Faced with this task, I looked to e-interior design services for help. You may have seen ads about them in your inbox, Instagram, or on flyers at your local big brand furniture store. These services promise to make revamping your home as easy as a few clicks on a computer, so I put a few of them to the test to see if paying someone to restyle your house is worth the investment.
For the project, my boyfriend and I were willing to invest up to $3,000 on new furnishings and art (about a fourth of that budget I anticipate to make back in selling furniture we’re replacing). Our small (but reasonably sizable, for New York City) apartment needed the most work in the living / dining room, which is open to the kitchen. We cook at home a decent amount, but never have enough people over for a formal dining space. We do have friends over frequently to hang, drink, and play games, so we wanted the room to feel light, bright, and easy for multiple people to maneuver around.
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?
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.
Trying to stretch as much of my budget as possible, I first tried a few free services for modeling my soon-to-be home. Some light Googling led me to Roomstyler, a 3D rendering tool for mocking up rooms and furnishing them with select furniture pieces from a catalog. This seemed like a good start for envisioning how we could lay out some of the items that would make the move with us.
I applaud the folks working with AR to create interesting use cases, like on-location work training. But kitschy applications like this are just… not very fun to use? Holding my arm out for minutes on end gets tiring fast, especially when you have to browse through thousands of items just to find the one thing that might work in your space.