Home Design Tips & Tricks

Our very best home design tips, tricks, and how-to guides. We tackle everything from layout struggles, to decor ideas to help you design your home with confidence.

thanksgiving prep

Thanksgiving Prep: Easy, Last-Minute Tips to Get Your Dining Room Ready

Hosting a Thanksgiving gathering and feeling frenzied? You’re not alone. Between cooking and coordinating, there never seems to be enough time for Thanksgiving prep. But setting up your dining room with the right flow and flexibility can help you easily host a comfortable holiday meal.

If you’re pressed for time, we’ve got some tips that are easy to implement, even at the last minute!

Here are our favorite quick tips to help get your dining room ready.

thanksgiving prep

1. Accommodate Extra Guests

Be prepared to have a seat for the extra family member or the friend-of-a-friend (who forgot to RSVP) by pulling in ottomans, benches, and stools from other areas in your home.

These moveable pieces are a practical and perfect, last-minute way to accommodate additional guests at large gatherings. Ready a few around the room—guests can perch here with their cocktails before dinner, or simply use them as a spot for placing bags and coats.

 

2. Make Drinks Self-Serve

It’s as simple as pulling in a bar cart to allow guests to stir up their own drinks. Choose an option with casters, AKA wheels, that you can easily move around.

This allows you the flexibility of placing your bar cart in the corner for cocktail hour and then moving it into another room for post-dinner drinks and coffee.

thanksgiving prep

3. Make More Room to Gather

Expandable dining tables with leaves are perfect for hosting big events. They ensure you’ll never be short on space when having a dinner party, but won’t take up too much room on a daily basis.

Stylist Tip: Choose a rug that’s sized to your table when it’s expanded. We recommend that your entire table and chairs sit fully on top of a rug. You won’t have to worry about the rug getting caught under chair legs as your guests scoot in and out.

4. Eliminate Trips Back and Forth

Just as you would have a drinks station for your guests, create a buffet area on a credenza for appetizers and desserts.

This will keep you from having to make trips back and forth to the kitchen. Not to mention, once dinner is over, everyone knows exactly where to find the sweets and pies. Keep some extra plates and napkins in the cupboards of your credenza and you’re all set.

Ready to pep your space for hosting?

 

Kids Design Ideas: 8 Ways to Make Your Living Room a Playroom

For families with young children, the living room is usually the busiest space in the home; you use it equally for lounging, watching TV, and often as a playroom for the kiddos. As you might imagine, when your living room becomes your playroom, things can easily start to feel pretty crowded and even cluttered.

It’s no wonder that customers frequently ask for ideas on how to incorporate a play area for kids in their living rooms. To help, we gathered 8 of our favorite ideas on creating a kids playroom within your living area.

playroom

1. Delineate With a Rug

Add a colorful rug as a way to “zone” a kid’s playroom and create some visual separation from the main living space. It’s a quick and easy update that everyone can immediately get on board with. Opt for a sturdy area rug that can stand up to lots of stomping and toy cars.

Playroom
2. Dedicate a Storage Spot

Some spaces might be better suited to a play corner rather than a playroom. If this sounds like your home, try tucking a storage bench into a corner that’s solely for your kids’ toys. Pull in a pouf and you’ll have a simple play corner set up just for them! It’s a great way to minimize clutter and contain messes since everything can be stowed away quickly and neatly.

For an added bonus, you can repurpose the bench in a new area in your home once the kids outgrow their toys.

 

 

playroom

3. Carve Out a Cushy Corner

Little nooks in your space, such as a tricky-shaped landing at the top of your stairs, are perfect places for setting up a kids’ corner.

Plop down a few beanbag chairs and poufs, along with a small table and some storage, to create a cozy playroom that’s perfect for storytime as well as games.

 

playroom
4. Create a Low-Furniture Nook

There are endless options for kids furniture out there, but no need to stick to pint-size pieces when creating your playroom.

Low-profile pieces, such as poufs and ottomans are great seating options for a play area – they’re small enough for kids and pair nicely with child-sized tables. They also make great perches and footstools for adults, so they’ll be sure to get plenty of use.

 

 

playroom

5. Play Up a Colorful Alcove

If your living space is equipped with a recessed wall area, turn it into a colorful play corner that appeals to your kids in a big, bright way.

Think a vibrant sofa with fun pillows and patterns, along with a charming rug. This is a great way to put an awkward corner to use in a living space and incorporate fun colors that aren’t elsewhere in your home.

 

 

kids play area

6. Tuck it to the Side

Carve out a special, playroom nook by pulling your sofa away from the wall and using either the side or the back to divide the space. This gives the kids a designated area to play while grownups can watch over from nearby.

Stylists Tip: For a great multipurpose piece, try a couple of inexpensive coffee tables in place of a kids-table. They look nice and often last longer, so you can repurpose them easily once the play area is no longer needed.

 

 

playroom

7. Dream Up the Ultimate Playroom

If you have a larger living space, consider converting one end of the room into a full-on play area for your kids.

This approach is all about going big. Bring in a fort, mini kitchen, and a kid-sized table and chairs to create a space they can call their own. Make sure to consider durable fabrics that can stand up to lots of romping, rolling and any occasional spills!

 

 

playroom

8. Design a Kid-Friendly Office

Need a place to work and  keep an eye on the children? Set up a mini play corner in your home office or even work office if you have the space. Pull in a few ottomans or poufs and a low table for your kids to crayon, play with puzzles, or read. Add a shaggy sheepskin to cozy up the spot!

 

Need help creating a kids area in your home?

 

awkward spaces

Layout Solutions: Clever Design Ideas for Awkward Spaces

awkward spaces

Every home comes with a few quirks, be it architectural or spatial. You’ve seen them before—the strange nook off to one side of a room, a random recessed area that just serves no purpose, or a weirdly angled corner where nothing will fit. Naturally, these tricky spaces can be a challenge to figure out in a home.

It’s no wonder then that many homeowners come to Modsy asking for help designing an awkward space in their home. Read on to see how we helped a few Modsy customers come up with clever ways to put an awkward space to use.

A Small Bedroom Nook

When it comes to odd nooks, the design possibilities are actually endless. This window area in a couple’s bedroom had a pretty view but they were stumped when it came to furnishing it. So, our stylists came up with a few ideas that gave them a new perspective on the awkward space.

awkward spaces

awkward spaces

Idea #1: Office With a View

To make the most out of a small nook, look to maximize the space, vertically. Compact furnishings that don’t take up too much floor space are key; a wall-mounted fold-out desk with a slender chair easily turned this empty spot into a petite yet practical workspace.

Idea #2: Cozy Resting Spot

You can turn any nook into a quiet retreat from the rest of a room by simply adding an ottoman and a side table. Add a small rug, like this fluffy sheepskin, to help define the space as a resting spot where you can take a break with a book on the ottoman or leaning back on the floor.

