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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.