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Designing My Living Room: Modsy Review

Sunday, September 9, 2018
Ever since moving into my house I've been telling myself that I'd do a living room refresh. I get a constant reminder every time I walk into the room and I'm met with a cobbled-together collection of ugly furniture and decor items from garage sales, hand-me-downs and Craigslist, and yet for some reason I still hadn't gotten around to actually doing it. There's design decisions to be made, items to source, old furniture to be sold. It's all just a lot of work that I was happily procrastinating doing, for years on end.

About a month ago I decided it was time. If I had to see my 5 gooseneck light floor lamp with yellowed plastic light shades one more time I was going to lose it. I'm a newly minted 30 year old for god-sake and yet I've been living in a room still furnished with dorm room staples! Time to be a grownup. 

As if Instagram was reading my mind (and it probably was somehow...) I started getting ads for  Modsy, an online interior design service. Something that's tailored to me, but doesn't involve me leaving the house or talking to a human? Sign me up!


So how does it work? Modsy starts by having you take a style quiz, which is actually freely available right here. I did this before I even decided to use the service and I was pretty impressed by how accurate the results were. I definitely wouldn't have come up with the term "Atomic Industrial" on my own, but hey, whatever it is actually represents what I like!

Once you've decided to start a project, you upload your room measurements and at least 8 pictures of the room you want to work on -- one from each corner and edge of the room. Yes, my pictures featured cats in the background staring at me like I was crazy. They ask some questions about your project, like budget, what you're looking to accomplish, and if you want to design around any existing pieces, etc. They then take those photos and create a photo-realistic 3D rendering of your room, have a designer style your room using items from their affiliate retailers so it's all available to buy immediately and with a discount and then send you back two designs! You can see rendered images from every angle and explore the room with a 3D walkthrough. Best part is, you can even make tweaks to those designs yourself by rearranging, adding or removing pieces, or you can request changes from your designer!

Before

Before

Before
When I was first looking into this, I was pretty impressed with the concept but I was certain it would be pricey. A 3D rendering from your photos, two different designs tailored to your style and needs and the ability to play around with that rendering yourself? For the editable 3D rendering alone I would have paid $40, yet alone thinking about how much I'd pay someone to style it! Surprisingly, Modsy is actually really reasonably priced for their base package: $59 dollars for a room. They offer another package, with a dedicated designer and live consultations, which is considerably more expensive at $149 a room. (Prices from here at the time of writing). What tipped me over the edge was that after completing the style quiz which, unsurprisingly, requires you to create a free account before giving you your results, they emailed me a discount code for a summer sale. 20% off! A hair over $46 dollars seems pretty reasonable to me when I'm considering making some major purchases!

For my living room, I submitted the minimum requirement of 8 photos and a picture of a sketch of the layout of my room. I gave them my budget, told them how I use the room and some requirements (pet friendly, practical, ability to seat at least 6 on occasion). I submitted my project on a Thursday and got my designs back exactly two Thursdays later, about 2 hours after they emailed me apologizing for the delay and assuring me I'd have my designs within 24 hours.

Design 1
Design 1
Design 1
Design 1
Design 2
Design 2
Design 2
Design 2

Of the two designs I received, I definitely liked one more than the other. The first design was more neutral and featured a wireframe chair which I absolutely love the look of. The second design had less furniture, which I liked, but was a lot more colorful. I just wasn't as much of a fan of the combinations of color and pattern that they used. Luckily, their 3D editor let me tweak my designs, so I took a little inspiration from design 2's layout and modified somethings in design 1. I definitely got a little absorbed in making my own tweaks -- I experimented with layout changes, removing furniture, adding new furniture, swapping things out. I even set it up so I could see what things would look like if I kept some existing pieces. I couldn't find any of my exact furniture on there since it's all old at this point, but Modsy's library is big enough that I could easily find similar items. You can still tell this company and product is still relatively new because there were times when the tools were a bit glitchy, but usually saving, exiting and reloading fixed the issues. But beware, if you enter the 3D editor world, you'll probably loose at least a few hours of your day toying with all the different possibilities!

Some of my own design tweaks with items similar to my secondhand finds and items I already own
All in all, I thought my Modsy experience was a great one. I thought the project initiation was really simple, and the designs I got back were stylish and met my specifications. The ability to visualize what the ideas I had in the back of my head would look like in real life was worth the cost alone. As part of my efforts to be a little more environmentally friendly I want to try to source things secondhand first, buy from "slow design" artists or even try to build things like bookshelves myself (little does John know yet...), so being able to pop similar items into the 3D editor has made me so much more confident to actually start buying things. I've been scouring local secondhand sites since getting my designs back and I've already found a really nice and really cheap grey modern couch, a piece I'd been dreading buying, and a cool vintage leather wood-frame arm chair for only ten bucks!

For now, my living room is still definitely a work in progress, but thanks to Modsy, it's a project I'm actually excited to be working on! And don't worry, I'll be sure to keep you all updated as everything progresses!
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