Design Disruptors: The E-Design Companies Changing the Decorating Game

Design Disruptors: The E-Design Companies Changing the Decorating Game

Danielle Blundell
Apr 17, 2017
(Image credit: Courtesy Havenly)

Maybe you're busy, so you've never really given your home the design love it deserves. Or you just don't know where to start or how to finish a half-decorated room. Whatever the reason, it shouldn't be your budget. A bunch of new e-design companies have made professional decorating help more affordable, approachable and convenient than ever, with decor advice just a click away.

Most online interior design services stop short of traditional full-service decorating, meaning no one's building your furniture or perfectly styling your home for you here. But you still get a lot of bang for your buck, since $200 to $300 will get you a customized plan for a room makeover. Many of the companies employ a roster of talented designers and use some kind of a questionnaire as a jumping off point to match you with a like-style pro. Who doesn't love a quiz, right?

Once you're paired with a designer, the next step typically involves an e-consultation for sharing your project details: measurements, photos, budget, pieces you already have and want to keep and so on. From there, your designer will put together a digital inspiration board with shoppable furnishings, paint colors and room layout suggestions. Read the fine print about this part of the process to make sure revisions are included if you're the indecisive type. Once you've approved the plan, you'll typically get a shopping list so you can buy everything and assemble the room IRL.

So how do you decide what company to work with? Well, that depends on you because they all have something different to offer. Here's a sampling of some of best-known e-design companies out there:


First up is Havenly, which has a California casual vibe, and starts at just $79 for a "Mini" makeover package that includes help fine-tuning a room and choosing accessories. Havenly also has e-commerce capabilities, so you can order products directly from them. As an added bonus, they'll pass on any trade discounts and shipping savings. A full room rendering costs $199. Plus, one of our very own tested of Havenly's services; check out the results here.


If you're wowed by big time talent, Decorist might be your best bet. They have three levels of designers — Classic, Elite and Celebrity — that you can choose according to your budget (the range is $299 to $1,299 per full room). In the top tier, we're talking the likes of Celerie Kemble, Estee Stanley and Justina Blakeney here. Expect super polished rooms and two boards to choose from right off the bat, with a complimentary purchasing service similar to Havenly's for an easy breezy install.

Laurel & Wolf

For someone who likes options, Laurel & Wolf is where it's at. Their $249 "Signature" package offers "First Looks" from three interior designers. You pick your favorite, then it's unlimited revisions until you arrive at your final setup, which comes within 10 days of matching with a designer. Services start at $199. Their designs tend to be fun and colorful—they sure know how to do a modern nursery!


Modsy puts yet another twist on the e-model. For $99, you can upload a room's worth of photos, which the site turns into a realistic 3D model. Then you can redo your room virtually with products from over 100 stores (as well as your own existing pieces), seeing what they'd look like to scale in your layout. There's not a ton of hand-holding here; it's up to you to decide what the final scheme will look like and order your products through the site, since you're not really collaborating with a designer.

Need some more guidance? Check out one couple's experience with a few of these services, and happy e-designing!

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