorate Your Space
There really isn’t much you can’t buy online these days, and that’s the beauty of virtual interior design. When considering an online interior designer, look at what they deliver in their packages- not all design services are equal! For me, I always provide:
1. A video Design Brainstorming Session
2. A “Welcome Package” with questionnaire and measuring and photography guide
3. A room mockup with all of the pieces for your home with up to two revision cycles
4. A shopping list with all the information you need to order your new pieces
5. A floor plan so you know where to place your new items
6. Detailed instructions so you know where to place accessories and art
7. A video wrap-up call to tackle any of your unanswered questions
Online Interior Design Gets You Involved
Traditional interior designers offer a slew of full-service features, including measuring your space, taking pictures, interviewing you regarding your taste and needs, purchasing all items for you, and overseeing the final install.
Online interior designers can’t do all of this for you because we don’t go to your home. This means you will need to be more involved in the process- which is fun!
You will typically need to measure your space, take photographs, and answer a questionnaire to get the job started. After all of your items have been selected, you will then need to order your pieces and install them yourself or hire a handyman.
Sound like too much work? I’ve got you covered!
After our initial video Design Brainstorming Session, you will receive a welcome package with all of the questions you need to answer and a guide to measuring and photographing your home. My clients have never had a hard time getting me the info because I walk them through ever step!
When you receive your final design package, you will get a detailed shopping list, making the ordering process easy- and you can order whatever you like, whenever you like. You can wait for a sale, order in stages, or order all at once.
I also include a video call after the delivery of your design package so we can talk about anything you want- questions regarding styling with your new accessories, questions about placement of furniture, tips for hanging that gallery wall. You’ve got it! #ithoughtofeverything
Online Interior Design is Cost Effective
Interior designers have a bad rep for being highly priced. And while traditional interior design does take more hours to complete on the designer’s part because they offer a wider range of services, there’s no denying that there are certain decorators out there that will upcharge trade-only items to such a high-percent that only the rich and famous can afford their work.
There are also designers out there that will simply not work with lower budgets because there won’t be enough money for them to get a big enough cut. Have I told you about my professor who wouldn’t work with sofas less than $30,000? Enough said!
So what online interior design lacks in the full-service department, it makes up for in price. And if you’re looking for the perfect designer for you, whether it be local or virtual, check out my post on the 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring an Interior Designer.
Online Interiors Design Can Be a Premium Experience
Now don’t kid- you aren’t going to get a premium experience for $99. I’m a firm believer in getting out what you put in.
However, I’m going to brag a bit on the Paper Moon online interior design services.
Here’s a few things I’ve done for my clients:
- Select trade-only exclusive wallpaper
- Communicate with wallpaper installers to ensure the right amount of rolls are ordered
My client, Francesca, fell in love with the pattern on her Kate Spade mug, and it was the inspiration for her brand colors. Being her go-to-gal, I knew exactly where I could find that print in wallpaper form. We'll be ordering rolls as soon as she's ready!
- Have custom-designed furniture pieces made and shipped
- Design and work with local workrooms to have custom window treatments made from designer fabrics
For this sewing room, I was called in for general accessorizing and some added storage, since my client, Debbie, already had most of the furniture pieces she needed. We had a custom pink, Hollywood Regency style storage unit made that was taller than the average piece so she could also use it as an ironing station. The pink ombre wallpaper was also matched with a one-of-a-kind antique Moroccan rug, and I worked with a drapery workroom to have custom panels made out of the floral fabric. We can't wait to see how it all comes together!
Because one of the beautiful parts of online interior design is that my clients can install when it's the right time for their life!
- Create a mockup of bookshelves so they know exactly where to put all their new accessories
One of the questions I get the most is how do my clients know where to put all of their accessories.
Most of the time I'm able to help with final styling during our post-instal video chat, but for bigger jobs, like a built-in shelving unit, I want my clients to have all of the tools they need to get the styling done. So I usually create a scale mockup of their unit and digitally put the accessories where they will go. So easy!
