DESIGN INFO // WHAT THE HELL IS E-DESIGN AND IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?
Are you seeing the word E-Design thrown around and wish someone would explain what the hell that means? Read on for insights into what E-Design is and see if it could benefit you!
E-Design - aka Virtual Decorating, aka Online Interior Design, aka I’m writing this so my family actually knows what it is I do - at its core is all about convenience, affordable design fees and whittled down turnaround times for you, the client. I’m not talking about a next day design and custom credenza delivered next week kind of turnaround, so don’t get your hopes up because that doesn’t exist. Sorry. E-design is, however, a true collaboration between designer and client, with work being done on both ends so that the typical design timeline is sped up considerably. All of the communication is either done by phone, email or video calls which allows you to have more flexibility in your schedule for fun things like happy hour and binge watching TV shows. Let’s dive into the nitty gritty and see if E-Design is the right choice for you!
How Does E-Design Work & What’s Included?
I have outlined my specific design process here, but in a nutshell most E-Design services go a little something like this:
The Questionnaire: Fill out a detailed questionnaire which covers everything from fabric, color and art preferences to timeline and budget. If you choose my Signature Package I ask some in-depth questions about your preferences because I really want to get to the bottom of your personality and how I can translate that into a design you love.
Your Homework: You measure your space, take plenty of good photos and make note of any existing pieces you want to work into the new design.
Moodboard Creation: A moodboard is created based off the answers in your questionnaire with inspiration photos and a few furniture and decor pieces. Not every design firm sends you a sneak peek before giving you the main design plan, so if you are really wanting a first look within a week, seek out a designer that offers this. If you purchase my Signature Package I offer two moodboard options before the design plan is delivered because I like to make sure we are vibing with the color, pattern and general direction of the space.
The Deliverables: This is where designer offerings really start to differ. Designers offer everything from a single concept board to 3D mockups to a mailed box with your printed design and shopping list. There’s no right or wrong option here, just find something that works for you! In my Signature Package I include a Floorplan, Design Plan, Perspective Rendering, a Shopping List, and Styling Instructions. Phew! A lot of goodies, I know. If that sounds like way too much for what you need, I also offer A La Carte Styling Packages for those troublesome spots in your home.
The Execution: You purchase the recommended items at your leisure and pull the room together once everything has been received. I offer a Post-Design Conference Call with my signature packages to help as you are hanging artwork, styling your coffee table or to address any remaining questions to help you finish the space.
Who Should and Should Not Hire An E-Designer
Let’s be real, hiring a virtual interior designer is not for everyone. If you need someone to guide you through every step in the process, take you shopping or create detailed construction documents, then I would definitely seek out a local designer. On the other hand, if you don’t mind busting out your tape measurer, putting up paint samples and testing out sofas on the weekend, E-Design might be the answer to your decorating woes. This isn’t an all encompassing list, but it will give you a good idea if a virtual designer or local designer would be a better fit for you!
Hire an E-Designer if:
Able to measure and photograph your space
Able to articulate through inspiration images and product links exactly what you like
Desire to have a design plan narrowed down within a few weeks
Able to order products on your own and handle any returns/exchanges
Able to hire any tradesmen (painter, installer, etc) on your own
Hire a Local Designer if:
Want in-home consultations
Want detailed room measurements and photos done for you
Want multiple fabric/wallpaper books and tile/flooring/countertop samples brought to your home
Need construction documents or custom cabinetry designed
Want furniture purchasing handled
Want all of your new furniture delivered and installed at the same time (ie, the designer houses the furniture until install)
Common Misconceptions About E-Design
Even if you are just now hearing about virtual interior design it is already causing a stir in the design community and beyond. I think it’s important to address some of the impressions that are currently out there and provide a bit more background about E-Designers in general.
We are stealing traditional designer’s work
E-design is ruffling quite a few feathers among traditional interior design firms and even trade sources for that matter. I firmly believe that there is plenty of room for both design avenues and that each one meets a specific need (like mentioned above). I have had the opportunity to work in design firms and would spend months, sometimes up to a year, on a project - from measuring a client's home, to choosing fabric/flooring/tile samples with multiple site visits, to inspecting a carpenter’s handiwork at installation. This is why a traditional designer’s fees will usually be higher - they have to charge for all of those hours spent collecting samples, meeting with contractors and driving all around God’s green earth trying to find that perfect last minute accessory. E-design is a different beast altogether because of its completely online nature and of the fact that once you receive your final design it’s up to you on exactly what elements you choose to incorporate into your home and the timeframe in which you wish to do so.
We Are Uneducated
I went the traditional schooling route, received my degree in Interior Design and worked for various design firms before branching out into strictly online interiors. I choose to mostly do virtual design because my husband is in the military and we are constantly moving. We’ve moved 6 times in the past 6 years! It would be damn near impossible to find you wonderful clients and nurture relationships in each new city so I made the decision two years ago to move everything online!
This Is Easy
False. Just because I am not trudging to your house with six bags of samples doesn’t mean that I am over here twiddling my thumbs until the day before I deliver a design to you. Online design plans may look beautiful and easily put together, but it surely didn’t take me an hour to create! I review each client’s needs/wants and ask in-depth questions because this design is tailored to you. I still put in a lot of effort and hours into each project, just like a traditional designer- I’m not mass producing anything over here!
We Are Magicians
I pride myself on being damn good at finding deals and sourcing products from several places, but I cannot make you a living room from scratch that only costs $1000. I mean, technically I could, but I won’t. I promise I’m not being snooty, I am just being realistic! You wouldn’t be happy with the quality of furniture you are receiving and I certainly wouldn’t be happy delivering a lackluster design. Yes, online interior design services are less expensive than traditional routes, but that doesn’t mean we can whip up a stellar design with an unrealistic budget.
We Have Seen Every Product We Choose For You
You won’t hear many designers call attention to this fact. Is it possible for me to have touched, squeezed, sat on, caressed (okay, enough with the weird verbs) every item that I place in your design? Unfortunately, no. I go to design markets, order fabric samples, read reviews and see as much product in person as I can, but ultimately I cannot guarantee the color/texture/quality of every item. I recommend brands that I find to be of higher quality or offer easy returns and exchanges and would be happy to use sources local to you so that you may see the product first hand before bringing it home.
Don't forget to grab your Shopping Resource List before you go!