 

A Tiny Living Room Recess

Awkward built-in architectural elements might be unavoidable in some homes, but with a little ingenious rethinking, you can put these areas to practical and stylish use! For a homeowner who inherited a living space with a tiny recess area, our stylists thought up a few ways to cozy it up.

Idea #1: Tucked-Away Bar

Bar carts and tray tables come in a range of sizes and can be just the pieces you need to transform an awkwardly tight spot. Consider these spaces an extension of your living area and an opportunity to add a function that’s missing in your room – such as this bar station or a mini library with wall shelving for extra books.

Idea #2: Comfy Cubby Seat

Similarly, recessed nooks in a room can make for comfy spots for lounging if you simply pile on some pillows and deck out the walls with display shelves. Think of it as a window seat for one, where you can snuggle up with a cup of tea wrapped in a throw on lazy weekend mornings.

 

Mini Alcoves and Corners

Most homes come with a few challenging corner spots that don’t allow for much decorating. But these actually make perfect spots for getting creative with interesting design pieces. For homeowners who were at a loss with strange corners in their homes, our stylists offered up some pretty and practical ideas.

awkward spaces

awkward spaces

Idea #1: A Quiet Reading Corner

Odd corners, especially ones with sloped ceilings, seem attractive in theory but can pose a huge design challenge. Rather than trying to find the perfect art to fill your slanted wall space, try keeping it bare for once.

Instead, turn a slanted space into a reading corner with designs that make a statement. This is your chance to get bold with a bright wing chair, a cool floor lamp, or an unusual side table, which will bring focus to the corner without it feeling empty.

Idea #2: A Versatile Workspace

There seems to always be that one, awkward narrow strip of wall that either goes unused or is too small to hang a painting or a mirror. Consider more modern and modular designs like wall-mounted shelving, which not only provides lots of vertical storage space but also provides a makeshift work surface if you simply pull up a chair.

 

Need to tackle an awkward space at home?

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Design Refresh: 4 Simple Ways to Brighten Up Your Space


Sometimes all you need to refresh a space are a few simple updates to make it feel like new.

We polled our Modsy designers to get their ideas on the best and easiest ways to refresh a space. Here are their top 4 tips on how to brighten up any space.

1. Create an accent wall.

We think a fresh coat of paint can work some real magic on a room, or if you’re feeling especially daring, go ahead and add a splash with some graphic or colorful wallpaper!


2. Mix up your lighting.

Mix and match a few table lamps and wall sconces in your space. Playing with different light sources is a great way to add warmth and a dynamic element to a room, and it will give you more control over the overall lighting.


3. Add a few house plants.

They not only brighten rooms, but add a lively bit of color and character. This is a great option for people who don’t love a lot of color in their home but still want a pop of brightness!


4. Change up your pillows.

You can do this seasonally as the weather shifts, or simply as your tastes change. Pillows add accents of color and depth to a space and are much easier (and more budget-friendly!) to swap out than an entire sofa or bed frame.


Still not quite sure how to visualize what your space could look like? Purchase a Modsy Design Package today to find out!

rug buying guide

Why Are Rugs So Expensive? A Guide to Buying Your Next Rug

rug buying guideIf you’ve done any internet browsing for rugs, you might have stumbled across the fact rugs are, more often than not, really freaking expensive.

Even if we exclude the handmade oriental rugs, which can easily fetch upwards of several thousands of dollars, a standard 8’x10’ rug from a popular furniture retailer can still cost you a month’s rent.

Need help finding the perfect rug for your space? Start a Modsy design project and get expert design plans in an exact version of your room in 3D! Our designers will show you rugs that meet your style + budget and how they fit in your space. Already have a design project? Shop our 5 favorite cheap rugs under $500!

To help shed some light on the subject, we’re taking a look at all the reasons why rugs are so expensive. We’re hashing out what factors make up a rug’s price so you can decide which are important for you.

What the rug is made of:

What a rug is made of matters. The material a rug is made of will determine the quality of the rug and effect how long it lasts. The main difference between materials often lies in their durability and clean-ability.

Rugs are most commonly made of either natural fibers – like wool or silk – or synthetic materials – like nylon or polyester. Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each material.

Wool:

A sturdy natural fiber, wool rugs are generally a more expensive option. This is because wool rugs last for decades, are highly durable, and keep their color and pattern over time. As a material, a rug made of wool will have a more soft and plush texture than its synthetic counterparts.

Silk:

Second to wool in its durability, silk rugs are coveted for their high-shine and luscious texture. Silk rugs tend to be extremely expensive and they require professional cleaning, making them not the best fit for homes with kids, pets, or heavy foot-traffic.

Nylon:

A less expensive, synthetic alternative, nylon is known for its durability. This makes it a good choice for high-traffic areas. Conversely, the material is highly absorbent, meaning a nylon rug can be easily ruined by spills.

Polyester:

Another inexpensive and synthetic option, polyester is a less absorbent material, rendering it is more stain-resistant. That said, polyester is a less durable material, and rugs made from it tend to fall apart more easily and quickly.

rug buying guide

What the rug is dyed with:

Rugs are generally given their color with either natural, usually vegetable-based, dyes or chemical dyes.

Natural dyes tend to be more lightfast, meaning they will not fade over time. Rugs dyed with natural options take more labor to produce, making them more expensive.

Chemical dyes are a much cheaper alternative. Depending on the dye and method of the dying process, these options tend to fade much quicker (even after a few months of foot traffic).

rug buying guide

How the rug is made:

The method by which a rug is made also is an important factor in determining its price.

The more expensive options tend to be loomed by hand and can take days of labor to complete. These rugs contain a high knot-count, which results in that amazing plush texture and their rich colors. They are more durable and can last decades if cared for properly.

The alternative to costly hand-made rugs, are machine made rugs. These options have a lower density of knots and a looser weave, causing them to be less durable in the long run.

rug buying guideOther things to consider:

The ethics behind rugs

Another component behind the cost of rugs is the ethics behind their production. Rugs made in factories with child labor are able to be sold at an extremely cheap price point. Before you purchase a rug, consider doing a bit of research on its production methods.

Value over time

While not so much a factor in the cost of a rug, another point to consider before you make a purchase is that rugs keep their value over time.

Like investing in a piece of art, quality rugs can be resold later and retain much of their original value. If cared for properly they can last decades and be passed down as a family heirloom.

So, why are rugs so expensive?

The materials, the dyes, method of production are the main points that make up a rug’s price.

Still unsure how much you should spend on a rug? These four questions will help you decide if you should splurge or skimp on your next rug. 

 

Need help finding a your perfect rug?

Modsy designers are standing by to help you find the perfect rug – or sofa, or bed frame – for your style and budget. They’ll show how different options look and fit in your exact space, so you can shop with confidence and skip the stress.

 

office in the living room

Work From Home: 9 Places to Put an Office in Your Living Room

Sometimes, the best place for an office is in the living room. With more and more people needing to work from home on the regular, we here at Modsy have encountered many homeowners asking for help designing their home offices.

