House & Home

Home Blogs Shake Up Design Industry

Posted November 26, 2007 4:35 p.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2007 1:20 a.m. EST

For anyone seeking to furnish, redesign or just spruce up their home, design blogs provide seemingly infinite possibilities. And for the design world, that means a power shift.

There's no need to set foot in a big box store full of screaming children and cookie-cutter couches. No need to hire a consultant or designer. No need to buy a magazine or pick up a catalog.

Why bother, when it's all online?

"The oceans of information and gossip and innuendo that bloggers are making available means that somebody sitting at home - wherever they are, in Iowa or New Hampshire - is just as likely to receive a piece of information or read about a trend," said Michael Cannell, editorial director for Dwell magazine's blogs. "They may know about them before an editor at a design magazine may."

Fading in popularity, Cannell says, are the trade-only stores that the public is barred from, such as the D&D building in New York. At the D&D, interior designers and architects shop for unique furnishings and materials for their clients.

With many desginers choosing to showcase on the Internet, style has been somewhat democratized.

"The wonderful thing about online shopping is that you can pick and choose bits and pieces from different shops to create an overall look. I have certain shops I go to for traditional furniture and other e-tailers I browse for funkier, more cutting-edge items," said DesignSponge blogger Grace Bonney.

The problem online isn't quantity - it's knowing where to turn. Here are some blogs that our experts agree are worth a visit:


Apartment Therapy

One site that gets a lot of traffic, and kudos from experts like Cannell, is The site has something for almost everyone, with special sections for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago and for topics like green design and nurseries.




The quirks don't end with odd punctuation. From ornate chandeliers made with delicate wire to spoons made of recycled paper, the site offers links to truly unusual designers. The site also mines web sites of major retailers - and sometimes provides discounts to the online vendors it recommends. Guides by city and product can help those who don't want to dig through years of blog posts.



This Web site for Dwell magazine has three blogs, which Cannell says aim to "fill a void" for sophisticated, modern readers. "We want to show them how to make those homes their homes."



Cannell notes that the design world has refocused on the kitchen, which is at the forefront of HGTV's online site. The home-improvement television station has myriad articles, and serious renovators can create a to-scale 3-D mockup of their dream kitchen, a process that can be quite rigorous, asking users to select from dozens of options for appliances, cabinets and other kitchen wares.



For furniture and larger pieces, Bonney praises sites like,, and, though she always does a quick eBay and Craigslist search before buying new pieces. For tableware, Bonney frequents, and