You may be thinking of knocking down an existing house and rebuilding, you may have a sloping or difficult site, you make have acreage that has views, you may have certain restrictions or you may wish to have the greenest home in the region….. your Design Team is not only creative but a problem solver.
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.)
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.
Naturally, there were some design challenges with the space itself. First, the apartment features steel floors, and we wanted a little bit of warmth to counter the industrial vibes. Second, we’re on the top floor, which has a sloped ceiling from the roof in the living room. Lastly, there is a brick feature wall that we cannot mount anything on, and it’s directly across from a west-facing window that could add glare to a TV.
Havenly starts with a style quiz where you select photos of rooms you like and answer a few personality questions. You can select the level at which you want to be involved in the process, or say screw it and let your designer take the wheels. Then, you’re presented with a few color schemes and mood boards to rate, before you’re asked to upload photos of the room and any relevant inspiration pics. All this information allows Havenly to match you with an in-house designer that best suits your style and needs.
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.