The reality, however, is that most people don’t have an extra room to dedicate to a full-time office. But you don’t need a full room to have a stylish and productive work space.

Instead, most people are opting to incorporate a work station of some sort into their living spaces.

Here, we offer up 9 easy ways to make an office in the living room.

 

office in the living room

1. Set Up a Desk Behind a Sofa

If you have an open floor plan with a seating area pushed off to one side, try placing a desk behind your sofa.

Add a swivel chair and a table lamp and you’ll have a work station that’s tucked into your living space without looking or feeling out of place.

Check out these other ideas for what to do with that empty space behind your sofa.

 

 

office in the living room

2. Make the Most of an Unused Nook

An unused nook area – like the space directly next to a fireplace – can easily be the ideal spot to fit in a mini office.

Pair a desk with a chair, and even mix in a hanging mirror, and you’ve got a simple arrangement that will blend in seamlessly with your living room while taking up little space overall.

 

 

office in the living room

3. Consider a Mini Work Desk

Sometimes a small area that’s dedicated to work is all you need.

Rather than a full desk, consider tucking a small round table into an unused corner for a place where you can set up your laptop or go through paperwork.

This is a great option for busy living spaces or family rooms, as adults can get to work but also stay close to keep an eye on the kiddos.

 

 

office in the living room

4. Create an Open Office Space

If you have a large living area, carve out a space for a home office by placing a desk on its own, letting it “float” in front of a wall or credenza.

This is a stylish way to create a formal office space even if you don’t have an extra room.

Stylist Tip: Add a small rug to help clearly delineate the office from the rest of your living space.

 

 

office in the living room

5. Maximize Forgotten Spaces

Try designing a compact office in forgotten spaces, like the bottom of your stairs.

The areas surrounding a staircase often go unused, which makes them perfect spot to sneak in a workspace. This can be as simple as a narrow desk and slim chairs, neatly tucked away in a corner of your living space.

 

 

office in the living room

6. Make an Office Work With Your Layout

Apartment living often means making the most of your limited square footage.

Incorporate an office into your main seating area by pulling a desk right up alongside your sofa to create a seamless live/work space. This also allows your desk to double as a side table.

Another great tip? Rather than bookshelves, opt for wall-mounted shelving to maintain storage while saving on floor space.

 

 

office in the living room

7. Line Up a Work Station

Set up multiple desks along a wall to establish workstations that can be used by two or more people in your family.

If you’re a family with kids, this can be a great way to give each person a special homework area that doesn’t take up too much space.

Consider a series of matching chairs and desks to give your “home office” a more designed look and feel.

 

 

office in the living room

8. Fit a Desk Into a Passageway

A console can function nicely as a vanity and desk in any living room. They’re often narrow enough to be placed along walls in hallways and passageways leading to doorways.

Try adding a console near an entrance, as in this living room scenario, to turn a large empty wall area into a simple and functional office spot.

 

 

office in the living room

9. Optimize Shelving As a Working Spot

If you’re particularly tight on space, skip the hassle of making room for a full office. A compact wall shelving unit can provide you with just the laptop workstation you need to get work done.

Pull up a chair and fill your shelves with books and office materials and you’ll have an organized space that’s stylish and functional both when it’s in-use and not.

 

Want to see an office in your living room?

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7 Ways to Incorporate Seating Into Your Bedroom

More than just a place to sleep, your bedroom should be a space where you can escape and relax at the end of the day. One great way to make that happen? Incorporating a comfortable place to sit.

But where is the best place to put seating in a bedroom and what kind of seating should you look for?

Every bedroom is different, so we rounded up seven of our favorite ways to incorporate seating in your bedroom. Read on to see which one works for you.

 

Bedroom Seating For the Foot of Your Bed

The foot of your bed is a great place to have a seat. There are several options you can try here, depending on how much space you have to work with.

bedroom seating

Try a Bench

Place a bench at the foot of your bed to create an instant and easy spot to rest.

These make for a convenient perch to put on and take off your shoes and are a perfect catchall for holding bags, clothes, extra pillows and shams from your bed and even stacks of books.

Stylist Tip: Choose a bench that is the same width as your bed or slightly smaller so that it feels like an extension of your bed rather than a piece that overtakes the room.

 

bedroom seating

Try a Pair of Ottomans

If you’re looking for bedroom pieces that feel like less of a spatial commitment, a pair of matching ottomans are a great solution.

Smaller than a bench, ottomans work well in tighter spaces. They are also easy to move around, and can be pulled into other rooms if you need extra seating in a pinch.

Stylist Tip: If you have a small bedroom, look for ottomans with open bases to keep your space looking light and open. Or, if you’re in need of extra storage, try a pair of storage ottomans instead.

 

bedroom seating

Try a Comfy Chair

Bring the comforts of your living room into your bedroom by creating a mini lounge area at the foot of your bed.

Pairing a deep, comfy club chair with a small side table instantly gives your bedroom an intimate and cozy atmosphere. If your space allows for it, opt for matching chairs to create a conversation area for two.

 

Bedroom Seating For a Vanity

Make getting dressed more comfortable. Here’s a few ways to add seating to create a cozy vanity area in your bedroom.

bedroom seating

Tuck an Armchair by Your Mirror

If you have a spacious bedroom, consider placing a plush armchair next to a floor mirror, to create a comfy corner dressing area.

This is a great way to fill out an empty corner and add a warmth to your bedroom, all while creating a spot to that makes get ready every day fun.

Stylist Tip: Consider an armchair with a high back and slope arms that gives you room to comfortably slip on shoes or simply pile on clothes and other accessories while you get ready.

bedroom seatingTry Snuggling in a Side Chair

If you’re tight on space, try placing a side chair next to your dresser or vanity.

This can be a great spot to put on your shoes before dashing out, or can be a simple spot to hang your bag or jacket right as you enter your bedroom.

Stylist Tip: Consider a one-off vintage chair or look for a pair of dining chairs, which you can use separately in different spaces. A distinctive chair will truly shine in this scenario and add unexpected style to your space.

 

Bedroom Seating For a Reading Nook

Create a designated space for reading by tucking seating away in corners or under windows.

bedroom seating

Try a Chair by Your Nightstand

Place a sumptuous armchair next to your bed to give yourself a private reading nook where you can take full advantage of being near your nightstand.

Aim for a chair with a wide seat and big, comfy cushions. Because the chair alone will occupy an entire corner beside your bed, a larger scale armchair that feels substantial will help fill out the space while also providing a comfy seat where you can spend hours with a book.

Stylist Tip: Go with an armchair that contrasts with the rest of your room for a piece that stands out and adds a little unexpected punch.

 

bedroom seating

Try a Settee

In a generously sized master bedroom, try placing a settee or lounge below a window.

By creating a seating area like this one, you’ll also turn your bedroom into a space you’ll enjoy spending time in as opposed to one where you simply just rest.

