Written by JBenjamin
Once upon a time, interior design was by nature a fairly hands-on task. Designers were hired, visited customers’ homes in person, and would be in and out until a given project was completed. This can certainly still be the case today, but as with seemingly everything else, interior design has also begun to transition toward providing an online service too. We’ve moved into the era of “e-design.”
‘What is E Design’ explains what exactly this entails. It discusses various services that Michael O Mara Interior Design (MiD) offers their clients nationally & internationally, including everything from online consultation to delivering full interior design projects. But the idea of e-design generally is that a client will consult with a professional designer digitally in order to come up with a plan — which can then be carried out either by said client or by a follow-up, in-person design team or by specification & resourcing service which MiD also provide.
It’s an appealing process to many who are in the early stages of setting up a home, or redesigning one but want to be hands on or are looking for inspiration away from their domestic market. In this post we’ll look a little more closely at some of the benefits and challenges of opting for e-design.
Simply put, professional one to one interior design can be a worthwhile and productive investment albeit somewhat expensive for certain portions of the market, whereas you may have more flexible pricing options via e-design. This is largely due to the difference in in-person labour. Writing to a U.S. audience out of New York, She Knows cited rates between $50 and $200 (€46 and €185) for interior designers’ hourly rates — and that was several years ago. Rates can be similar in Europe (plus a little bit of inflation since that post was written), and ultimately add up to more than some can afford to invest in their design projects.
By contrast, e-design can offer a lower and more fixed price for various services. Customers have the option of signing up for a consultation, paying a flat rate, and then managing the actual project themselves with professional support from the interior Designers. Other factors can come into play, such as the cost of materials or the potential that the customer opts for professional design help. But it’s certainly possible to set up a significantly more affordable project as long as you are willing to be hands-on.
We just spoke to the benefit of flexibility with regard to pricing, but it should be mentioned as its own perk also. Beyond pricing options, e-design also gives you choices as to how much you want the designers involved. If you want you can stick to the basics, providing room measurements, doing the consultation, and accepting the resulting design suggestions. You might also consider asking for help regarding specific materials. Or, as mentioned, you can let the design team take over fully, with your input and collaboration. You can enjoy some of this flexibility with conventional interior design, in that you’ll always have the final say. But there are fewer tiers of service, so to speak.
Even if you’re going to do the physical work on your own, another benefit of e-design is that professional designers will simply think of things you might not consider. Think for instance about heating and plumbing — things you likely take for granted, but which a designer may factor into a larger plan. Heating systems, for example, can bring about a need for significant repairs and remodelling. A piece on boiler upgrades from the Centre For Sustainable Energy advised UK customers that making a change can result in energy savings, lower emissions, and lower bills — which as you might imagine incentivises many to consider making a change.
Replacing a gas boiler alone likely wouldn’t impact a design project all that much. However, in its coverage of full heating and plumbing services for homeowners, HomeServe explains the range of products involved in updating these systems: new pipes, new wall-mounted consoles, and so on. Adding it all up there’s a fair amount of disruption. And an experienced interior designer may be able to factor this potential into a plan, designing around plumbing and heating elements or making it such that changing these elements out in the future won’t significantly harm the look of things.
Trial & Error
Perhaps the biggest challenge involved in e-design is getting things right the first time. As indicated above, you can effectively start off by paying for a one-time service. You can meticulously plot out your ideas, measure every inch of the space at hand, and undergo a thorough consultation. Even then though, there’s no guarantee that a designer comes back with the perfect vision.
Putting it simply, you might want to try again! Some trial and error is fine, and will help you inch toward the perfect interior design. But this can certainly be a hurdle in some cases, and can also raise the costs.
However, at MiD they work tirelessly to remove any doubt and give you the tools to make confident design decisions. In fact they will carry out a comprehensive consultation with you before a pen is put to paper to start the design process of your project.
The main challenge is in actually arranging and monitoring the physical design work, if in fact you decide to execute the designer’s plan yourself. It might at first seem like something you can figure out as you go. But read through the BBC’s tips for aspiring designers and you’ll quickly see a few unexpected considerations: the need to do math for designs, learning to budget for the project, the need not to strive for perfection, and so on. These aren’t always readily apparent aspects of the interior design process to amateurs, and they can contribute to the difficulty of the actual project. However professional support from your designer as part of the online e design service can cover you in almost all aspects.
Ultimately, e-design is worth looking into at the very least the next time you’re considering an interior design project. While it does have its challenges, the variety of services and the ease of the consultations ultimately appeal to a lot of people on the go.
Exclusively written for m-id.ie
Written by: JBenjamin