Online Design, How Does It Work?

The interior design industry is being revolutionized online. Interior design has always been thought of as a luxury service. Traditionally, homeowners would obtain design services from local firms or independent designers. The process would include several in-person meetings, before, during and after project completion. However, the interior design market is rapidly losing these preconceived boundaries.

In today’s global marketplace interior design is unhindered by geographical distance. Online interior designers can be chosen purely based on their skill and vision. With the serge of e-commerce many furniture manufactures have teamed up with well know e-designers to sell furniture. They provide the designers with digital images of their inventory, and this allows designers to select furniture and create vision boards much more quickly than in the past. Customers are able to receive more designs via the online platforms and designers realize they can use this technology to engage more customers.

Another benefit is that there is no negotiation of price in online design. Most of the time everything is already laid out for both the client and designer up front. Packages are purchased and customers simply input the programming information to begin the process. In the traditional model, homeowners would interview multiple firms or select a designer based on recommendations. Consulting with interior design firms takes time and is very energy consuming. In addition, a traditional designer charges between $50 and $200 an hour, not including overhead fees. An automated platform eliminates a lot of the human labor and therefore labor prices, resulting in a much lighter fee for the same services.

A traditional interior designer will visit a client’s space, takes measurement and asks about their lifestyle and decorating style. With online design services, the client must do most of the legwork, sending information, photos, likes and dislikes to the designer via an online platform. Once the design firm has evaluated the information, the client receives design concepts from multiple designers based on their requirements and budget. The client selects what designer they want to work with. That designer then finalizes the design in photorealistic 3D renderings incorporating new and existing items, a color palette, floor plan, elevations and an online shopping list. The client then implements the designer’s ideas: hiring tradespeople as needed, purchasing the materials and installing them based on the designer’s layout.

The online interior design world is an excellent way for students to enter into the interior design industry. Developing a library of vision boards and room scenes is a great way to get noticed by a potential online client. Online design platforms allow young designers to expand their professional network outside of the traditional system by creating digital portfolios and connecting to their potential clients via digital marketing like Instagram or online portfolio sites.

After a bit of research and weeding out, I narrowed down the top six online decorating firms; Decorilla, Decorist, Havenly, Homepolish, Laurel and Wolf and Stellar Interior Design.


Service: All clients experience a complete and personalized online interior design help beginning with an initial one-on-one consultation and interactive questionnaire to start. You receive design concepts from multiple designers based on your requirements and budget with constant designer communication. Your selected designer works with you to finalize your design in photorealistic 3D renderings (incorporating new and existing items together to scale), they create a color palette, floor plan, and online shopping list using great designer discounts. Among other things, clients say they love the: in-home and phone consultations, savvy user friendly online platform, realistic 3D renderings for easy visualization, and online shopping assistance with 10% to 25% discounts at popular stores like Wayfair and Crate and Barrel.

Cost: each room has 3 online interior design services to choose from, ranging from $449 to $1699. Customized packages starting at $75 are also available.

Turnaround: 3-5 weeks; projects may be expedited or extended according to client timelines

Glassdoor employee review: 4.5 out of 5 (14 reviews)



Service: Get started by choosing the room you need help with. After choosing a room design package, you’ll provide details about your room and budget, likes and dislikes, and upload your room and inspiration photos. Our designers are hand-picked from the best in the industry. We match you with an online interior designer based on your unique style and budget. You may also start a project by choosing a designer you want to work with. Your designer creates two initial design concepts based on your project details. After you provide feedback, your designer works with you to finalize your online interior design. Your final design includes a complete room design, custom floor plan, set-up instructions, and shopping list. We get you the best prices from your favorite retailers and access to amazing wholesale finds—all in one cart! It’s the fastest, easiest way to get all your beautiful new pieces hassle free. Our dedicated Decorist Purchasing Team will handle all the details for you.