Stylist Tip: Rather than a sofa, opt for a settee that seats two or three, which slightly more compact in size so it fits nicely in a bedroom. This provides you with space to also bring in other furnishings to round out the seating area, like a cocktail table and a bookcase.

 

Try Adding Seating in Your 3D Home

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Moving in Together? 4 Decorating Tips for Cohabitating Couples

Dear Modsy,

My partner and I are finally moving in together and I couldn’t be happier! We are both so excited, but the other day we were boxing up all of our belongings and it dawned on me that I absolutely can’t stand his taste in furniture, and he said the same about mine…

How can we somehow stuff our two very different styles into one space? Is it possible to design our home together without one of us hating it or both of us going insane?

Please help,
Couple of Sofas

 

Dear Couple of Sofas,

First, congratulations! Second, know that you are not alone with this struggle!

While the hardest part of moving in with your significant other might seem like sharing a bathroom, for many couples the greatest – and most unanticipated – challenge is actually designing their new shared space.

Moving in with a significant other is a big life event, so it’s understandable that it might stir up some anxiety. Couple that with the stress of purchasing furniture that meets both of your styles and budgets, and you really have a recipe for potential conflict.

Before you spend a miserable afternoon fighting over a rug in IKEA, read these 4 tips on how to combine design styles peacefully and create a space you both love.

1. Make a Game Plan

Before you get caught up in the design details, have a conversation with your partner about what each of you value in your home.

What do you want to use the space for? What are your must-haves and your hard-nos? And where are you willing to compromise?

Hash out these details before you talk specifics, and find the points that you both agree on. Then begin to make style choices together that lead you toward this common goal for your home.

2. Plan to Purge Equally

Upon moving in together you will likely have double the furniture that you can fit and will need to decide what to keep and what to toss. And while you might have better taste than your partner, they likely think the same things about your choice of furniture as well.

Instead of hashing out whose stuff moves into the new place and whose gets left on the side of the road, agree to purge equally and only take the good stuff.

This can mean going through items piece-by-piece and deciding whose is in better condition or will work better in your new place. Take a critical look at knick knacks as well, and consider only displaying the ones that are meaningful to both of you. Or, consider scrapping it all and only taking what you absolutely need to furnish your new place for the short-term.

This is your opportunity for a fresh start, so the goal of your purge should be to take what works, and leave the rest behind so you can begin to design a space that both of you love.

3. Explore Your Styles

Once you’ve cleared away your old furniture, you can begin to explore styles that speak to both of you for your new home together.

The first thing we recommend to couples is that they take the Modsy Style Quiz together. Understanding each other’s tastes can help you think about how to merge them together into one look (yes, we promise it is possible!).

She likes mid-century modern but he likes industrial? Try looking for pieces with a modern shape but in raw materials, like leather and metals, to satisfy you both. His style is glamorous but his is minimal? Maybe stick to a minimal color palette but play with more glam materials like velvet and gold.

There are so many ways to mix and match even the most opposite of styles. Find what you both like and where you can start to merge your tastes together.

4. Show off Your Ideas

Sometimes the best way to convince your partner that a certain style or piece of furniture will look good in your space, is to show them.

Create a visual representation of your ideas to show your partner, be that a Modsy rendering of your actual home, a moodboard, or ordering fabric samples and paint swatches.

Many customers tell us that they were able to try something new after showing their significant other a Modsy rendering of how a new coffee table, bold sofa, or different layout would look in their space.

Visualizing your ideas can help you both feel more confident about your design choices, which in turn helps relieve the stress of making big-ticket purchases.

 

Need help combining design styles with your significant other?

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Want to Make Design Updates But Don’t Know Where to Start?

For most homeowners, a total design revamp of their space is the ultimate dream. But the reality is that making design updates to any a space are a major undertaking.

Couple this with the fact that if you’re not moving into a new home, your space might already be “designed” (albeit maybe not well) with furniture and decor collected over time.

Instead of trying to overhaul an entire room at once – which is expensive and requires a lot of time and effort – consider making a series of key design updates to your already decorated space. This approach begs the question: Where do I start?

design updates

Tackling all the design updates you want to make at once can feel overwhelming. To help, we gathered some expert tips from our Modsy designers on what they think is the best approach to making practical and stylish (and manageable) updates to your spaces, one step at a time.

Read on to learn how to avoid home design headaches and steal our step-by-step guide to making design updates in your home!

Design UpdateStep 1: Assess What’s Not Working

When updating any space in your home, always start by asking yourself the crucial question: What’s not working?

Knowing this will help you zero in on what you should update in your space, and – if it’s multiple things – help you prioritize which to tackle first.

If it’s your layout…

Try to pinpoint what you ultimately want out of your space. For example, do you need a more multifunctional set-up because you have small children running around? Or is it that you want to create a seating area that’s more conducive to conversation and hosting friends?

Take your time when considering how you’ll be using your space, as this decision can help you think about what kinds of major design updates and furniture purchases you’ll need to make.

If it’s your furniture…

Think about why your existing pieces aren’t working. Let’s say, for example, your sofa just isn’t comfy enough. It could be that your TV stand is just a little too tall. Or, simply, you don’t have enough places to set down a drink!

Get specific about what it is about your furniture that’s no longer suiting your space.

If it’s your room’s style…

Try honing in on specifics and start there. Is your space lacking in color? Are you looking for prettier, more grown-up furnishings? Or are you simply trying to figure out what your style is?

If it’s the latter, our Modsy Style Quiz can help provide some guidance. Regardless, keep your focus simple and straightforward in terms what you feel is stylistically missing.

Step 2: Set a Long-Term Goal

Once you’ve identified the focus for your design updates, set a long term goal for your space and backtrack to where you are right now.

If your goal is to set up your room with better flow…

Think about how you’d ideally like people to interact and move around in your space. This will help you plan the best layout for your room.

If your aim is to upgrade your existing furnishings

Have a clear end goal in mind. Whether it’s swapping in bigger, comfier seating or adding a nicer coffee table, knowing what your ideal space looks like will help you plan how to get there.

If you’re working with a Modsy Designer, they can help you create a checklist and work through your design updates in the order and timeframe that makes sense.

If you’re hoping to up your style game in your room

Consider the mood and overall ambience you want to create, which will give you a sense of the types of details and furnishings you need to look for to update your space.

Knowing where you want to end up is a great way to guide the choices you make now to update your space.

Design Update

Step 3: Start With One Main Focus

Don’t panic if your answer to the previous questions ended up being ‘everything needs updating’ or ‘more than one thing needs help.’ It’s natural for all the small things to pile up, but don’t let it distract you. Stay on track by laser-focusing on one problem that is most pertinent or has been persisting the longest.

If you’re focused on creating a better layout…

Try to discern if there’s a piece that’s currently throwing off the arrangement in your space and consider if it’s needed still or not.

It’s important to be honest with yourself here if a piece simply does not fit in with your space and is keeping you from achieving the ideal layout in your end goal – this could be a sofa that you’ve had forever but is just slightly too big, or chairs that have nowhere else to go in your home.

