Online interior design (E-Design) is gaining popularity as more and more people go to the internet to solve their problems. E-Design is a virtual collaboration between client and interior designer. All communication is done via email and phone conversations. It is an easy, affordable, and fun way to create beautiful spaces in your home. Below are 6 essential tips to ensure you have a great online interior design experience!
Note: I use the term interior designer, but an interior decorator can also provide E-Design services! An interior decorator has an “eye” for design, but is not a registered interior designer. This blog post uses the term “designer”, but all tips apply to a “decorator” as well.
- Measure EVERYTHING!
More is more when it comes to measuring your space for your online collaboration! Be METICULOUS in your measurements! Make sure to complete all measurements before starting the design process.
It is also helpful to draw up a very basic floor plan of the space; it doesn’t have to be to scale and can be far from perfect! The most important thing is that you include doors, windows, and other unique elements in the drawing. You can record your measurements on the drawing.
Things to Measure:
- Overall room dimensions (wall to wall AND floor to ceiling).
- Doors, windows, and architectural elements (e.g. fireplace). Measure both height and width.
- Measure from the top of doors, windows, and elements to the ceiling.
- Measure from the bottom of windows and unique elements to the floor.
- Existing furniture, rugs, and wall art that you want to keep in the space.
- Take (and send) Photos of EVERYTHING in your Space
Again, more is more when it comes to photos too. Make sure to send a photo of every wall in the room, as well as a photo of the overall space. Virtual design collaborations can be difficult with too little information!
Provide detailed photos of any unique architectural elements that will affect the design.
Send detailed photos of any existing furniture or accents you wish to incorporate into the new design.
- Determine your Budget and Communicate it to your Designer
It is very important that you have your budget in place before the designer gets to work. Obviously you want to stay within budget, and this can only be done if you are clear and explicit about what you are willing to spend.
Believe me, it IS possible to create a beautiful room on nearly any budget! You do have to maintain realistic expectations though … don’t expect a high quality rug with a price tag of $200. You can find a beautiful rug at this price point but just have proper expectations that it won’t be as soft and plush as a more expensive rug!
- Communicate in a Timely Manner
The e-design process will go more smoothly (and more quickly) if you respond to your designer’s emails in a timely manner. You should expect the same from your designer as well!
There is a lot of back-and-forth between designer and client due to questions and revisions in the online decorating process. Sometimes it is very useful to set aside a chunk of time for collaboration (i.e. schedule a time you can both be online and communicating).
- Be Open and Honest with your Designer
The more information you can provide up front, the better! OVEREXPLAIN your space! Your designer needs to be able to visualize the room with all its unique features and nuances.
Completely fill out the Design Questionnaire to give the designer as much information as possible about what you envision for your space.
Provide as many inspiration photos as possible! This is done easily by creating a Pinterest board with photos of how you hope your room will look when completed. If you are not on Pinterest, you can email home décor photos from magazines or websites.
Most importantly, do NOT worry about hurting the designer’s feelings! Be confident in YOUR opinions and kindly let your designer know when you are not in agreement with her! A good interior stylist or designer wants her client to be happy! Furnishing a room is a large financial investment so you want to love what you are getting!
- Measure (again) before you Purchase
This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT because some retailers do not allow furniture returns, or they charge hefty restocking fees.
A virtual designer will use the measurements you provide to source furniture, rugs, wall art, accents, etc. However the designer isn’t always aware of what might pose a problem. There might be a vent in the floor, for example, or a window frame that juts out that affects furniture placement.
You should always do a final measure of your space before purchasing any items. I find it very helpful to map out furniture, rugs, and wall art; you can do this by placing painter’s tape in the area where the item will go. If it fits, then you can go ahead and order!
If purchasing wallpaper, I highly recommend that you have a local wallpaper hanging professional measure your walls to know exactly how many rolls you need to order. I ALWAYS do this when ordering wallpaper! Most professionals will measure free of charge if you use them to hang the paper.
Online interior design offers a great alternative to traditional interior design if your needs are more cosmetic and do not require a structural renovation or custom elements such as cabinetry or shelving.
If you are comfortable communicating via email and phone, and you feel confident you can execute your plan with minimal hand-holding, I highly recommend E-Design!
I hope you find these tips for a great online interior design experience helpful! Please visit my E-DESIGN page if you are interested in some decorating help! You might also enjoy reading Why E-Design is a Great Option.