Cost: starting at $299/room

Turnaround: 2 weeks

Glassdoor employee review: 3.9/5 (9 reviews)



Service: From decor advice or furniture recommendations to whole room designs, Havenly offers wonderful correspondence with an online interior designer. The process starts with taking a style quiz followed by having you upload images and measurements of your space. With your information, your online interior designer proposes some themes and looks, and provides a final concept board complete with layout, new furniture and accessories. The initial themes from a Havenly designer are in a moodboard format and the final concept is a 2D layered rendering which helps to better visualize the room.

The difference between Havenly vs Laurel and Wolf is that Havenly offers concepts from one designer, but Laurel and Wolf and other online interior design services like Decorilla provide visual concepts from multiple designers. Both Havenly and Laurel and Wolf offer moodboards and two-dimensional layered renderings, but not realistic 3D renderings.

Cost: Online interior design services include a sprucing up service, the Havenly Mini, starting at $79 per room. For $199, the Havenly Full includes concept boards and product suggestion found in the Havenly Mini, plus furniture layout and additional revision time.

Turnaround: as little as 1 to 2 weeks with Havenly Mini and 2 to 3 weeks with Havenly’s Full online interior design help package.

Glassdoor employee review: 3.8 out of 5 (75 REVIEWS)




Service: Sign Up & Meet Your Designer

Fill out your details, and we’ll either select a designer for you or set you up with a Homepolish designer you already love. Then enjoy a complimentary, one-on-one consultation. Review Your Proposal & Purchase Design Time

Based on your needs and project scope, your designer will create a custom proposal outlining tasks, products to purchase, and a recommended design fee. A DEDICATED

ACCOUNT MANAGER You’ll have our entire support team at your service, including a dedicated, on-call Account Manager who can answer any questions and keep your project running smoothly.

PURCHASING CONCIERGE Our easy-to-navigate Shopping List lets you and your designer easily collaborate on items to purchase. Once you’re ready, our Concierge team will place your orders across hundreds of vendors—and manage all the logistics.

A VETTED NETWORK OF RENOVATION SPECIALISTS When your project needs it, we’ll select reliable contractors and architects for you, saving you from a stressful bidding process, and partner with your designer to keep things moving—from contracts and billing to everything in between.

Cost: The cost proposal are sent after the consultation.

Turnaround: When your designer presents you with your proposal post consultation, they’ll be able to give you an estimate on timing.

Glassdoor employee review: 4.2 out of 5 (34 REVIEWS)



Service: Laurel & Wolf starts their process with a style quiz that includes uploading photos of the space and providing dimensions. Clients will receive initial first looks to review from various designers submitting for the job.  The site’s communication platform allows clients to interact with their designer to get online interior design help. At the end, customers will receive a final design package that includes a style board, floor plan with measurements, a shopping list, and setup instructions.

Cost: Depending on which package you select, they start with light at $79 per room and signature at $249 per room, but Laurel and Wolf almost always has discounts of up to 50% off so it can end up being a lot less!

Turnaround: A design project typically takes about 2 weeks for a single room project. If you’re doing a multi-room project, you’ll have 3 additional days per room during the Design Time phase of your project.

Glassdoor employee review: 2.5 out of 5 (47 REVIEWS)





Service: A completed questionnaire, room sizes, and photos are preliminary information needed to get started. Designs include inspirational concept boards, material boards (paints, fabrics, wallpaper, window treatments, flooring), a product purchase list, an optional floor plan and a room guide with detailed guidelines on implementing your new design. Stellar Interiors offers clients a la carte online interior design help and design consultations by phone.

Cost: Paint consultations start at $85 and room designs range from $375-$475 depending on the need for floor plans.

Turnaround: 1-2 weeks

Glassdoor employee review: 3.2 out of 5 (32 REVIEWS)



(this service is a little different in that design packages are already created. You simply choose one.)