If you’re keen on updating your furniture…

But your sofa, armchairs, TV stand, and layout all need rethinking, start by figuring out how you can update the biggest item, which is often your sofa. Then use your sofa as guide to move on to the next big furniture problem.

In this instance, solve for your furniture first rather than trying to find the best sofa and create the best layout at the same time. This will help you slowly build towards your end goal for your space.

If you’re fine-tuning the style in a space…

Pick an aesthetic angle to help guide you. Color is often a great starting point here, so take a little time to land on a color palette that will provide the ambience you’re hoping to create in your space.

Step 4: Don’t Get Discouraged

At this point, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and distracted as one thing feels like it needs to work with another. Keep tackling one issue at a time and using each solution to inform your next decision.

Making long-term updates is a process, so it’s natural that things might not feel perfect right away. Keep at it and don’t get discouraged!

Design Update

Step 5: Continue With the One-By-One Approach

Eventually, you’ll have made some decisions about your space and have updated all and any big items.

Then, turn your focus to smaller problem areas or pieces and go through the same vetting process. This is where you might focus on pillows for the sofa or art for one wall or what goes on the coffee table.

Or perhaps you’re now figuring out where a chair might go; find a place for the chair and try it out before moving on. Gradually, your original vision for your room will begin to take shape.

Step 6: See It All Together Before Buying

Finally, it can help to see all your ideas come to life in your space, before you make the purchase plunge. This is also a great time to make sure measurements, sizing and style all come together for a cohesive look.

It can be helpful to moodboard your ideas or try a Modsy design package to see photo-real images of your designs in your exact room.

Making design updates is no simple feat, but with a starting point (and some patience) you can bring your updated vision to life over time.

Need help making design updates to your Space?

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5 Tips for Designing Your Living Room

 

We polled our Modsy Designers to get the inside scoop on their top five tips to make designing your living room a breeze.

1. Hone in on the primary use of the room

Will you use the space to hunker down and watch tv, host formal gatherings, or as a cozy spot to spend time with your family? Deciding how you want to use the room will help make deciding on the best layout and type of furniture much easier.

 

2. Arrange your furniture for conversation

The living room is often an important gathering point in the house. Arrange your furniture in a way that encourages interaction and conversation. Don’t be afraid to pull your chairs or sofa away from the wall.

 

3. Get smart with color

Color is one of the more powerful design tools at your disposal. If you want to make a statement, pick one bold move, like an accent wall or statement sofa, and keep the rest of your space more neutral. If you’re a little nervous about color, consider limiting bold hues to your accessories like pillows and art, which can be replaced more easily.

 

4. Play with textures

Whether you love a bold color or are more into neutrals, working with a variety of textures is a great way to add depth and sophistication to your space. Combine pieces like a chunky rug, a sheepskin throw, a velvet couch, and a leather chair for a look that’s layered and eye-catching.

 

5. Vary the scale

Don’t buy pieces that all have the same weight and height. If you have a large sofa, opt for an open base coffee table for balance. Try pairing lamps or side tables of different heights and styles for a more unique and less “matchy-matchy” feel.

 

Need help bringing your living room vision to life?

 

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Small-Space Hacks: Maximize the Living Room for Your Needs

In our “Small-Space Hacks” series, you’ll find stylish solutions for tiny spaces as well as tricky areas that often get overlooked in the home. Not your typical DIY projects, these “hacks” involve simply rethinking furniture with a little ingenuity to create spaces that enhance your daily life.

This week we show you great ways to make the most of a compact living room. Here are a few of our favorite tricks to turn your living room into a functional and inviting space that’s big on comfort and style.

Choose Flexible Furnishings

Furnishings that are flexible and versatile in use are great options for making the most out of smalls paces.

A good place to start is to ask yourself what you’ll be using your space for. Will you host friends and family visitors often? If so, consider a sleeper sofa that’s a stylish seat by day and a comfy bed at night.

If you live in a studio and want to divide up your small space, consider using a bookcase as a room divider.

Ottomans or stools also double as side tables, and poufs can work double-time as foot rests or extra seating.

 

Choose Smart Storage

Being strategic with your storage is essential in a small living space.

Bring in furnishings that incorporate storage, like a coffee table with drawers or tiered shelving, a trunk that can double as a side table, or ottomans that allow you to stow books, blankets, and other small accents within.

Moreover, take advantage of your walls (and save floor space) by adding shelving. Or, opt for a narrow bookcase that provides you with lots of vertical storage.

 

Choose Designs That Open Up Your Space

Another great trick for small space living is to incorporate furniture that is not only functional, but also makes your space look larger and more open.

Pieces with slender silhouettes and open bases are great choices to help minimize the visual clutter than can easily accumulate in small living rooms..

Sofas on tall, tapered legs create the illusion of an open and airy look, rather than heavy, dense options that sit directly on the floor. Likewise, chairs with open or slatted backs and tables with open bases, will provide the same sense of openness and give the illusion of more space in the room.

Choose Mirrored and Glass Accents

Play up the illusion of a large and open small living room by deploying a few mirrored pieces and glass-top tables.

Hanging a large mirror can help to expand the perspective in a small space and make the room seem more spacious. Try one above your sofa as a way to reflect more light through the room.

Glass-top tables also have a way of opening up a room. Consider a dining table with a glass surface, or even a coffee table option to keep your small space feeling light and airy.

 

Choose the Right Sized Rug

Finding a rug that is the right size for your small space is a surefire way to keep your space from appearing smaller and add major comfort.

Make sure to take measurements of your room, and avoid picking a rug that’s too big (it will overwhelm the space) or too small (it will look awkwardly out of place).

A good rule of thumb is to find a rug that can define your seating area—one that’s big enough for your coffee table to stand on top as well as the front legs of your sofa and chairs.

Need help making the most of your small living room?

 

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vintage pieces

5 Ways to Mix Vintage Pieces into Modern Spaces

Dear Modsy,

I’m a new homeowner in the process of designing my first place. I have a few antique and vintage pieces that I’d like to keep, but overall I’d like my new home style to look and feel modern. How can I mix these pieces in without it feeling like two conflicting styles?

Please help!

Sincerely,
Curious Collector

 

Dear Curious Collector,

We love the look of mixing vintage pieces into modern interiors. Vintage pieces are a great way to infuse your space with some old-world charm and texture, and make your home feel unique and full or character.

While we know it can be a challenge to imagine a vintage steamer trunk looking great with your modern sofa, we have a few tricks that will help.

So whether you’re in the market for some antiques or have a vintage piece you simply don’t know how to make work, here are a few easy, stylish ideas for combining vintage pieces with modern furnishings in your home.

 

vintage pieces

1. Mix in a Little Patina

The appeal of vintage pieces often comes from their timeworn look. These signs of age give vintage pieces their signature “patina,” and can work wonderfully to warm up a room that’s predominantly white or spare.