- Design tile patterns for flooring and fireplace surrounds.
Interior design isn't always super glamorous- sometimes there's a lot of math and logic involved- like this very complex floor pattern that I created for my client, Natasha's master bathroom flooring.
But here's where the magic happens- see my pattern on the ground? The installers knew exactly what to do to make the pattern my client dreamed of!
And seriously, how gorgeous did the bathroom turn out! eDesign really does have no limits!
- Ship designer, trade-only fabric for reupholstery
Here are some gorgeous outdoor fabrics that will very soon go in one of my client's outdoor patio area. We ordered a great sectional on sale, perfect for the space, but it's brown- yuck. These trade-only fabrics are the perfect punch for this color-loving lady.
- Provide designer-only discounts on pieces (this often pays for my design fee!)
- Have custom drapery rods made from the sleekest brass and lucite
- Work with artists on commissioned art pieces
So is online interior design the right choice for your design dilemma?
If so, I’d love to talk more with you about your project!
Still not sure this is the way to get some design help? Let me give you a bit more help!
Online Interior Design Perfect For You If…
You are too busy to blink- you just want someone you trust to put a room together based on your needs and personality.
One of my clients is an attorney and busy mom of two. And when she found me, she had to get all new furniture and a new home because of a mold issue. Talk about not having the time to have scheduled meetings!
You are comfortable ordering furniture online.
I know the best of the best manufacturers and recommend them to my clients all the time! That said, sometimes we need to get more budget friendly pieces, and I know where to go for those, too. Helping my clients determine where to spend the bulk of their budget for maximum impact and quality versus where to save is one of my favorite parts of this job!
You work a traditional schedule and can’t meet for meetings easily during weekdays.
Local designers have a set schedule. There’s no getting around that and it is not something to negotiate. One of my best friends does not schedule meetings in the evening and never works on Sunday, and rarely on Saturday. And this doesn’t work with everyone’s schedule. But with online interior design services, there are no official meetings unless necessary (they’re rare). My clients email me and check on the project in my online studio whenever they like.
You are okay with hanging art and drapes yourself or are willing to find a handyman to do it for you.
Now no interior designer should be hanging your drapes anyway, unless they’re a licensed contractor. However, normally a local interior designer has a slew of subcontractors and handymen that they can recommend for you. I, however, don’t live in everyone’s area, so my clients either do it themselves or find someone to hire.
The same goes with wallpaper and upholstery. While I can order wallpaper and fabric for you, you’ll need to find someone to hang the paper or reupholster any pieces. Unless you’re in the Los Angeles area- then I always share the workrooms that I use in my home! And since so many of my clients are in this area, they love it!
You want to have the one-on-one help from a designer and know it doesn’t matter if you ever meet face-to-face.
Sometimes DIY isn’t in the cards, especially if you’re busy or you want a particular style. And sometimes you just need to help of a designer to tell you what accessories to purchase and where to put them, what length drapes to order and how high and wide they should be hung, and what size, material, and style area rug will work best for the space. Because if you didn’t need this help you would have done it by now!
You live in an area that is very interior design specific and you don’t dig it. Online interiors allows you to find the perfect designer for your style!
This was the case with one of my clients in the Denver area. She’s a glam gal, equal parts preppy Kate Spade and Mid Century vintage. And that is not the scene in Colorado. Working with me, a fellow glamour girl with a California vibe, was the perfect fit for the look she was going for.
You want to order pieces in stages so it makes sense for your budget.
Sometimes my clients buy everything at once. Sometimes they buy in stages. It all depends on how busy they get or what their budget will allow. Some local designers are okay with this, while some aren’t. They may have strict timelines that they go by, and I have known a few that want everything purchased now so they can get their markup.
As soon as I show you your first design concept, you can start shopping. Or you can buy the most important pieces first and hold off on the accessories to get the room functional as soon as possible. It’s completely up to you!