Houzz Business?
March 23, 2013 - 10:34pm
A start-up founded by a husband-wife team who was frustrated with the home design process is morphing into one of the best ways for home remodeling professionals to gain exposure and new clientele.
houzz elume distinctive lighting
A Houzz profile for Cora Stjernholm at Elume Distinctive Lighting showcases lighting for projects she’s worked on as well as some custom lighting fixtures.

It’s affectionately referred to as a haven for “house eye candy,” but it’s actually more than it appears.

Houzz, an online platform and app for home remodeling and design, connects a spectrum of users from homeowners to professionals through a database of more than 1 million photos used for home decoration and building inspiration.

By creating a free account, homeowners can browse photos tagged from the portfolios of architects, interior designers and contractors in any imaginable home category and create “ideabooks,” where they can file and make notes on their favorites. This ideabook is a user’s virtual scrapbook, where he can keep track of things that inspire him or represent what he wants (or doesn’t want) in his own home project. He can even find the right professional in his area by browsing project photos and reading reviews.

Professionals can create a free account, too, to showcase their work. They simply upload company information and tag and organize photos by project, then start connecting with potential clients. These photos become the backbone of ideabooks, and then users can inquire about the products and design in the Discussion forum, which will hopefully spark some business.

Who and How?

According to the Houzz & Home survey results released in May 2012, 89 percent of U.S. Houzz users are homeowners with an average home value of $450,000 and an average income of $124,000. Relative to the lighting industry, the percentage of respondents who said they plan to decorate or redecorate in the next two years was a whopping 72 percent.

In a webinar titled “Using Houzz to Market Your Business,” Vice President of Marketing Liza Hausman pinpointed a few tips for home improvement professionals to make their profiles more relevant for this affluent user base: add a large number of high-quality photos; ask for reviews from colleagues and clients; add keywords to photos to tag them; and supply good company information. 

Hausman also says that the one of the best ways for a professional to get the most out of Houzz is to “start now” and enrich your profile over time. Also taking advantage of the interaction Houzz enables with the homeowner community via the Discussion tool is a great way to establish relationships.

Cora Stjernholm, Outside Sales and Lighting Consultant at Elume Distinctive Lighting, Park City, UT, operates a Houzz account for her showroom, and she says it’s rare nowadays for homeowners not to have at least one ideabook when she meets them.            

“Being able to see exactly what someone likes expedites selections and makes the work more fun,” Stjernholm says. “Houzz ideabooks have helped the whole design-build team get onto the same page, too, and borrowing ideas has elevated our projects.”

Stjernholm is an example of an all-around Houzz success story, in fact; she’s actually gotten business from the site.

“I designed a fully custom-forged iron and wood fixture for a client and they didn’t end up using the idea in the final project. A few weeks later an interior designer from Virgina called looking for information on the light — I adjusted the design and the forge will be shipping to them. It’s fabulous!”

For more information about how Houzz can help your business, visit www.houzz.com.


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