Just like other industries, the field of interior design has been changing over the last few decades due to the impact of the internet. Now in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in drastic shifts in how business is conducted. Traditionally, interior design has been done in-person, involving home visits, face-to-face meetings to review materials and plans, and shopping excursions to select merchandise. The future of interior design & e-design will look very different than 5 years ago. Now, with many restrictions in place, industry professionals are discovering new ways to work with their clients virtually.
Fortunately, consumers are becoming more comfortable using on-line services and purchasing items for their homes on the internet. At the same time, more sophisticated technology and tools have become available. Interior designers are understanding the benefits of offering internet-based services that allow them to reach a broader audience while reducing overhead costs and having more flexibility in their work.
All of this had led to a growing interest in E-Design, an on-line service that offers clients access to the expertise of an interior designer while catering to a tech-savvy, do-it-yourself generation. An option that falls between full-service interior design and do-it-yourself home improvement can be the perfect tool for people looking for help but due to constraints on money, time and skills do not want to hire a traditional design firm. It’s quick and effective, resulting in a space that is both affordable and professionally designed.
Table of contents
- What is E Design?
- How is E Design different than Interior Design?
- Is E Design right for you?
- E Design Process
- How Much Does It Cost To Hire An E-Designer? (Upwork & Fiverr)
- How Much Do E Designers Charge Per Room?
- How To Become An E Designer?
What is E-Design?
E-Design is a simple and convenient alternative to hiring an interior designer or decorator without retaining a full-service interior design firm. It is a collaboration between the designer and the client, allowing designers to work with clients anywhere in the world, without conducting face-to-face meetings or the need for travel. Because communication occurs virtually, clients have more flexibility with their schedule and the design timeline can be sped up considerably. The service provides a step-by-step plan for creating a professionally-designed space that meets each client’s style, tastes, and budget. It is an ideal option for clients seeking a designer’s expertise, yet who can implement the plan on their own. Clients receive a design package devised specifically for them in a platform that is both accessible and affordable.
Through the use of photos, measurements of the space, and descriptions provided by the client either verbally or by filling in an on-line questionnaire, the designer can “see” the home and provide the same level of attention afforded to full-service clients. The designer will create a comprehensive design concept for a room, putting the desired “look” together and providing the necessary tools for carrying out the project, guiding clients through each step of the process, whether it’s a single room or an entire home.
How Does E-Design Differ from Traditional Interior Design?
The main difference between E-Design and traditional interior design is that E-Design takes a DIY approach. Full-service interior design typically involves a designer coming to your home to take measurements and photos before designing the space, in addition to doing the ordering, installation, and final styling. The process involves meetings, shopping trips, overseeing contractors, storage of merchandise, and arranging to have everything delivered on the same day. With E-Design, the designer may never set foot in your home. You not only take your photos and measurements, but you are also responsible for doing all the ordering yourself and working directly with vendors. The downside is that if something breaks or needs to be returned or replaced, it is up to you to work things out with the supplier.
E-Design has a much quicker turn-around, often as little as two to four weeks. The process eliminates the need for working on the designer’s schedule, having meetings, or going on shopping trips; in fact, you don’t have to make an appointment every time you want to talk to your designer. A traditional project could take anywhere from a few months or more than a year because it is often more involved. Additionally, full-service interior designers typically specify everything on the project, from furniture and accessories to color, fabrics, and countertops. But with E-Design, you won’t be able to see the selections in person until they arrive at your home.
Finally, a very big difference is cost. If you use a residential interior designer, you will have to pay design fees that often start at as much as $150/hour. Some designers will not take on small, one-room projects or may have a high minimum such as $10,000. E-Design typically offers design concept packages, often as low as $35. I recommend reaching out to trusted e-designers on Fiverr to see if they can help with your project.
Is E-Design Right for You?
If you need a design professional’s creativity and experience, would like to proceed from the comfort of your home, enjoy the convenience of working on your schedule with no deadline pressures, and want to save money, then E-Design is for you. It is a great choice for people who want to get involved in their projects but are looking for professional guidance and expertise.
Your job will include preparation, management, and implementation. Here’s what you must be able to do:
- Be tech-savvy and feel comfortable communicating virtually
- Take your own photos
- Take your own measurements
- Be articulate about your tastes and goals
- Send inspirational photos you see on websites such as Instagram or Pinterest
- Do your own ordering and handling of exchanges or returns
- Work directly with contractors (painters, carpenters, flooring specialists, etc.)
