What is a virtual style mentor?
So, you’ve heard this term ‘e-decorating’ being bandied about online but you’re still not exactly sure what it means.
In today’s tech obsessed world we tend to get caught up in not so productive things like watching cat videos on YouTube and obsessing over our Facebook feeds. We also might also get discouraged thinking about all the dodgy as peeps creeping around online! But I’m here to let you know that the internet can be a totally awesome place - full of insanely useful professionals, with serious skills. As in life, you just gotta know how to be super savvy and filter out the crap you don’t need!
When I was studying interior design, I use to think a lot about how I could streamline the design process - how to make it much easier and affordable for people to have spaces that look like they have jumped out from the pages of ‘Home Beautiful’. I was a first home owner at the time so I really understood the struggle of decorating on a budget but I was (and still am) extremely passionate about decorating and knew that it is essentially a luxury. You don’t need to have an aesthetically pleasing and functional home to survive, but having one sure can improve the quality of you and your family’s life.
Enter e-decorating. A virtual service, offering clients an opportunity to work with skilled designers over the web for a fraction of the cost of in-person consulting.
WHAT IS E-DECORATING
So we know that e-decorating is on online decorating service offering personalised design concepts, but what do you actually get when you work with a designer in this way? Well it obviously differs depending on which designer you engage but the most common inclusions (and the ones I offer to my clients) are:
Moodboards are visual representations of the style and design direction of the space being styled. They help the designer convey the exact design message to the client before anything is purchased or any final decisions are made.
These generally would accompany a moodboard so that clients know where to purchase recommended furniture and accessories. I like to use online stores mainly but sometimes I use pieces that I source from shops that are local to my client.
Scaled floor plans/space plans
I think most people have a good idea of what a floor plan is, but do they know their true value - maybe not? I like to think of floor plans as design maps. They essentially tell us whether things will fit properly, where services like power, plumbing and lighting can or can’t go and they provide us with a more technical solution to a design puzzle.
By far the most popular decorating question I have from clients is “what colours should I use”? And I totally get it. Colour can be overwhelming and getting it wrong can mean the difference between an awesome design and one that is well… pretty average! There is a lot to learn when it comes to colour, so it’s definitely a good idea to have a trained eye create or look over your colour scheme for you.
This one sounds a bit intimidating but it actually isn’t. When us designers say ‘render’ we really just mean a coloured drawing (either done by hand or computer) that gives us a good indication of what the final design will look like. It is literally a drawing of the space that we have dreamt up together. An elevation is a 2D view and a 3D view.. well that’s self explanatory.
Before starting the e-decorating process, clients are required to measure up and photograph their space, provide inspiration images and fill out a design questionnaire. This helps piece together the particular decorating puzzle and customize a solution that is just right for the client. It is also important to note that e-decorating in a concept service only. Once the design is complete, it is up to you to implement it in your own time.
HOW CAN E-DECORATING HELP YOU
1. It saves you time
Because the e-decorating process is a virtual process, you do not need to take time out of your schedule to meet with a designer. You also don’t need to do any running around town. Most of the furniture and accessories that are being recommended to you will be available for purchase online which means no waiting in queues, carpark road rage or unhelpful salespeople!
2. It saves you money
I sometimes get the impression that people think interior design is reserved on for the extremely wealthy. I think this is because traditionally designers charge sky high prices to work with you in-person - and when you think about it, this is totally reasonable. I mean designers are people too! They need to cover their shop rent, insurances, travel time, fuel costs etc etc. And designing takes a lot of (wo)man hours, especially when all the leg work and negotiation has to be done on-site. E-decorating is different though, yeah. No overheads means lower cost, making great design can be accessible to everyone.
3. It’s so damn convenient
If technology can improve your quality of life, why wouldn’t you use it? If you can collaborate on a design project or shop for furniture during your lunch break or at 10pm at night in your pajamas, so you can have a full day at the beach on the weekend, I don’t see why you would say no.
4. It gives you the opportunity to be involved in your project
Another reason why people are reluctant to use professional designers is because they fear being steam-rolled, their ideas not listened and ending up with something that doesn’t at all match up with their personality or lifestyle. Sometimes, it really hard to tell someone face to face that you don’t think that the design is suitable or that you simply just don’t like it. Communicating over the net takes that fear away. It also makes it much easier to make revisions during the process.
5. It gives you a sense of accomplishment
Working with a designer as opposed to being at the mercy of one means that this project is as much yours as it is theirs. This brings about a real sense of accomplishment. Sometimes we don’t have all the skills to make things happen but this doesn’t mean it these things can’t ever happen. We just need the guidance and expertise of someone we trust.
6. It allows you to work with the best of the best
The world wide web is exactly that; world wide. This means that you have the ability to pick the cream of the crop - you’re not limited to your own city or state. You can find someone who has a particular design style that you love or someone who has met similar requirements to yours before.
7. Your designer is only an email away
I don’t know about you, but it kind of gives me a sense of relief when I know that someone is easily contactable. I mean I keep regular business hours in my business but people can email me at any time and they can be confident in knowing that it will always get answered ASAP. Emails make it easy for you to communicate everything you are thinking right at that moment. You won’t forget the details and your designer can address all of your questions in a careful, considered and comprehensive manner.
8. You can get as little or as much advice as you want
I offer three different e-decorating packages to my clients. This means that people can choose exactly how much help they need from me and make a purchase decision accordingly. I’m not a salesy type and I don’t want my clients feeling pushed to spend more than they have budgeted so by outlining the costs on my services page, my clients can make a decision that best suits them at the time.
9. It helps trades and others working on the job understand the design direction better
When I renovated our first house, I learnt a valuable lesson pretty quickly - not everyone has the same vision as you! I thought that by just telling the trades what I wanted, that I would come home to the exact picture that was in my head - but it just didn’t work out that way (and looking back now, it was so damn unrealistic)! I realised quick smart that I needed to put down on paper what I was thinking so that I could visually communicate exactly what I needed from them. As soon as I did this, things started to work out perfectly. Having a plan in place, a roadmap for how things need to be done to achieve your desired outcome sets clear expectations up front and makes the design process A LOT less stressful. Take it from someone who’s been there.
10. It makes the decorating process worry-free and fun!
Having everything laid out ready to go before you even begin to paint the walls or rearrange the furniture will give you peace of mind and will make decorating fun - the way it is suppose to be!
Well I hope I have cleared up a few things for you folks. I know that all this “e” stuff can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Anyway I’d love to know what you think of the e-decorating concept. Do you think it could work well for you? Do you think it sounds interesting? Remember I’m always here if you need more info - just send me an email here or holla over on social media.