Houzz is a free interior design website, which offers home owners access to home improvement inspirations and designs, as well as access to the local professionals and products to build their dream plans. Much like Pinterest, users can browse more than 2.5 million photos and save them to a virtual scrapbook.
The product has successfully tapped into the home improvement craze, taking designs likely to be featured in popular interior design and architecture magazines and made them accessible online, easy to organize, find and implement. It also facilitates conversations and potential transactions between home improvement professionals and businesses, and homeowners.
But as with every new online community, there comes great advantages and disadvantages to using the service.
- It’s Easy to Find Inspiration
Users can do a general search for images by according to the space in their home. The website allows for easy access to ideas for each room in the home. It’s also very simple to find specific examples of what you are looking for; a comprehensible search function allows you to search terms and multiple features. For example, “white marble countertops” + “white kitchen islands” will bring up a selection of photographs which showcase both of these specific features. You can then further refine results by filtering by style or according to the resources available in your geographic location.
- How to Guides and Articles
The website hosts an extensive library of how to guides and articles on home design and improvement which are available to read free of charge and written by Houzz editors, design writers, architects, designers and contractors.
- Customized recommendations
Based on users’ profile and interactions on the website, Houzz will offer up some photos to consider, as well as provide users with a list of new professionals to follow and connect with based on their style.
- Connect and share with other homeowners and professionals
Houzz hosts an online community whereby designers and home improvement enthusiasts can interact with eachother. Users are encouraged to ask their followers’ advice on a design dilemma, or post photographs on the projects they’ve been working on.
- Find the materials and the people to bring ideas to lifeWhen users find a design they love, they can turn that idea into a real project as Houzz automatically offers the details of local products and interior decorators, architects and firms and allows you to connect with them directly.
- It is difficult to contact Houzz
Houzz does not offer a direct phone line between its users and the service. It does offer a messaging service through their website. Unfortunately this means questions and concerns aren’t necessarily answered or addressed in real time.
- Houzz is not responsible for sales via the website
Houzz is not responsible for items or services purchased via the website. The seller home owners purchase from is. Sellers set their own transaction and shipping charges and manage the delivery process.
- Search results can be overwhelming
Trying to sift through hundreds of photographs based on search terms can be time consuming and certainly overwhelming, considering that not all images are tagged correctly.
- Image copywright issues
For photographers, designers, contractors, architects and home improvement firms, it has been reported that some images posted to Houzz have been copywrited by Houzz. It is therefore smart to ensure images are watermarked to ensure the credit goes to the original source.
Houzz has taken offers a valuable service in sharing design ideas with home owners and also connecting the home owners to the designs or products they are inspired by. As with any online social platform, there are risks associated in sharing images and ensuring high quality service practices are upheld by those operating within the community.