Pair with solid hues…

To strike a visual balance of old and new. For instance, the roughness of the old steamer trunk repurposed as a coffee table in this living room, is a stylish visual counterpoint to the clean-lined leather sofa.

Pair with soft textures…

To offset the aged look of a vintage piece, especially if it’s made of weathered wood or tarnished metals. Crisp pillows, shaggy rugs, and other rich textiles will help to soften the rough-hewn look of a vintage, patinaed piece.

 

vintage pieces

2. Consider Classic Furniture Details

Most antique furniture was constructed using traditional techniques, and their forms often reflect that craftsmanship. Think X-bases and ornately carved table legs. These classic design elements can add an eclectic vibe to a modern space.

Combine classic details with minimal designs…

To create contrast. In this dining area the carved antique table works perfectly with the minimal design of the console and round mirror. The idea is to contrast heft with lightness to create a balanced look for your space.

Combine classic details with curvy shapes…

To take the edge off classic antiques. While carved wood pieces provide a sophisticated note to a space, they can appear solid and rigid, like the dining table above. Round accents like the hanging pendant or the curving seat of the iconic Bertoia chairs, will help create a space where modern and traditional elements collaborate rather than clash.

 

vintage pieces

3. Work with Mid-Century Lines

There’s no shortage of gorgeous mid-century pieces in the market these days. Among vintage designs, these clean-lined pieces are great for mixing into modern spaces.

Mix mid-century with iconic designs…

For a distinctly contemporary look with an air of design sophistication. Here, the polished vintage desk is matched with the Modernist Ghost Chair, which shares its sleek lines and simple form with the desk.

Mix mid-century with brass…

To add a little modern glimmer. Many vintage pieces sport brass hardware, so try layering your vintage piece with even more brassy accents to tie the whole look together. Additionally, brass makes for an eye-catching and warm visual contrast to polished woods.

 

vintage pieces

4. Add a Statement Antique

If you’re looking to make a statement, opt for an antique or vintage piece that’s rich with history. Consider them conversation pieces that will stand out from the rest of your furnishings in any room.

Balance statement antiques with big pieces…

To match the grandeur of your vintage design. What contemporary designs may lack in history, they can still make up for in bold scale and style. The grandfather clock here is balanced by the green velvet sofa and the large-scale art that’s equally eye-catching.

Balance statement antiques with gold touches…

For a way to unify the old and the new. Gold accents, such as side tables or gilded frames, can be a great way to bridge antiques and modern furnishings – they have a way of making big antiques, like this grandfather clock, feel contextualized and they add a glamorous touch to the space. Try layering a few gold pieces in between your antiques and your modern pieces to create a cohesive look.

 

vintage pieces

5. Go Bold with Vintage Woods

Many large vintage pieces feel especially out-of-place in modern homes because of their dark wood (not to mention those ornate carved details). When it comes to big antiques, such as storage pieces, try pairing the bold with the bold.

Pair vintage woods with bright colors…

To offset the dark wood tones. Lighter hues and textiles with patterns can be a great counterpoint to vintage furniture in dark woods. For example, the dark-wood dresser in this bedroom blends beautifully against the marbled, blue wallpaper, for a look that’s modern, playful, and easy on the eyes.

Pair vintage woods with light upholstery…

To create a space that’s equally relaxed and refined. Upholstery, even in the form of a single chair, placed alongside a vintage dark wood piece can help to ease up its strong appearance. Try bringing in side chairs in bright fabrics or a light white upholstered seat that can easily be pulled up next to a dresser or a console for the perfect visual balance.

 

With Modsy, you can create a 3D model of any piece of furniture, like your vintage credenza, and we can help incorporate it into your design, no matter what your style.

Need help mixing in your vintage furniture?

 

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Layout Hacks: Our Favorite Tricks to Incorporate TV Viewing into any Living Room Layout

It’s a simple fact that for many of us, the main focal point in our living rooms is the television.

It’s also a fact that not all living rooms were designed with that purpose in mind. Some have fireplaces, floor-to ceiling windows, or strangely angled walls that don’t lend themselves nicely to a layout that makes watching TV comfortable.

So what’s a design-savvy, Netflix-binging person to do?

You don’t need to compromise between a space that looks nice and accommodates your favorite activities. To prove it, we pulled some of our favorite customer spaces to show off some of our favorite tips and tricks for TV-viewing layout solutions.

 

Use the back of your sofa to define the space

TV layout

Challenge: A living room that also serves as the entryway where people are constantly walking through on their way in and out.

Solve: Rather than placing the sofa against one wall and the TV against the other, try pulling the sofa several feet away from the wall, letting it float in the middle of the space. The back of the sofa can act like a wall, keeping the walkway behind it clear and creating an intimate living space for family time around the TV.

 

Try swivel chairs for an easy swap to TV-viewing

TV layout

Challenge: Finding a layout that allows you to enjoy the fireplace and watch TV, all without straining your neck.

Solve: Instead of facing your sofa towards the fireplace, try rotating your living room furniture 90 degrees. This makes for a great conversational area centered around the fireplace and lets the sofa face the TV, which is tucked out of the way, against the opposite wall.

Bonus: The two blue armchairs can swivel around, to face the TV, making for easy extra seating when guests are over.

 

Divide a large space into multiple zones

TV layout

Challenge: A large, open, and long living room that needs to accommodate multiple activities.

Solve: Rather than designing this room as one large living space, consider a layout that breaks up the room into two distinct areas – a formal living area and a more casual TV viewing space. A great way to visually separate the two “zones” is to use different area rugs. This will help the two spaces feel connected, yet distinct.

 

Place your TV next to the fireplace, on an angle

TV layout

Challenge: If you want to make your fireplace the focal point of the room, but also want to include a TV, you might think your only option is to mount your TV above the mantle.

Solve: A simple solve for this can be to place your TV at an angle on a credenza next to the fireplace. This allows you to enjoy both focal points, without the TV overwhelming the space.

 

Use your sofa to divide the space

TV layout

Challenge: Making an open floor work for multiple functions like a dining, living, and study space.

Solve: Use your sofa to divide an open space can be a great way to create separation between the different areas. Here, the sofa floats in the middle of the room, facing the only wall where a TV could be mounted and not block the windows. This allows for a small dining area behind the sofa and a desk by the windows.

 

Get creative and utilize nooks and crannies

TV layout

Challenge: An open living space with a lot of windows and no clear spot to place a TV.

Solve: Utilizing small nooks can be a great work-around for rooms with no obvious place for the TV. Rather than blocking a window, which can cause your TV to look backlit and block your view, try placing your TV in an otherwise un-utilized space, like this nook below the staircase.

 

Need help finding the best layout for your living room?

A Simple Solve for a Common Living Room Dilemma

For many homeowners, having a large living room can be a conundrum, especially when it comes to figuring out the best seating and furniture arrangement. And it often starts with where the sofa should be placed. Not surprising, given it’s the largest and most essential furniture piece in every living room.

