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Online interior design services: Are they right for you?

Heather Terveen is a writer and blogger with a passion for anything and everything related to creating beautiful spaces. Shes a contributing writer for SheKnows covering home, lifestyle and parenting topics. Follow her adventures in home...

A new trend in decorating

Think you can't afford an interior decorator? Think again. While using an on-site decorator is outside the budget for many of us (not to mention time consuming), hiring a decorator remotely just might fit the bill for your next project.
A new trend in decorating

We interviewed two interior design teams that offer online services to get the scoop on what virtual decorating is all about. Check out how these innovative designers are reaching out to clients outside their area.

Casey Grace Design

Courtney and Kristin of Casey Grace Design are known for creating spaces that reflect a warm and traditional style infused with current trends and a splash of sparkle. (Courtney is also the author of the popular home decor and organization blog A Thoughtful Place.) Here are their thoughts on virtual design services.

SheKnows: What type of services do you offer your online clients?

Casey Grace Design: We offer our clients three different levels of service:

  1. Online Style Board — This is the highest and most thorough level of service that we provide. Based on client input concerning color palette, lifestyle needs and budget, we design a room using accent furniture, textiles, wall art and DIY suggestions to personalize the room. The final product includes the style board (a JPEG of the items chosen for the room), a list of sources and a detailed design plan so the client has a "how-to" guide.
  2. Just Four Things — This service is for the client who has the basics in place but would like an updated feel to their room. We work with the client to decide which four things should be switched up and then with their input on color palette and style, we create an inspiration board (including source list) with the four items that will transform their space.
  3. Spruce Our Space — This service is for the client who wishes someone could pop in for an hour and simply give them great ideas for their space. The client emails us a few photos of their room and within three days we email them in return with a written description of how to arrange their furniture, ways to incorporate color and pattern and suggestions on accessorizing the space with decorative items and wall art.

A new trend in decorating

SheKnows: What are the benefits of hiring an interior designer remotely?

Casey Grace Design: There are many benefits to hiring a designer remotely. First and foremost, it means that everything can be done on your own time, and it does not require someone coming in and out of your home. Once you have the design plan, you can take some time to process the ideas and implement them yourself. With more and more people enjoying DIY projects, it also offers you the chance to recreate high-end looks for much less. Unlike in the past, online design affords you the opportunity to easily identify a designer who represents your design aesthetic. Bottom line, an off-site designer can save you time and money. Especially if you are simply looking for a few design elements to give your space a distinct style.

SheKnows: What type of projects aren't fits for an off-site designer?

Casey Grace Design: Projects that involve any type of remodeling are not a good fit for our design services. It is extremely difficult to help clients choose major structural items such as flooring, cabinets, counters, etc. These items need on-site experts who can help with measuring and the nuances of color that are difficult to ascertain on the internet. We are also not equipped to recommend electrical or plumbing alterations as these require licensed professionals.

SheKnows: Any tips for our readers that are considering working with a designer virtually?

Casey Grace Design: Before hiring an online designer, it is important to spend time researching pictures of rooms, items and color palettes that you really love. The more direction the designer has, the easier the process will be and the happier you will be with the final design for the room. Communication skills are also essential; you must be able to verbalize your likes and dislikes. Good candidates for the virtual design process should also have the confidence to implement the design plan and be willing to let go and trust the process.

Relish Design

Relish Design is a full-service design firm known for creating natural interiors with an emphasis on modern that's warm, organic and innovative. Founder and director Trisha Guido gave us her thoughts on virtual design services.

SheKnows: What type of services do you offer your online clients?

Guido: We have a service called The Designer's Box that we offer our remote clients. There are seven steps that we use to ensure our client's needs are met. It begins with a lifestyle questionnaire and clients showing us images of their home (including a floor plan or measurements). We typically have a conference call to get it going and make sure there is a good fit. We send them an interior design spread, space plan and product sourcing guide.

SheKnows: What are the benefits of hiring an interior designer remotely?

Guido: The biggest savings is time and money. We learn to get to the essence of what they need or want much more quickly. The clients can review the information on their own time and not necessarily during business hours alone.

SheKnows: What type of projects aren't fits for an off-site designer?

Guido: Those clients that need constant hand-holding or those that have difficulty making design choices without a designer there beside them every step of the way. Another point is if the client really doesn't know what they want or easily gets diverted with so many choices in the marketplace — (on-site) designers are great at filtering options that work for the client very quickly.

SheKnows: Any tips for our readers that are considering working with a designer virtually?

Guido: It's always best to start with a few areas that you are unhappy with — we call them the "pain points" and areas that we can try and address immediately for a better quality of life. Also, it's best to send good images to the designers (from many different angles) in daylight and at night. Color and lighting are a big area of interior design that must be reviewed before any furnishings as it can be transformative as a first step.

Tell us

Would you ever consider hiring a designer remotely? Share in the comments below.

More on interior design trends

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HGTV's David Bromstad predicts 2012 interior design trends
Emerging home decor trends

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