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The Best Online Design Services, Broken Down

For many buyers, when they are searching for their new home, they often fall in love with the little things. A beautifully curated living room with overscale, original art. The gallery wall running up the stairs. The perfectly fitted basement mancave that somehow doesn't scream bachelor.
But when the stagers or design-minded homeowners move their collection out, buyers often have trouble figuring out how to make that now-empty box back into a home.

In decades past, the solution was an expensive, often unattainable, one - hiring a professional interior designer. While hiring a designer is still the way to go for a lot of people who want a more personalized feel, can afford a higher end budget, or are doing bigger projects like kitchen and bath renovations, the average home buyer doesn't have the funds for this level of service. Luckily, the last few years have ushered in a new age of interior design, one that combines affordability and accessibility with the newest trends. The online, budget-friendly design world has been opened. Here's my breakdown of the best sites to start designing!


One of the first to make it big, Havenly is definitely a big name amongst millennials looking to customize their space. Havenly allows customers to choose from a large sampling of designers based on their portfolios and pick an affordable design package based on needs and budget. The designers work with you based on wants and needs, style profile and budget to create a look and a curated shopping list.

Starting Price: Free for a quick chat, $79 for the initial design package

Ideal User: Someone who can work from a template, who doesn't need major handholding and who wants a more current style palette. Its the ideal package for someone just starting out and who needs an idea.

Laurel & Wolf 

Laurel & Wolf is essentially the same idea as Havenly with slightly more flexible, albeit more expensive, packages. The two companies are extremely similar in offerings, but if you are a picky buyer, L & W may be more your style. Unlimited revisions under the most expensive offering (but only $50 more than Havenly) allows you a bigger hand in the design. L & W also sports a huge offering of designers, many of who have been in the traditional business for some time.

Starting price: $79 to restyle your current room with its current major furniture pieces

Ideal User: Someone still on a budget but who wants a bit more flexibility.


Similar in fashion to the above sources, Decorist allows you to pick, or be matched, to a designer. Designers are tiered based on their portfolios, allowing clients to pick from up-and-coming designers or a celebrity designer, for a higher cost, of course. Decorist does allow for more direct conversation with your designer, though packages are still limited to a few ideas and a shopping list.

Starting Price: $300 for a classic designer

Ideal User: Someone looking to work with a more high-end designer but still on a budget.


For the buyer with a bit more funds to play with, Homepolish is a more traditional route of interior design. The site acts as a middleman, connecting you with up-and-coming designers. Its not a budget option, though, with pricing starting at $1300 in design fees for a project. However, the more traditional relationship does offer much more fine-tuning and more hand-holding. Homepolish designers, thus, can tackle things like whole-house projects, kitchens and even commercial spaces.

Starting Price: $13/ hr with a 10-hour minimum

Ideal User: Someone looking for a modern take on the traditional experience. Instead of searching for the perfect designer, the site takes care of matching for you, making the ideal user someone looking for a quick, good match.


Modsy dips the other end from Homepolish, making a more DIY and user-friendly approach of budget decor. Also, its super fun to work with! Why? Because Modsey allows users to redesign a room, with help or without, in 3D, so you can experience your room before purchasing a thing. The process starts with uploading pics from your phone, which Modsey uses to build a 3D model of your room. Then the fun starts with an initial plan, and plenty of self-made revisions and shopping lists.
The site is a fantastic tool for those who have a general idea for their design, but just need help with visualizing, planning, and shopping. And for those who do need help, Modsy still offers designer assistance for a more in-depth plan.

Starting Price: $69 per room for 2 custom designs and unlimited revisions.

Ideal User: Anyone who already has the inspiration in mind, can do a little design revising themselves and those who need to see things as they will be together in the room.


Hutch works a lot like Modsy, but without the designer help. So for those who want just the tool, for FREE, this is the starting place. Hutch doesn't currently offer the 3D rendering of Modsy, but the free tool does make for life-like renderings of your space. Then you can add the furniture you want and shop from your finished design.

Starting Price: Free!

Ideal User: This is perfect for renters or homeowners who just want to judge their potential purchases. Its also a great tool to play with new designs for a room if you already have a design eye or just want to try out a few new pieces. 

Finally, a lot of traditional designers are choosing to also offer online design packages at flat rates. If none of these options feel like the right choice, search around your area for designers and see if they will offer similar packages with online-only consultation!

Happy designing!


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