It’s almost instinct to place a large-scale furniture piece, like a sofa, against a wall. It’s a practical approach that essentially helps guide where everything else in the room would go.

However, as this before-and-after scenario proves, there’s more you can do with a sofa than just pushing it up against a wall in a large living room—which ultimately results in a much more relaxed and welcoming space.

 

BEFORE: An Imbalanced Use of Space

Having your sofa against a wall is a great way to carve out an intimate seating area in a large room, but it also leaves a lot of underutilized space in the rest of the room.

In this living room, the sofa may be perfectly positioned against the wall, but everything else around the room feels out of place. There’s a lonely tall bookcase has no place to go but a wall in between two doorways, which feels random and out of place. Similarly, a large cabinet ends up blocking out half a window on the other side of the room because there’s no space for it anywhere else in the room. The result is a layout where the focus is on the sofa, but the rest of the room feels impractical and imbalanced.

AFTER: A Perfectly Welcoming, Multi-use Space

Consider floating your sofa in the middle of a large room rather than placing it against the wall instead. Designers often float a sofa as a way to create a room within a room, to delineate different areas in a large space, or simply to center the focus. If your large room features architectural elements like a fireplace, you can use it as a visual starting point to inform your sofa placement—either one opposite the mantel or two perpendicular to it.  

Additionally, if you want to formalize your living room, floating your sofa will give it an elevated look, as it helps establish the room as a dedicated place for lounging and conversation.

This Layout Works Because….

 

It Takes Advantage of the Fireplace

For any living, family, or sitting room where there is a fireplace in the middle (or designated spot for your TV), floating your sofa opposite it will help to centralize the layout. Here, the fireplace and the sofa immediately establish a sense of welcoming balance in the room and create a centralized focal point.

It Opens up the Flow of the Room

By floating your sofa, you’ll have a much better flow in a large living room and there will be no awkward unused areas. The arrangement allows you to create other smaller vignettes, such as a wall lined with tall bookshelves or a reading corner by the window, as seen in the layout on the right. It also provides you with more room to walk around the furniture and the space, so you can easily move from one area to another. Think of the sofa in the middle of the room here as the one piece that unifies the overall space.

It Makes Better Use the Walls

Before, the large cabinet in the room was relegated to a space that blocked one of the windows. By floating the sofa in the room, it opens up the entire wall space for a storage and display area that can even accommodate an additional bookshelf, creating a symmetrical arrangement. Unlike the lower-profile sofa, these tall bookcases help to fill out the large empty walls given their height and draw the eye up.

It Creates Space to Lounge

By floating your sofa in the center of the room, it also frees you up to spread out your seating to create mini lounge areas. Previously, this armchair was placed in a cramped spot in the seating area. In this new arrangement the chair can be pulled up to a window to become its own independent reading nook.

Want help finding the ideal layout for your space?

 

Skimp or Splurge: 4 Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Rug

Modsy 3d

If you are in the process of designing your home, you might have discovered the dirty word that is “budget.” Furniture is expensive, and the reality of designing a home (without spending a small fortune) often means making trade-offs. One of our stylists’ favorite tricks for designing quality spaces on a limited budget is to use a mix of budget-friendly and investment pieces.

In our new “Skimp or Splurge” series, we’ll tackle different items from sofas to storage, and show you how to decide where to spend and where to save your money.

This week we’re taking on the question of rugs. Available in an impossibly wide range of prices, it can be difficult to know how to choose an option that is right for you. We asked our stylists how they decide when to splurge and when to save on rugs.

1. What do you want from your rug?

The main difference between an 8’x10’ rug that costs $300 and one that costs a month’s mortgage payment is quality. High-quality rugs have a richness of color and a plush texture, and they can last you a decade or more if you care for them properly. Low-cost rugs, on the other hand, will fade and pill quickly and need to be replaced more frequently.

If you are working with a tight budget, but don’t want to completely skimp on quality, consider a flat-woven rather than a tufted rug. Flat-woven rugs tend to be available in larger sizes at lower price-points, and their tight weave renders them more durable.

Stylist Tip: With so many options on the market today, you don’t have to sacrifice style for budget. Our stylists can recommend budget-friendly rug options that work for your space and style.

2. What’s your timeline?

As with any big ticket furniture item, how long you plan to live somewhere is an important factor to consider before making a purchase.

If your living situation is temporary, you might consider skimping and going with a cheap option. If you’re settled down or plan to live in the same place long-term, investing in a quality rug makes more sense.

Also consider that rugs, unlike other pieces of bulky furniture, are relatively easy to move. They can be rolled up making them much easier to transport and store. Unlike other items, if you get tired of seeing your rug in the living room, it can be repurposed in another room.

3. What room will the rug be in?

Where you plan to place the rug is also an important factor to think about when considering whether to invest or save your money. Ask yourself if the room where you plan to use the rug will get a lot of foot traffic.

A place like your entryway might not make the most sense for an investment rug as it is more likely to get stomped on and worn down from heavy use. Conversely, your living room or bedroom might be a great place for an investment rug.

Stylist Tip: Also consider if you are a shoes-on household. Habits like these are difficult to break (especially if you live with other people) so consider how your lifestyle might affect the lifetime of your rug when deciding if it is better to skimp or splurge.

4. Do you have kids or pets?

Often people say they don’t want to invest in a rug because their kids and pets are prone to messes. One way to confront this conundrum is to go with a lower cost rug that you won’t miss when it gets destroyed. However, this approach might cost you more in the long run, as cheap rugs tend to fall apart quicker and are often made of materials that absorb stains easily.

Rather than replacing a $200 rug every six months, consider investing in a high-quality rug that can stand up to the messes and won’t get destroyed immediately by your children or furry friends. Natural fibers can be a great option, as they are sturdy and are easy to clean.

If you have young children, also consider that cheap rugs are often made of synthetic materials, which can be potentially toxic. If you have a little one who is an avid crawler, it might be worth investing in a high-quality rug that is free of toxic protectants and fire retarding chemicals.

 

Want to Try a Rug in Your 3D Home?

 

The Design Struggle is Real: 4 Steps to Making Your Pinterest Boards a Reality

When you begin a home design project, the first thing most people do is scour Pinterest and design blogs for inspiration. But often, before you know it, you have hundreds of ideas and images, but no clue how to translate them to real life.

How do you avoid getting overwhelmed by inspiration for your home design project? Here are 4 steps to getting unstuck and translating your Pinterest boards to reality.

Step #1: Filter your inspiration

Open your home design Pinterest board, look at the individual images you’ve saved, and ask yourself “What about this image do I like?”

  • If you like the furniture, keep it.
  • If you like the layout, keep it.
  • If you like the architecture or the physical room, get rid of it.

The Point: Don’t get stuck on details that you cannot replicate in your own home. If what you’re really lusting over is the beautiful lighting and floor to ceiling windows, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed in what you can achieve.

