If you’ve ever painted your bedroom yourself—and realized upon completion that the paint you chose looks like a shade of puce last seen on the walls of a high-school cafeteria in 1972—you know how trying to decorate your home can lead straight to the madhouse. While a good interior decorator can save you from such a fate, hiring one has always been a costly, intimidating, and time-consuming proposition. The retainer, the delivery fees, the obscene markups on custom upholstery …

But now Jake Arnold, an enterprising 30-year-old decorator who also knows a thing or two about tech, has made the arrangement much less maddening. His start-up, the Expert, which he founded along with his friend the tech entrepreneur Leo Seigal, could have been called “Decorating by Zoom.” Born during the pandemic, when we have nothing to do except stare at the walls and wish they looked better, the Expert pairs top designers with plebeians who require (just a little bit of) their services. They do the legwork, but also the brainwork.