Need to paint your living room, but unsure what color to use? Longing to redesign your kitchen, but just not sure how? Do you own an office building that needs renovation, or are you starting up your own business and need an attractive space to bring clients? Want to hire an interior designer, but haven’t a clue how to start? Interactive interior design is a good place to start.
Interactive interior design is a tool not only for consumers but for interior designers as well. Ranging from simple online programs to preview how a certain color of paint looks on the walls, to complicated three-dimensional programs, these tools allow consumers and designers alike to experiment with different layouts, materials, colors, styles and furnishings. Gone are the old days when a person would stand in the middle of a room and say, “I wonder how the couch would look over by the window?” then had to physically move it to find out.
With the advent of the internet, and so many companies in the interior design world who offer online shopping and ordering sites, physical labor is no longer required to view a room with a new look. Decorating publications are one type of company offering interactive interior design options. Magazine websites like “Better Homes and Gardens” and “House Beautiful” offer decorating ideas and templates for room redesign. Flooring companies, such as Armstrong.com offer a chance to look at different flooring types. Paint companies, such as Behr, offer site tools to preview different paint colors, including trim, accents, etc, in different rooms, in different styles.
In addition to individual company sites, design sites such as SeeMyDesign.com offer tools as well, including the choice of specific room layouts, paint, lighting, etc.. These sites have links to local business directories in order to make the previewed rooms a reality. Also included is a design plan, which notes the choices made and calculates numbers of cans of paint required, yards of fabric for windows, etc. Once the selections are made, the consumer can take these design plans to a local home supply store and purchase what’s needed, or can take these design plans to an interior designer for implementation.
Interactive interior design tools are offered by interior designers, too. Dubbed, “virtual decorators,” these firms offer online tools to give clients a chance to select choices for redesigning a room utilizing the materials offered by the design firm. The consumer picks the room, clicks through the different options of flooring, wallpaper, paint and window coverings and selects preferences, and then either calls the designer with their selections, or goes to the designer’s studio.
Designers can use these interactive interior design tools for the same purpose. The designer can make selections according to the client’s requests and tastes and can prepare a presentation for the client to preview. Included in this presentation can be cost and time estimates, availability of the client’s preferred choices, and any alternate suggestions the designer may have for improving the project.