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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
You see, the way we live continues to change…. housing is not just about a roof over your head…. it’s about making a statement, it about lifestyle.