Since starting my business, I hear the question, "What is e-decorating?" a lot. E-decorating, also known as E-design or virtual decorating, is a way for clients anywhere in the world to work with a decorator via the internet. It can be a great option for people on a budget who still want the special touch of a decorator, but are willing to do the legwork themselves. Every designer who offers this service does it a little differently, so I thought I'd share how I work. I've been offering e-design services for a few years, and through several tweaks have come up with what I think is the best of both worlds. I offer a flat-rate e-decorating bundle as well as hourly services. I'll point out the differences of the two as we go. You can also check out my e-decorating page for the specifics and pricing
Once a client has agreed to work with me, I charge up-front for the flat-rate design. My hourly services include this flat-rate as step one, so they pay this portion up-front as well, then continue into hourly billing. After payment, my client fills out a pretty rigorous survey of their design likes and dislikes, how they want the room to feel, what kind of changes they are looking for, etc. I also include instructions for photographing and measuring the space. Clients send back all this info, including a ton of photos (sometime even video) and measurements for the room they've chosen to work on. For e-design, I work on a room-by-room basis.
After reviewing all the info they've sent me and playing with a couple ideas, I usually have follow-up questions. I may send possible inspiration rooms for them to yay or nay, or even a product, just to make sure I'm on the right path. Altogether, this takes a few days once I have all the pieces.
This is when the fun really starts. Time tables vary, but can be 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the scope of the project and all the parts involved. Once I have my main jumping-off point (a great inspiration room, a fabric I really want to use, a solution to a big problem in the room), I start putting the rest of the design together. Budgets and the number of pieces I'm looking for vary wildly from client to client! Sometimes I'll save 10 different coffee tables before narrowing it down to the best one. During this time I also work on the best floor plan for the space. Sometimes it's really simple and comes together naturally. For some rooms, it's the hardest part! I usually create a to-scale computer version and then hand-sketch it to add any notations. I may also include little sketches of how to style certain areas if I feel strongly about how it comes together. Then I put it all in a document: design board (images of the recommended pieces and color palette), floor plan(s), a extensive written description of how it all should be put together and why, and sometimes some inspiration pics and "before" pics.
For flat-rate clients, this is where my work ends. After I "deliver" the design plan I'm happy to answer questions (even months later!) but for the most part, the client implements the design on their own timetable, and sometimes with modifications to fit their budget (hey, if you can find a similar dresser on Craigslist, more power to ya!).
For hourly clients, this is where the hourly rates kick in: sourcing specific products. Once the client ok's the design, we may decide to go with the exact pieces I've recommended, or look for similar or different pieces to fit their budget and taste specifically. I'll also work with them to get custom pillows and drapes made, source Craigslist finds in their local area, help coordinate the ordering and purchasing of items, and then provide more specific instructions for styling and arranging the items (we may even do some of that via Skype or phone "face-time" if possible.
If you've ever wondered how the process works, that's it! And here's what some of my e-decorating clients have said (you can see my full testimonials page here):
"Working with Maggie on a e-decorating guide was a process I would recommend to anyone! The design board was just the inspiration we needed to finally transform our room and having a detailed list of what to look for took out all the stress of decorating. She did a great job of combining the scattered and conflicting ideas my boyfriend and I had for our bedroom, and came up with something we both liked. Maggie worked within our measly student budget and was still able to find great pieces that would add some life into our bland bedroom. We ended up with a relaxing color palette and modern additions that fit our style perfectly. If I ever need decorating advice again I won't hesitate to use Maggie's service!" – Liz, Bedroom
"Maggie was wonderful to work with. She made sure that she knew our tastes very well before she began, and this was reflected in her design. We were thrilled with what she came up with for our dining room. She definitely helped us make the transition from my old bachelorette pad decor by elevating it to something more sophisticated and adult." - Christina & Dennis, Dining Room
"Maggie took a cold, uninviting space and transformed it into a warm, welcoming guest room via her e-decorating services. From across the country, she chose furniture and accessories to fit my minimal budget and without ever seeing the room in person, it all just worked. She broke it down into easy, manageable steps and provided a comprehensive shopping list for the stores that I like to shop. I was able to transform our room in a few short weeks and have gotten tons of compliments on Maggie's design!" – Shannon, Guest Room
Ready to have me work on your "problem" room? Just contact me to get started!