Before moving in, I took photos of the unit (old tenant’s things and all) and measured all the walls and windows. The tool lets you click and drag walls around to fit any irregularly shaped rooms, or specify wall length and height. You may not find exact matches for your home materials but you can get pretty close. There were no options for steel floors that I could find, for example, but dark grey brick replicated the feel.
I got so tired of scrolling through options that I just plopped a couple of items in there to visualize the space. Eventually, I felt embarrassed by the duckling I’d created. The room looked as if I was trying to re-create a West Elm showroom by memory using only stuff I can get from a local Walmart. I had to move on.
Some people have the ability to walk into a furniture store and pick out various pieces of housewares that appear seemingly mismatched but somehow work perfectly together when placed in a room. I am not one of those people. I moved in June and decided that after years of having a sloppily put together 20-something’s apartment, I was ready for something that felt more composed and intentional. If I wanted to fake being an adult, at the very least I could try to have an adult-looking apartment, right?
Choosing the wall colors and floor felt surprisingly zen until I got to the furniture layout portion. While you can choose any color under the sun to virtually paint your room, the furniture selection tool is super clunky to use. A search for sectionals offered up hundreds of results, but filtering by color suddenly slimmed the results down to one or two options, even though there were clearly pieces that fit what I wanted when I didn’t clarify color choice.
While we were flexible about furniture choices, we did have some pieces we wanted to keep, like the gray / wood armchair I dragged home through the streets of Brooklyn on my own in the middle of August. There was no way this thing’s going on Craigslist just yet.
Fed up with free tools, I gave paid services a go. I was first introduced to e-interior design startup Havenly a few years ago at SXSW. The service promises to create a mood board, layout, and a shopping list to help make implementing the design easy — all under a flat rate instead of an hourly bill you might get with an in-person designer. (Havenly starts at $19 for a consultation, while the full experience is $169 for a bare room, with help on where to lay out each piece.)