Service: Get access to designer Windsor Smith’s famous mix of historical references and crazy-good details, all delivered to you in a beautiful peacock blue box. A room rendering to show what the room will look like when completed. A to-scale floor plan to show the room arrangement. A collection of images and swatches recommended for your room mounted on a board. This should give you an idea of the overall look for the space. A look book that includes all the furniture and accessories, along with sourcing, recommended for the space. Samples of the fabrics, wallpapers, and paint colors recommended for the space.

Cost: Starting at $900/room

Turnaround: Not Mentioned

Glassdoor employee review: No rating


Designer: Windsor Smith







Here we go again + THE EVOLUTION OF A LOGO

The Evolution of a Logo

All interior design students at some point design a logo for their projects and portfolio. As you do this keep in mind that you are creating a brand for yourself. What is the story you are trying to tell? Who are you as a designer? These are the questions I was asked and continue to ask myself as I grow as a designer. Over time the answers will change and you may find the need or desire to update your logo and brand. Here is my journey and my answers to these questions.


Above is my original logo created at Santa Monica College in 1993 in a drafting class. It’s my initials with a short and long e pronounced “any,” as in I will be able to create “any” design for a client.

It was revamped in the portfolio class at Cal State Long Beach around 1999. I had a professor who rejected every new idea I presented. For weeks his only feedback was “think outside of the box.” REALLY!?! Well, at one o’dark thirty in the morning the day the logo was due I thought “f*** it” there is creativity in my box! I slapped a box around the older logo and turned it in. This logo and story has stuck with me my entire career.

Well, at one o’clock in the morning the day the logo was due. I thought “bleep it” there is creativity in my box! I slapped a box around the older logo and turned it in.  Weather I liked it or not it has stuck with me my entire career.


I decided in 2001 to applied for a position as an instructor at Santa Monica College after several years of working in the industry. As I updated my portfolio with industry work I began to understand that my creativity as an interior designer affects those around me. I revised the logo to reflect that idea by pushing the letter ‘N’ out of the box and into a different environment.


Around 2006, when I began to move my career into teaching, I was honestly sick of looking at the same logo so I simplified it dramatically. I still loved the idea of the box so I kept that element and added my name above, bolding out Lis and Eatman since that is the name I most commonly go by. My name and a box… that is all.

Now : 2018

So now as I think about this new chapter in my life, what I know for sure is what my professor so many years ago was trying to get me to see, that really, there is no box. The “perceived box” is simply the limits one puts on one’s self.

Working with Envato Studio, an online graphic design resource, was great. I was able to compare prices, portfolios and recommendations at my leisure. I decided to work with Szabolcs Zöld, a 26-year-old graphic designer who lives in Oradea city, Romania. His portfolio was fresh and fun, just what I was looking for. There was an upfront fee of $65 for three days or 5 revisions.

I sent him the stories I shared with you and the request to evolve the logo into something cleaner and more fun. I also sent him a few sketches. In my process sketches below I reflected the E in order to reinforce the idea of the box, now broken open.

The process was really fun. Each email I received felt like I was opening a gift for Christmas. We shared process files and feedback easily through messaging and Envato’s job management tools. Here are a few of his ideas and evolution.

Once there were a few I liked I asked my friends, piers and students to vote. Here are the results   A: 54   B : 28   C : 18

After a few more revisions this is where we landed. I guess I didn’t listen to you, sorry… LOL! I decided on a combination of both A and B. I really like all 3 color stories so you will see them all in different applications. Thank you all for your input!

The Pros and Cons I found of working with a designer online

The pros:

  • I received MANY versions of a logo with lots of new ideas and revisions.
  • They were done by a professional at a level I may not have been able to achieve.
  • I didn’t have to spend the time myself, and the entire process took about 2 weeks.
  • The designer was very kind and was willing to do as many revisions as I wanted until I was satisfied (we did 4).
  • He received comments and implemented them.

The cons:

  • Never being able to meet in person or speak on the phone felt very disconnected. A large part of the design process for me is to look at expressions, to hear inflection and tone, and gauge enthusiasm as ideas are presented.