Matchmaking between interior designers and clients is an essential yet elusive art that many have tried to master. Several personalized matching services have enjoyed success by taking on a handful of designers, matching them with potential clients, and earning a percentage of the project revenue. However, the focus of this story is the growing number of large online designer directories, many of which have become an important platform for these connections to occur.
Editor at Large has analyzed the top four online designer directories: Dering Hall and the Hearst Design Groups' Design Connect; Houzz’s Interior Designers and Decorators; Remodelista’s Architect and Designer Directory; and the American Society of Interior Designer’s Designer Directory. This reporter distilled these vitals of the sites including the number of designers listed, cost to be listed, number of visitors (potential clients), and promotion—to determine their effectiveness.
1. Design Connect (Dering Hall and the Hearst Design Group)
Number of designers listed in the directory: 406
Price to be listed: $995 per year
Number of monthly visitors: Not available
Promotion: Hearst is providing promotional support for Design Connect through many of its channels including full-page print ads in ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful and VERANDA, home page promotion on each of the three magazine’s websites, emails to subscribers and social media.
2. Houzz Interior Designers and Decorators
Number of designers listed in the directory: 50,000+
Price to be listed: Free
Number of monthly visitors: 16 million monthly uniques (90% are homeowners)
Promotion: The designer directory is available to users through the Houzz App, which has 150,000 reviews with a 5-star average and has been downloaded more than 15 million times.
3. Remodelista’s Architect and Designer Directory
Number of designers listed in the directory: 220
Price to be listed: Free. Membership is by invitation only. Designers can contact Meredith Swineheart for additional information.
Number of monthly visitors: More than 1.1 million monthly uniques.
Promotion: Remodelista’s monthly post, “The Architect/Designer Is In,” features a member's project and opens it up to readers for questions. The architect or designer is asked to be on call for the weekend to answer questions. Remodelista also does thematic round-ups of trends, and typically 2-3 images out of 10 will be from directory members. The designer gets a mention and a link back to their profile page. The Remodelista team creates and updates the profiles.
4. American Society of Interior Designer’s Designer Directory
Number of designers listed in the directory: 15,500
Price to be listed: Included with membership dues.
Number of monthly visitors: 7,000 monthly uniques (based on March 2014)
Promotion: ASID frequently runs “hire a designer” campaigns in various magazines including The Robb Report, Arts and Antiques, Dwell and ELLE DECOR that push people to the directory. The organization also promotes the directory through social media.