But E-Design may not be for everyone. If you need guidance through the process, want someone to take charge and make decisions, have someone create detailed construction documents, or go shopping with you, you would be better off with a traditional designer. Likewise, if you desire white-glove service such as in-home consultations, detailed measurements, presentation of samples, custom millwork, construction documents created, all of your furniture delivered at the same time, then you should not consider using E-Design services.
Each design firm varies in its approach to E-Design and every project is unique, so there is some variation in what to expect when you embark upon an E-Design project. In most cases, the process begins with filling in a detailed questionnaire which describes your tastes and vision as well as your budget and timeline. Some designers start their work with a phone conversation. You will be required to take measurements and photos and send them digitally. The interior designer will then create a custom plan based on your responses and provide design boards and floor plans as needed. Most offer some form of a DIY guide that provides all the necessary tools for achieving the best possible results while allowing you to work at your own pace.
1. Questionnaire: Typically filled out on-line, this will gather information about your project requirements, design goals, and vision.
2. Design Prep: You will be required to take measurements and photographs of your space. Additional information may be required based on the scope of your project.
3. Design Board (sometimes called a Mood Board) and Floor Plan: The E-Designer will create some form of a personalized home design concept. It may be a design board, which is a visual representation of what your space will look like. You may receive a preliminary design for approval and have an opportunity to request revisions. When your design is finalized, your design presentation will be sent digitally and may include visuals, a personalized shopping list, instructions, and a decorating guide with all the tools and tips you will need to create your space.
4. Personalized Shopping List: This is a list of everything you need to purchase to complete the design plan.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire An E-Designer
There are many ways to find an E-Designer at no cost. One advantage of using an E-Designer is that are not restricted to geographical boundaries and are therefore able to search the entire country for the right person. You can post a project on freelancer platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr, rely on word of mouth, or simply do an internet search.
I highly recommend Jesse Cole Design. Their e-design services include:
How Much Do E-Designers Charge Per Room?
One of the biggest selling points of E-Design services is a single flat-rate fee, so there are no hidden costs or surprises at the end of the project. Pricing is transparent, showing a la carte fees, so you never have to feel like the meter is running. Usually, the designer’s website will show its fees on-line, including per-room and package fees. This contrasts with using traditional interior design services, which often require a project retainer, paying an hourly rate and the reimbursement of expenses such as travel expenses and other administrative costs.
Most E-Design projects focus on a single room. An online search will show that most E-Designers charge under $1,000 per room, with a $500 fee being average. A diligent search may reveal services that are available for less than $100. Some designers offer packages at different prices, becoming more expensive as more options are offered. You will also be able to find designers offering specialties such as meditation rooms and wellness spaces, home offices, home bars, and baby/children rooms. Fees might be based on the square footage of a room.
How to Become an E-Designer?
Any interior designer who is tech-savvy can offer E-Design services. In today’s world, most interior designers are already familiar with available virtual tools and software and know-how to use them. There are no Federal or State laws that require any specific licensing or certification, or specific qualifications for providing E-Design services. The laws that govern the practice of interior design vary from state to state. Some states do not even require an interior designer to have any type of education or accreditation, although a degree in interior design is often required.
Online E-Design courses are available for a fee. Usually, certification is provided upon successful completion of the course, which may be a good credential to attract clients but is not legally required. You can also find free courses on Lynda.com or find a webinar on websites specifically for interior designers.
Designers can also download E-Design software, which is either free or available for a fee on-line. Software such as Photoshop will allow designers to create three-dimensional visuals, enabling them to have total control over the creative, manipulation, and presentation of 3-D. This skill may enable them to charge more, or at least be a selling point for prospective clients.
Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic as hastened the popularity of E-Design services as both interior designers and prospective clients either cannot or will not travel or conduct face-to-face meetings. Fortunately, the tools for practicing
E-Design already exists, and most designers know how to use them. This new breed of service may be the perfect solution for both designers and clients. For designers, it offers the ability to attract clients from all over the world and to work from home with a flexible schedule. For homeowners, it means they can engage in home improvement projects using the expertise and creativity of a designer but without the high costs.