They say love is what makes a house a home, but some well-chosen art, a few throw cushions and, oh maybe, furniture that actually fits your space must play a role, too. Because despite all the happy vibes happening in my own little Toronto semi, there’s nothing about the still-blank walls and media unit bulging past the living room doorway that screams “happy and functional humans live here.”
It’s not for lack of trying. Since moving in last January, my husband, Colin, and I have repainted, replaced the kitchen cabinets, added a second bathroom sink, opened up walls, ordered new windows and more. But the seemingly simpler task of furnishing the place? After my third attempt at buying an area rug for our living room, I was ready to admit that I didn’t have the time, eye or decisiveness to decorate this house on my own. Enter a virtual interior design service, which can help with everything from finishing touches to a full remodel using video conferencing and other online tools.
“Even as someone who loves design, I still took two years to furnish my home,” says Gloria Song-Foster, founder of White Dahlia Design, a virtual design service based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. She and her team now help clients get their rooms in Pinterest-worthy shape in less than a month, all without setting foot in their houses.
Packages start from $200 for choosing paint colours and sourcing small accessories and go up to $749 or more for a 3-D renovation plan. I opted for their mid-level package for my open concept living and dining areas. Starting at $649 per room, it includes a 3-D floor plan, furniture and accessory shopping lists, and pre- and post-design calls, plus placing and tracking your orders (and returns) for you.
“Most people know their style; they just don’t know how to pull it off,” says Song-Foster. But with a few calls and clicks—and a bit of legwork—it’s easy to outsource a decor update. Here’s how to max out your virtual makeover.
1. Consider your space.
The process for most services is similar: They all require some upfront work and a little soul-searching. “The number one thing to consider is how you experience your current space,” says Song-Foster. “What kind of functionality are you missing?” Maybe you’re low on storage; maybe you can’t see the kids playing when you’re cooking dinner. The other big question: How do you want to feel in the space? In our case, we wanted an inviting area to host friends but lacked seating.
Then I took pictures of my space, filmed a video walk-through, made a list (with dimensions!) of every piece of decor and …….