I discovered Spoak at the best of times and the worst of times. The best because I was feeling particularly uninspired by my surroundings — a bedroom filled with the beauty products I test for work and furniture I chose when I was fresh out of college. The worst because as a renter in NYC, I’m never quite sure how long I’ll be in any given apartment, and in spite of feeling uninspired by my space, my redecoration budget isn’t particularly deep.
With all of that in mind, Spoak, a digital decorating service I promise to fully explain in a sec, delivered more than I even expected. “Putting together a home that feels like 'you' can be really hard,” reads the company's website. And to address that problem, the site matches its users with so-called “thingologists.” Once you sign up for Spoak ($99/month for unlimited access to your thingologist with whom you interact entirely digitally), you are prompted to take a survey. If you’ve ever done a quiz to hone in on your personal style fashion-wise — clicking what resonates with you most from a set of images — it’s a bit like that. You also provide photos and videos of your existing space.
From there, you’re matched up with your Spoak pro who uses your intake survey to create a mood board. You, of course, have the option to give feedback and collaborate to get the vibe right before you get to the actual thing-choosing stage. For example, while my mood board was super-chic, it felt a little too pink for my tastes, so I asked if we could add some blue hues to make it feel more “me.”
It may seem like a weird concept to need someone else’s help figuring out what feels like “you,” but for me, Spoak was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. For example, I knew my old headboard that I bought right out of college with only a wire frame to support my mattress didn’t feel like me anymore. And I knew my organizational systems needed help both aesthetically and functionally speaking, but I didn’t know where to start. I was overwhelmed by what felt like an inevitably costly process and too busy with work on a day-to-day basis to prioritize getting started. Who knows how long I would have put off getting started?
Katie, my thingologist, understood my taste about as much as a stranger you’ve never met in person can, which will take you a long way (if not all the way) in the decorating process. Once my mood board was in a good starting place, she got started on my book, a digital catalog, if you will, of shoppable options with sections for each category your shopping for (think: headboard, artwork, rugs, storage). With Spoak, no element is too big or detail too small. Katie even helped pick out trays, vases, and plants for my space, and she outlined how and where I would style them. In addition to your book, you can even see your picks on a map to see just how globally spread the shops and artisans you order from are.
Back to my headboard, the first iteration of my book included DIYs (certainly more economical, but not my forte), as well as options from stores like AllModern, CB2, and more. We went through the same process for each category. On the Spoak interface, you can like or dislike options as well as leave notes to your thingologist, in addition to email correspondence.
The one somewhat major drawback to using a service like Spoak is probably one you’re already thinking of. While a video and photographs go a long way, it’s not quite the same as someone being in your actual space and understanding just how much (or how little) space there truly is, or how crowded a wall might look when you consider the 3D reality of what’s right next to it, rather than as a flat, 2D wall. You also have to be willing to roll up your sleeves (in truly the most minor way possible) and take meticulous measurements yourself. Though, of course, using a measuring tape is easy, picturing how things will actually come together is not for me, which meant I needed to leave some room for trial and error.
Because your Thingologist is remote (and in my case, in a different time zone), the conversation and moving things along is a bit slower. There were countless times I wanted to call or text Katie to ask a quick question and get a quick answer but couldn't. Ultimately, however, that can work in your favor, allowing you to take your time making decisions. That said, the price difference between using Spoak and hiring an in-person interior designer is massive, and so measuring things (and even making a few mistakes along the way) seems a small price to pay.
Slowly, my room came together. We replaced my beige linen headboard with an upholstered navy velvet one from West Elm, and we added staggered wooden shelves to display artwork above it. I turned to female-founded companies like Spacey Studios to find cool prints and female artists like Kit Agar, and then turned to Framebridge for a seamless framing process I could handle on my laptop.
My white bed frame (also from West Elm) stayed the same since it was compatible with new headboard. I knew I loved the mid-century modern vibes of Article (where I bought my couch two years ago) and found a wooden nightstand I loved to replace the one I had. I added a Chilean metal wall hanging I never would have picked on my own from The Citizenry above it. I have too much stuff packed into my space already, so we wanted to keep things light and airy on the bed and went with a white linen set from Parachute (and of course, white silk pillowcases for optimized nighttime skin and haircare from Slip Silk) accented with velvet pillows in teal and pink for pops of color.
Unsurprisingly, there were some complications. The Moroccan rug I bought on Etsy (a splurge!) continued to bunch under my dresser, even though it physically fit, and made my under bed drawers storage impossible to drag in and out. I wish I could have anticipated this, but alas, I moved the rug into my living room where it looks great and has a much happier home.
Ultimately, I'd wholeheartedly recommend Spoak to anyone looking for a second set of design-savvy eyes to help refresh a room, or even just change up the artwork. Spoak's thingologists know the market through and through, are patient with indecisive clients, and truly workshop your space 'til you get it right. And after all, shouldn't we love the spaces we spend the most time in.
To see more bedroom design ideas from Spoak, follow them on Instagram @spoakdecor.
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