This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader
For as long as I can remember, acquiring the services of an interior designer has been the privilege of the wealthy. When I was a child, women in high heels with extravagant hair and manicured nails or men in pristine suits and probably a tad too much jewelry, would saunter through their clients’ homes and help them to make the most of their space. Elaborate drapes were matched with finely patterned and carved furniture, heavy rugs and tasseled table lamps. All with an appropriately elaborate price tag. Getting someone to advise you how to put your home together was reserved for the rich, while the rest had to make do with our own creativity, inspiration from design books and whatever the limited retail offering was in those days.
What does the future of interior design look like?
The internet brought with it a whole new era of free information. Consumers suddenly had the chance to see what someone on the other side of the world was doing and creating without having to wait for it to appear in a book or magazine months later. But what that also did, was open up a whole new market for designers to virtually connect with clients anywhere in the world.
Designers possess the superpower of visualization and we don’t always understand that not everyone can see things the way we do. That’s why we can see what a room should look like even if it is just an empty shell or a line drawing on a piece of paper. And that’s ultimately why our clients hire us. You don’t actually have to be in the room to do the job. Does it help? Sure. Is it essential? No.
This way of working is much more cost-efficient for a studio. There’s no travel time and cost to consider, and no site management required, giving a virtual project a much quicker turn-around time. This cost efficiency allows anyone with a bit of extra cash to consult with a designer on anything from a color scheme for a room to a full-scale design service for their home at greatly reduced rates.
I have been chatting with many interior designers over the last few weeks and I was amazed to find how many of them have embraced this new way of designing for the masses. They still offer a turn-key design service for those who want it, but they also offer piecemeal design for single rooms and a variety of virtual design packages.
How exactly does virtual interior design work?
It’s really simple. You take pictures and a video of the room and send it to the designer. You then discuss your requirements with the designer over the phone or via video chat, much the same as you would face-to-face, and they then come up with a design, layout and shopping list. Depending on their location, they could even recommend contractors to complete the job. Many established interior designer firms offer this virtual service but you can also look at online freelancer marketplaces like Upwork to find a designer. Just post your job requirements and wait for bids.
Fellow SA designer and blogger Belinda of Tassels and Tigers does a virtual design service as well as Decor-In-A-Box where you request your desired theme or the look you want to create, and then a box filled with custom curated decor items is shipped to your door.
Scout & Nimble in the US has taken this concept to a whole new level by creating a marketplace of desirable goods matched with a selection of talented interior designers. Their Shoppable Designer Rooms have been created by established interior designers using the products on offer, and you literally shop the contents of the room with the click of a button. It’s like the get-the-look shopping page in a decor magazine, except that you can click and shop without leaving your home.
Another designer that took that idea and ran with it, is Sarah Wittenbraker. Her page Worn + Domestic takes a fun look at a theme, often a movie or childhood memory, for which she then creates a mood board with shoppable links for both clothes and decor.
This new way of making design accessible, as well as the variety of blogs and websites sharing free information and tips, have really brought interior design into anyone’s home. There will always be the privileged who will get an interior designer to create that picture perfect, styled and magazine-ready home. For the rest of us, there is the internet.
Feature Image: Shutterstock