Interior Design Services Are Surging Online: New Opportunities in a Traditionally Face-to-Face Industry

Aja Frost @ajavuu

The Signal: Three weeks ago, Sam asked community members to predict the biggest trends in a post-COVID world. One theme that we heard a lot about: New developments in interior design and home decor.

“The WFH movement has been huge, which has led to a massive demand for our online interior design service,” Jacky Chou told the group. His business isn’t the only one that’s growing. Search interest in “online interior design” surged when the pandemic hit, and has maintained traction.

We spoke to Chou, who bought an expired domain (Laurel & Wolf) in March and relaunched an online interior design brand around it. In March, consumers’ budgets for design and furniture were around $1-$2k/room. Now, people are spending as much as $20k/room on design, decor and furniture, Chou told us.

Laurel & Wolf’s business model is similar to that of competitors such as Havenly (~260k site visits/month), in that it has tiered interior design packages ranging from $75 to $450. Insiders we spoke to disclosed that Havenly’s revenue has increased by as much as 2-3x since the pandemic.

Laurel & Wolf also offer access to trade partner discounts with furniture stores (e.g., Williams Sonoma) and their own decor ecommerce businesses (e.g., Far & Away, more on that below). They outsource the design work to Pratt- and Parsons-educated freelance designers they met through LinkedIn connections who earn 50% of the consulting fee plus commission on furniture and decor sales.


  • Online interior design: Monthly search interest for interior design services and ideas indicates that there are opportunities to meet demand:
    • “Interior design ideas”: 49.5k
    • “Interior design for small house”: 14.8k
    • “Online interior design course”: 14.8k
    • “Online interior design”: 12.1k
    • “Interior design app”: 4k
  • Functional furniture and artisanal decor: Even before COVID-19, the luxury furniture market was expected to grow by $7.6B from 2018-2023, with a CAGR of ~5% during that time. This will be accelerated by people spending more time at home.One of the key growth drivers is multi-functional furniture, such as these 28 multi-purpose furniture pieces, these 44 multi-functional office furniture concepts, or these 16 modern multi-functional pet beds.

Higher budgets for furniture and decor means that people will be looking to spend on unique statement pieces. Jacky Chou told us that sales of his artisanal modern dinnerware sets at Far & Away have increased significantly since March, and luxury scented candle sales have also surged.

This, combined with the trend towards localism, creates a unique opportunity to source and sell locally produced decor items (e.g., rugs, kitchenware, wall decor, lighting, vases, bedding, baskets, etc.) at a premium, too.

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