The Rise of the E-Decorator
E-decorating is experiencing an industry boom as consumers continue to seek a virtual hand.
You see, while Pinterest and Instagram are nice to peruse through and handcrafted Etsy pieces excite, for many consumers, decorating can be a pleasure meets pain exercise.
On the pleasure side, there is the comfort of a space renewed prompted by fresh colours or new furniture.
And while you may love the potential of new or vintage items, the endless variety and “inspo” can also make the research process exhausting and, well, painful.
Now, an expert’s eye will bring solitude to a decorating situation but at what cost?
Traditional interior design and decorating services are often seen as an expensive and time-consuming luxury – a service reserved for high-end customers and large projects.
So consumers are now leaning on the E-decorator, professionals who are breaking the traditional design model.
The E-decorator has no geographical boundaries (except a WiFi connection) and can provide affordable, customised advice all at the pace of the consumer. Oh, and at no stage do they need to step foot into your proposed decorating space.
Last January, Entrepreneur Magazine named ‘affordable outsourcing’ services one of the top industries to watch.
IBIS World predicted that the global Painting and Decorating Service industry would rise 0.5% over the next five years and reach $6.0 billion by the end of 2016.
In the US, one of the leading companies that have pioneered e-decorating is Decorist. They offer a series of design packages and their portfolio is according to taste and budget. However, high-end clients are also invited with consumers able to pick their level and aesthetic of designer Classic, Elite and Celebrity choices.
In Australia, the industry is booming and we speak to talented interior e-decorator Crystal Amesbury, who provides an in-depth look at what’s involved:
E-Decorating: Creativity, Time and Therapy
“Interior Design is a funny thing,” she explained. “It’s a lot of creativity, problem-solving and sometimes a little therapy.”
Amesbury believes that E-decorating greatly appeals to clients who are in their first foray of seeking decorating advice.
“I think E-decorating is a fantastic entry point for those who want to seek out assistance from a professional but aren’t in the position to outlay a particular sum of money,” she said.
Amesbury adds that many consumers are impartial by an initial in-person consult which can make a virtual service more appealing.
This also allows the consumer time to ensure they and the designer are aesthetically aligned for the project.
According to Amesbury, the virtual relationship can demonstrate increased value as the consumer is kept in check often without having to schedule face-to-face appointments.
“Being a creative service, people aren’t familiar with how many hours it takes to put together a concept or finishes scheme so if anything e-decorating gives the client an insight into the time it takes to put something beautiful together,” she explained.
“This then creates appreciation and value, and most importantly a relationship between the designer and client based on trust built through the constant communication required which could very well lead into a consult in person down the line.”
All Projects Welcome
No, you don’t need a waterfront mansion or a swimming pool in the equation as E-decorators can provide a full service transforming an entire house or office to rearranging furniture or giving decorating life to an awkward corner in a room.
“Sometimes a client comes to me looking for full assistance, not knowing where to start and requiring a helping hand to help them further curate their personal style then translate that into their space,” said Amesbury.
“Others know what look they want, but don’t have the time to research and source.
“Sometimes a client is only looking for reassurance on their existing items in which case I’m there to explain why it does (or doesn’t!) work and what would work in its place if necessary and why.”
While price will vary, it’s usually much more affordable than traditional design services. And while price is usually a leading deciding factor when choosing an e-decorator, consumers should know that the service remains full-proof and completely customised.
“E-decorating is usually a flat fee per designated area which is a good start for those who are budget conscious, as opposed to an hourly rate and minimums to meet when it comes to in-house consults,” confirmed Amesbury.
In her own business, she provides a complete package over email that includes, any relevant floor plans, colour schedules, decor and furnishing suggestions.
“Consumers can then purchase items at their leisure allowing them to control their budget, time and spending,” she added.
What to Expect
Amesbury offers a look into her virtual process. With no face-to-face consultations there is a little work on the client side, but nothing that can’t be achieved promptly through a smartphone:
What Amesbury will ask of the consumer is the following:
- Floor Plan or basic dimensioned plan of room(s) (to avoid a measuring tape, you can use applications like Magic Plan or RoomScan)
- Photos showing current space
- Any furniture or decor the client loves (or doesn’t love is just as important)
- Clients should include if they are looking to create a specifically styled room (mid-century modern, Scandinavian, minimalistic, French provincial) or are simply looking for a refresh of their current space
- Photos of anything that the client feels represents the space they’d like to create. Be it for colour, layout, texture or furnishings – Pinterest is a magnificent tool for this.
In return the client will be provided with:
- Prompt detailed email correspondence to further clarify any other requirements
- PDF Look Book (a visual representation of suggested furnishings and decor)
- Floor Plan (for furniture layout it required)
- Schedule outlining product, cost and retailer.
Will E-Decorating Continue to Bloom?
Amesbury is certain that E-decorating will have a flourishing future.
“Not only is it a fantastic opportunity for clients to dip their toes into decorating their homes with professional assistance but it allows a broader range of local designers and decorators online to spread their creative wings,” she said.
She also believes that all designers should invest time in showcasing their work online.
“Interior Design & Decoration is notoriously a difficult field to get into without contacts, so with decorators and designers having online look books, portfolios, Instagram and Facebook pages, it lets the client interact with them and see their style, their vibe and their work well before a business relationship has been entered into.
“It’s a win/win situation.”