I just finished using Decorist to design my master bathroom redesign and I wanted to share my experience with all of you. This is 100% unpaid and unaffiliated. Decorist doesn’t know I’m writing this. With that said, there were only a handful of Decorist blogger reviews as of the time of this writing, so I hope this blogger post can provide some additional insight on what my experience with Decorist was, and perhaps shine some light on what yours might be like as well.
What Made Me Choose Decorist
Since purchasing my home three years ago, I’ve spend countless hours searching Pinterest, Target.com and browsing HGTV for home inspiration. I know what rooms capture my eye, but trying to plan an entire house around my style and budget was difficult.
Even worse, I can’t tell you how many times I purchased something, just to end up returning it because while it looked great online, it didn’t quite feel the same in my space.
I started seeing frequent Decorist ads on Pinterest promising to turn dull, lifeless rooms in to beautiful magazine-worthy spaces. There were D-list celebrities raving about how Decorist changed their rooms to feel like a retreat, and the two blogger reviews I found (both sponsored) raved about their new love and appreciation for their abode. I was sold. Last Black Friday during a 60% off sale, I purchased a one-room design to transform my master bedroom.
You begin by filling out a ‘survey’ of sorts talking about your personal style. They’ll give you multiple choice options and ask questions like ‘Which sofa do you like best?’ and ‘Do you prefer a former or relaxed living room?’ It’s pretty straight forward and only takes a moment.
From there, they tell you which style you have (I was modern) and they’ll start getting into specifics like which room you want help with. Here, you’ll be asked to upload photos and submit a hand-drawn layout of your space with measurements. You will also choose which images you like the best of previous designs, and you’ll have an opportunity to upload photos you’re inspired by. This took me about an hour but you really want to make sure you upload all measurements correctly, so take your time!
Once everything’s submitted, you’ll be linked with a Decorist stylist (you can request a specific stylist as well) within 48 hours and the styling begins!
Initial Two Design Concepts:
The first two design concepts are meant to show you different, yet equal room options. I was really excited for mine, as I spent a lot of time creating a Pinterest board of designs, sharing key pieces I really wanted in my space, and making sure I provided great examples.
For my master bathroom, I already knew I wanted a bright, tropical room with marble accents, colorful wall art, and a thin glass vase with a palm leaf on the vanity. I shared multiple room ideas and thought I provided more than enough information.
That’s why I was really surprised, when my colorful, bright, tropical master bathroom concepts came back like this:
So much gray. Gray vanity, gray accents, gray shower tile and gray paint. Then there’s a basic white wardrobe and white floor tile. If there is a pop of color, it’s in a blue/white/gray rug and a blue/white towel combo. While I wanted a vanity plant, I was given a short green plant and told I could buy one at a nursery.
Still, very gray. Same vanity, almost the same gray shower tile, gray wall color, gray towels, and gray floor tile. This one now has a white vase for a plant I can buy ‘somewhere nearby,’ a green/white closet, and and a white/blue-ish gray rug.
I was shocked. After spending so much time viewing the beautiful Decorist photos on their Instagram feed and the stunning celebrity makeovers, I was expecting to see a room that matched my style and wants. Instead, I received a neutral palate where a lot of the same products were in both designs.
Most of what I asked for in my room wasn’t addressed. I mentioned I didn’t want ANY lighting at all (including wall scones) as we just added new drywall and didn’t want to add new wiring. My stylist added wall scones. I had asked for a IKEA or similar wardrobe that would fill up the most of my 95 inch bathroom, and they gave me a 48 inch wardrobe and a 57 inch wardrobe. Lazy. They didn’t even incorporate tribal prints or a variety of textures. I was bummed and asked for a redo that took my Pinterest board and wants into consideration. They agreed they missed the point and agreed to give me a third free concept.
I need to note that you typically only get two initial concepts, but because my designer missed the mark that bad, they gave me a third option complimentary. This one started to pick up on the tropical, colorful vibes I wanted, but it still missed the mark a lot.
My designer placed two identical wall wardrobes in the room, but the wardrobes only held 4-5 pieces of clothing inside. It was mostly a tall dresser. This was the exact opposite of what I wanted. They also gave me a floor plant, after I repeatedly mentioned I didn’t want a floor plant. I was also given a circular wall mirror when I asked for a rectangle mirror that was the same width as the vanity, and they gave me what looks like outside patio pavers as a shower tile, when I asked for hexagon black slate shower floors.
While it was a huge improvement, my designer still hadn’t taken my feedback and wants into the consideration for the space. It wasn’t all that bad though. I did mention I liked the wall painting, the marble subway tile, and the wall mirrors and wanted to see those in the final design.
The Final Concept:
After waiting FIVE weeks (the entire process was only meant to take 10 days), my designer provided my final concept. Unlike the previous concepts where you see the products stacked in a vision board, for your final design you’re given an actual room view.
I had waited SO long for my designer to finally work on my project that I was initially stoked that my final design was here. Then, I realized, she still underdelivered and didn’t listen.
The floor plant I said I didn’t want? It was still there. The marble subway tile I mentioned I loved for the shower? It was nowhere to be found. The black slate hexagon shower floor tles I requested? Didn’t exist. If you’re wondering why the floors are stark white, it’s because she didn’t even remember to add bathroom flooring to my design. Worst of all, I asked why my Ikea dresser wasn’t filling up the space, and she said it’s because she picked a 78 inch one, before commenting, I kid you not, that she must have entered the height as the width, and it’s actually an even smaller wardrobe.
This is the actual message I received (cropped so you don’t see my designers name or photo):
After waiting months for my design, endless emails, and spending countless times trying to be proactive, I was given a room that didn’t include anything I asked for and everything I said I didn’t want. The designs featured measurements that were not to scale, and was missing key elements like flooring.
I couldn’t believe it. As of the time of this writing, my designer still hasn’t written me back, so I’m in the process of asking for a refund.
If you’re thinking of using Decorist, be VERY aware of the following.
- This isn’t a quick fix. While they advertise turn around times of 10 days start to finish, mine took nearly two months. Anytime my designer wrote me, I responded within an hour or two at most. The waiting period was all on the designer.
- It’s not cheap. My final design included a $1,000 faucet, a $120 toilet paper holder, $2,000 vanity and $300 art print for starters. I’m all for spending money, but $97 for a toothbrush holder is ridiculous.
- They don’t show you the best options for your room. Decorist makes part of their money from users buying products through their site. Because of this, you can only buy products from vendors that give Decorist a cut. If there’s an awesome rug you want from Target, you’re out of luck. You’re going to be given a West Elm $700 rug even if it looks nearly identical. The brands they work with include CB2, Restoration Hardware and Minted. So, unless you’re willing to shell out $5-15k per room, be prepared to do your own, independent shopping after to find cheaper alternates because they only show you items that they can make commission off of.
- Not all designers are created equal. If you browse through the various designers that Decorist partners with, you may find that the ones who appear super talented are not available. If you don’t personally request a designer that just so happens to be available, chances are you’re going to end up with one that no one else wanted and might not have the best experience or portfolio.
There are a lot of designer programs out there, including Modsy and Havenly and I’d highly suggest looking at a variety of options before choosing which design service is best for you. I’m currently using Modsy for my master bedroom and can’t wait to share that before and after review next. Hint: they’re amazing.
I personally wouldn’t work with Decorist again due to how long the process took and the results I was given, but there ARE people who swear by their options. I truly believe it all comes down to how specific you are with your wants/needs, and how well you’re matched with your designer.
Have you used Decorist? Let me know your experience in the comments below!