Design on a Dime
By-the-hour design service available in Austin offers hope for us all
Are you an HGTV junkie who lacks an inherent eye for design? Perhaps you’ve just hit a stalemate in your latest home-improvement project. Meet Homepolish, the service that’s shaking up the world of interior design by making decorating services for the home and office — once considered a luxury for the elite — attainable for the masses.
New York-based designer Noa Santos and former client Will Nathan launched the startup in 2012 after noticing a dearth of flexible, budget-friendly options for those needing professional design help.
Homepolish has since become available in 15 cities — including Austin — and now represents more than 500 designers. At its crux is the principle that you should love where you live, whether you’re a 20-something renter on an entry-level salary or a retiree renovating a multimillion-dollar suburban spread.
“As soon as I started working [as a designer] in NYC, I was amazed at how profound an impact I could have on clients’ lives,” Santos says. “But it bothered me that something so important was so financially out of reach for most people. Homepolish seemed like a natural solution.”
To get started, simply share a little bit about your project on the Hompolish website. For a dose of inspiration beforehand, you might peruse the company’s online magazine, featuring thousands of Pinterest-worthy original design photos. Homepolish matches you with a carefully vetted local designer — only 5 percent of applicants are accepted — for an hour-long complimentary consultation.
For projects requiring more than 10 hours from your designer — gut jobs, say, or multiroom redesigns — the rate is $130 per hour. Quick room refreshes, furniture sourcing, and other small projects can typically be completed in a three-hour session for a flat rate of $349.
Homepolish designer Dana Frieling, based in Dallas, says it’s usually not major renos that have clients calling, but these small projects that benefit from a set of expert eyes.
“They need someone to help them create a killer space without killing their bank account,” she says. “Of course, there are clients who are ready to gut it all. But I’ve worked on numerous homes where simply rearranging existing furniture makes the space feel brand new.”
A bit of free advice: Gallery walls are out; oversized art is in. Don’t underestimate the power of paint. Oh, and you’re probably hanging your curtains too low. “Raise the rod near the ceiling and suddenly the room feels so much larger,” Frieling says.
A trend for 2016 is global artisan goods. “Crafted pieces from around the world are weaving their way into the home,” Frieling says. “Handmade leather chairs from Argentina and hand-woven blankets from Peru are adding an eclectic flair all over the place.”