Design fans can experience the best products in the world from the comforts of home with an internet connection and a few spare hours. Pinterest leads the way in the social media world, allowing friends and fans all across the country to share their favorite discoveries. It’s a great way for you to see what’s new while also rediscovering vintage gems. And websites like Fab.com and Etsy.com offer great deals on hard to find objects and furniture for every room of the home. Well, if you’re hunting for a new online fix you’re in luck, because a new design platform called Project Décor will soon join their ranks.
It’s described as a social home decorating platform, and the founders announced this past Wednesday that they’ll be launching an invite-only beta test starting June 18th. Project Décor was started by entrepreneurs Cliff Sirlin and Andy Appelbaum out of New York, and they’ve raised nearly $1.6 million in seed funding to run the beta test. Their financing came from a group of angel investors, as well as venture capitalists at LaunchCapital and Founder Collective, and fans of Pinterest should be thrilled even with the first iteration.
Like Pinterest and other shopping sites, Project Décor is heavily image focused. Basically, users pull together pictures of their favorite design products to share with other networked friends. But here they’re not laid out on pin boards, but arranged in virtual “rooms”. Each member of Project Décor can design their own rooms, share those rooms with other friends on the site, and follow professional designers and other design aficionados who have created their own virtual rooms. At some point after the beta testing period, users will be given a way to buy whatever they see in these virtual rooms, even if those items were previously only purchasable by professional home designers.
So how will Project Décor differentiate itself from the myriad of other home design options? Outside of social networking sites like Pinterest and online stores like Fab and Etsy, there already exist a wide range of social commerce sites, including well-trafficked brands like Svpply, Fancy and Houzz. But the founders of Project Décor believe the difference will be made obvious through their employment of at least forty well-respected designers and consultants. The elite style knowledge on display, paired with giving users the ability to easily purchase what they see (a marked difference from Pinterest), should give the site a distinct leg up on the competition. The goal of Project Décor is to help a user design their perfect virtual room, and then offer them an easy e-commerce solution to put that room together in reality.
Even at beta launch, Project Décor has an impressive list of brands already on board. Design fans can expect to see some of their favorite styles from such names as Emeco, Jonathan Adler, Bernhardt Design, Kosta Boda, Gaia & Gino, Jan Kath, ducduc, Stephanie Odegard Collection, Mirror Image, Knoll, Orrefors, Richard Schultz, Area, Merida, Offecct, Christopher Farr and Studio Printworks. And the founders promise announcements of even more designers in the coming weeks. So if you’ve hunted long and hard for truly spectacular outdoor fountains and come up empty, your days of hunting in vain may very well be numbered.