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We hired 3 different online designers to fix up the same room — see the results!

We tried out three different online interior design services to see how the virtual design process works. Here's what happened.
/ Source: TODAY

Ever dream of using an interior designer to fix up that room in your home that’s not quite put together, but don’t want to shell out the money for a designer who charges a pricey hourly fee? Online services such as Decorist, Havenly, and Laurel & Wolf could be a viable solution.

All three of these web sites offer virtual designers that work with you via style quizzes, photo sharing and private messaging to create your dream room for a much lower rate. Curious to try it? We did, and we’ve lots to tell.

Here’s how the process generally works: Before each site assigns you to a designer, they get to know your style preferences and what you’re looking to do with the room via a survey of questions. We presented each one with the same style preference: a Pinterest inspiration board, room measurements and budget of $3-$5K. While we initially steered the designers a bit for the sake of understanding the process a little better, we mostly let them proceed with their ideas and visions for our room makeover.

The results were fascinating. While a couple of them randomly picked the same piece of furniture without being prompted towards that specific style (great minds think alike?) all three rooms came out very different and beautiful in their own ways. We also learned so much from each of the designers in the process.

Let’s take a look at their different project boards:

1. Sprucing up our room with Decorist


Design Fee: $299 for the basic package

Timing: 2-3 weeks from initial concept to final result. We received the first two concepts five days after initial inquiry.

General Process: We had to answer some questions about the room being designed, set a budget and give them an overall idea of what we were looking for. For new customers, after you’re matched with your designer, you’ll receive two concepts and you’ll tell them what you like and dislike about each. The designer will then go back and create a final design, room layout and personalized shopping list.

Shopping: Once you like final look and products, you can use their “Order For Me” service which allows you to buy everything from multiple stores in one checkout — they’ll handle all the details from you. The site honors sale prices, but not promo codes.

Personal Experience: One of our biggest concerns was that there was no space for a dining table in the room but in reality, we like to have people over for dinner. Our designer Tina suggested we incorporate two ottomans as decoration and extra seating around the large coffee table. We love that it’s functional but also looks great.

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2. Designing our haven with Havenly


Design Fee: $199 for the full room design package

Timing: About 2 weeks

General Process: You’ll take a home decor style quiz (the fun kind) by selecting images of your favorite styled rooms. They’ll give you three designer recommendations based on your results, but you can also choose from many more (they have over 300 designers in their network.) Then you’ll answer a questionnaire about your space, how you want the room to feel, your budget and all the logistics. Once your designer has all of that info, they’ll come up with a design concept with a review process for you to like or dislike things before the final design comes your way.

Shopping: With the full room design package, you’ll get a $50 credit to spend on any of the products. You can also earn credits by sharing your design on social media.

Personal Experience: We shared a couple of existing pieces from our current space that could be used or not, and our designer Brenthony incorporated a couple into her design. We were thrilled! Needless to say, it’s a good reminder that you can shop your room even when you’re aiming for a whole new look.

3. Taking design cues from Laurel & Wolf

Laurel & Wolf

Design Fee: $149 for the classic room package

Timing: 13 days

General Process: You’ll start out with a questionnaire about your budget, and will be asked to provide an overview of how you want your desired room to feel. Once your designer has all of that, they’ll present you with a concept board where that you can say what you like and don’t like about the look. Then they’ll draft a first look design where you can heart or thumbs down the different items they’ve chosen and collaborate on new ideas if needed. Then, they’ll present the final design to you.

Shopping: You can buy any/all of the items in one checkout, plus they’ll make sure you receive the best price from the vendor (so if something’s on sale or there’s free shipping at the time, you’ll get that offer.) You can also give them any publicly available coupons or promo codes to use on the purchase.

Personal experience: Our designer Amy had lots of ideas we didn’t originally consider — like the sconces or the blue rug — but we ended up really liking them. It just goes to show you that a designer can expose you to new ideas and still give you exactly what you want.

On the fence about using an online interior designer? Our verdict: give it a try if it’s within your budget. It’s not only a fun process, but your home will reap the benefits, too!