Does Virtual Design (Long-Distance Decorating) Really Work?

Obviously, if I am writing this post I think the answer is “Yes!”  Some people call it “e-design” or “online design,” but I’m sure you’ve heard about it.  Awhile back, a sweet girl named Emily contacted me about virtually-designing the small older home she shares with her husband.   The only caveat was that she wanted to keep the paint color in her kitchen and dining area, so everything needed to tie in with that.    You may recall the article where I shared the Inspiration Board for the space, but here again is the design I created for her:

decorologist virtual design

Virtual Design Inspiration Board by The Decorologist


If you want to see the Inspiration Boards that helped us narrow down the options (rugs, lighting, and dining room furnishings), check those out in my prior article here.   What’s really exciting for me is when a Virtual Design client sends me “after” photos of the finished design, which Emily did a few months ago.  Let’s take a look at the REAL “before and afters.”

fireplace bookcases

Living Room/Dining Room Before


Remember, she wanted to keep the dining room wall color (Benjamin Moore’s Turquoise Mist). I suggested we pull that color throughout the open space and add a richer accent color to the backs of the bookcases and the area above the fireplace.  Emily ordered the new furnishings and light fixtures I suggested for her space, and look at the results:

living room design

Living Room After The Decorologist‘s Virtual Design


The walls in this room were previously a light lemon yellow and the previous sofa and large chair were dark and overstuffed.

Living Room Before


The thing I’m most proud of is the way that Emily grouped her books BY COLOR!  Doesn’t it look smashing?

blue bookcases

After Virtual Design


While the dining area was cute before:

Dining Area Before


But now it looks stinking amazing!  The light fixture, drapery panels and painted ceiling make this room feel finished and fabulous.

virtual design results

Dining Room After The Decorologist‘s Virtual Design


Emily did such a great job bringing the design to fruition – I love that she now has a fantastic entry area topped off with this fabulous little quatrefoil mirror (from Lowe’s!)

Entry Table + Quatrefoil Mirror


So you can see, Virtual Design CAN work beautifully when your designer knows how to design a space that will work for you – no matter where you live.  Nashville is just a phone call away!


  1. Linda

    what a great transformation! The space looks so much bigger too by tying in the wall colors. Good job to you and Emily!

  2. Jamie

    My heart did a bit of a pitter-patter at the color-grouped books…must say I love that little touch. Awesome job!

  3. Dana Tucker

    Love, love, love this makeover! Now the whole world are potential clients with virtual design. 🙂

  4. Donna Frasca

    Virtual Design does work but you really have to know color and how it reacts to lighting in various states. I think it’s a great option for people who want Professional design. Looks beautiful!!!!!

  5. Holly

    Amen!!! Three cheers!! I don’t know how else to say it but FABULOUS my friend. What a difference. I’m working on an e-design project right now where the paint also had to stay. It was a challenge but the client is executing the plan and it’s turning out wonderfully. Your client did such an amazing job. The difference in the furnishings, the round coffee table, softening the dining area with those panels, moving that paint color through the living room – that is why people should hire. Great job Kristie!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thank you so much, Holly! I hope you’ll share your e-design, too 🙂

  6. Sheila Zeller

    I LOVE the painted ceiling, drapery panels and chandelier in the dining room. The overall makeover is beautiful, but those details stopped me in my tracks! Stunning!!!

  7. joy

    oh, lovely, this is terrific. I wonder what was the painting you selected in the original design — the three stacked on top of each other. The colors looks lovely.

    the chandelier, oh my, she choose the exactly one you picked, so beautiful.

  8. Coley

    What an amazing transformation! I LOVE the wall color and the furniture you recommended. Wonderful proof that online consults can work wonders!

  9. Patsy Oveton

    Lovely! I have a very similar color in my master BR and love it. I especially like the DR ceiling. Once again, job well done!

  10. Kelly

    What a great transformation Kristie! Great color choices. You are so lucky she sent you after pictures. I know we always wish we can see the rooms after the transformation. Really beautiful! Great job my friend!

  11. karin

    can’t wait for a consultation….

  12. Susan Telfer

    I love this transformation. I have Blue Grass on the walls and was planning on using Stratton Blue on doors. I hadn't thought of on the ceiling. I have a high sloped ceiling in the room.  I love the curtains, too. I just found your blog and am delighted.

  13. Denise Greenway

    Can anyone suggest a place to find a coffee table like this?  It's just what I'm looking for.   Love the paint colors in the room!

  14. J fullerton

    Why the hell is the little stool blocking the vent?


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