Caught in the Web

Rating Spaces in Cyberspace

by Laura Emery, Field Editor


Long gone are the days of having to pay top-dollar to get a design consultant to come peruse your pad and offer design tips, or throw lavish parties just to show off your precisely primped home space or remodeling project.

Forget feedback from family and friends — homeowners are now going online and inviting complete strangers to weigh in.

Frazzled homeowners and amateur designers alike are flocking to the World Wide Web for a different kind of decorating experience — seeking objective comments from an anonymous mix of designer wannabes, average decorators with good intentions, and even the clueless designers.

Hundreds of thousands of people are posting pictures of their favorite rooms on home-design Web sites and other such forums, hoping that others will love the designs, too. Others are using the audience (anonymous people only identified by creative screen names) as a way to make difficult design decisions, and to get brutal honesty.

Thousands of people view these pictures and offer comments, suggestions, and sometimes criticism. But for those seeking honest opinions on the design merit of your space, this is the perfect consortium. Once comments have been given, it’s up to the poster as to whether to take the design to the next level.

“Those window treatments scream grandma,” a complete stranger might weigh in objectively. On the other hand, viewers can also be generous with their accolades: “This is absolutely gorgeous! I love everything about this room! You are an inspiration!”

The posted room styles are as diverse as the design aesthetic of those who anonymously browse, rating rooms and posting comments. One thing is certain, however — everyone has an opinion, and is often more than willing to share it.

rate my space

Rate My Space (RMS), managed by, has been called the “American Idol” of home décor. The Web site has logged more than 18 million page views in the last month alone and currently has more than 158,445 members who have posted photos of their decorating projects. In addition to the growing online forum, the network has recognized the increasing popularity of this new dimension to the design world — and now airs a television show designed around the Rate My Space concept — Rate My Space: The Show. On the show, HGTV designer Angelo Surmelis comes to the rescue of a low-rated room from the Rate My Space community, turning it into a five-star hit using inspiration rooms (also from the RMS community). To be considered for Rate My Space: The Show, all you have to do is post pictures of your room or rooms on the Web site.

On Rate My Space, there is a category for just about every design project — bedrooms, living rooms, home exteriors, garages, gardens, bathrooms, dorm rooms, kids’ rooms, baby nurseries, patios, pools, porches, and yards. Designer rooms are great, but if you want to check out average-home design broken down into highest ratings, most viewed, and most recent, this is the place to go. You can also type in specific keywords for the colors or styles you want to view.

Or post a room you’re proud of, and await the public’s verdict. Can’t decide which bedding looks better with your window treatments? The Rate My Space community would love to help you make that decision.


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