Your Deliverable: A new Pinterest or inspiration board with only images that reflect specific items or styles that you like.

 

Step #2: Consider your lifestyle

So many great home design ideas look beautiful in a photo, but don’t translate to real life. Take another look through this new board of inspirational images and ask yourself, “Would I actually want to live here?”

**And if you have a partner, or kids, or pets, include them too! Consider if everyone would enjoy floral wallpaper or if you really want to try and keep a white sofa clean.

  • If you answer yes, keep it.
  • If you answer no, nix it.

The Point: You shouldn’t have to change your lifestyle to have a well designed home. Clear away the inspiration that looks nice but isn’t realistic for you, and instead, focus on ideas that will work for your real life and look great.

Your Deliverable: An edited Pinterest or inspiration board with ideas that will agree with and enhance your lifestyle.

 

Step #3: Look for patterns

Now you are left with only the good stuff to inspire you. These ideas will be much easier to act on because they reflect the your needs for real life. Give these images a good look and make note of a few things.

Are there any patterns you can see in the images you are saving? Look for repeating things like…

  • Color schemes
  • Materials
  • Styles of furniture
  • Layout ideas

The Point: Identifying these patterns will help you define the style and look of your ideal space. You are now armed with valuable information that you can act on and translate to your real home.

Your Deliverable: A list of tangible things like colors, materials, and styles that you like and want to bring to life in your space.

 

Step #4: Make it happen

Now that you have a curated board of inspiration you can act on, it’s time to start fitting the pieces together and design your space.

Here’s a few ways to get started:

  • Google the terms you identified and start finding furniture that fits the style you want.
  • Take your curated inspiration board to your favorite retailer. You can use it like you would a grocery list, and compare it to the items they have in store or online.
  • If you want to get some help from the professionals, most retailers provide some design assistance help that you can work with. Or purchase a Modsy design package and send a link to your inspiration board which our stylists can use to help guide the design and layout of your space.

The Point: Don’t get stuck in the inspiration loop. It’s time to stop getting inspired and start getting stuff done.

Your Deliverable: A shopping list or game plan that puts your ideas into actions.

 

Need help translating your Pinterest board to reality?

 

August Q&A: Your Design Questions Answered

You asked so many great questions this month. Here are our top picks, answered.

Small Space Living

I just moved to an apartment in New York City and had to downsize drastically. I’ve cleared out of a lot of stuff, but I find my space just looks stuffed full. Do you have any design tips for small spaces?

 

There’s no room for clutter when you’re working with minimal square footage! Rather than adding more storage or throwing all your belongings away, rethink the pieces inside your small space.

  • Stay in the Clear: Create the illusion of an uncluttered space by subbing in glass-top furniture. Hang a mirror for another great way to bounce light around your small space and keep it feeling open and airy.
  • Sneak in Storage: Look for dual-purpose furniture that keeps its day job and moonlights as an extra place to stash your belongings – like a bookcase in place of a nightstand or a coffee table with interior storage.
  • Get Leggy: Opt for furniture with legs. Especially with larger items like a sofa, pieces elevated on legs create a sense of openness versus the bulky look of items plopped directly on the floor.

inspiration overload

I’ve spent the past few month gathering inspiration for my bedroom redesign and thought I had so many great ideas. I now have 50+ Pinterest boards that I love, but I feel like I am drowning in inspiration. How can I translate my favorite pins to my real-life space?

 

When you embark on a home design project, it is easy to get stuck in an endless cycle of inspiration. Constantly looking at images of beautiful homes and comparing them to yours, can even become discouraging. Use these tricks to help switch your brain from inspiration mode to execution mode.

  • Ditch Unrealistic Expectations: Don’t fall into the trap of beautiful lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows. Consider the environment along with the actual furniture in the image. Which are you really lusting over?
  • Move from Inspiration to Aspiration: Take a good look at those hundreds of inspiring home design images and ask yourself what about this image do you like? Would you actually want to live here with your kids and pets? Your answers can help you weed out the purely inspirational images and start thinking about what you actually want in your home.
  • Find the Common Threads: Now do a scan of the remaining pins. Look for patterns in what you are saving – any trends in color schemes, materials, furniture styles that you seem consistently drawn to. Identifying these patterns arms you with information you can act on and start translating to your real space.

designing a room from scratch

I just moved into a new home and am staring at my empty living room with no idea where or how to start. I have so many ideas, but I just feel paralyzed. How do I overcome this and actually start doing something with my space?

 

We know that designing a room, or an entire home, from scratch can be a challenge. Like a blank canvas, your new space is full of possibilities – exciting! But that also means you will have to make lots of decisions, which can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

  • Get Inspired: The first step to your design project will likely be gathering inspiration. Before you dive head-first into Pinterest, take a step back and think about how you want to use the space. If you’re not sure what your style is, take the Modsy Style Quiz. Use the results to guide your search for products that will compliment your tastes and lifestyle.
  • Lay it Out: Once you have an idea of the kind of style and products you want in the room, start considering your layout options. The best time to plan a layout is before you’ve made any purchases – this is your opportunity to explore if you really want a sectional, or if a sofa will work better and leave room for the reading nook you’ve always wanted. At this point it can be helpful to have a sandbox, like the Modsy 3D Style Editor, to let you try out all your options before you make any commitments.
  • Build a Foundation: Just as you wouldn’t buy an outfit around a pair of socks, don’t begin designing an empty room around the details. Now that you have a layout and some style inspiration, you can start to look for furniture that fits (physically and aesthetically) into your plan. Once you’ve nailed down the larger pieces, you can begin to think about layering in accent furniture and accessories.

Merging design styles

My partner and I are finally moving in together and I couldn’t be happier. We were both so excited until I realized we’d have to somehow stuff our two very different styles into one space. How do we design our home together without one of us hating it or both of us going insane?

 

First, you should know that you are not alone! This is one of the greatest, yet most unanticipated challenge couples moving in together face. Moving in with a significant other is a big life event, so it’s understandable that it might stir up some anxiety. Before you spend a miserable afternoon fighting over a rug in IKEA, take a step back and consider the bigger picture.

  • Make a Game Plan: Before you get caught up in the design details, have a conversation with your partner about what each of you value in your home. What do you want to use the space for? What are your must-haves and your hard-nos? And where are you willing to compromise? Hash out these details first and find the points that you both agree on. Then begin to make style choices together that lead you toward this common goal for your home.
  • Explore Your Styles: The first thing we recommend to couples is that they take the Modsy Style Quiz together. Understanding each other’s tastes can help you think about how to merge them together into one look (yes, we promise it is possible!).
  • Show off Your Ideas: Create a visual representation of your ideas to show your partner, be that a Modsy rendering of your actual home, a moodboard, or ordering fabric samples and paint swatches. Visualizing your ideas can help you both make more confident design choices, before making any purchases.

 

 

Need help sorting out your design struggle?

 

Is an Upholstered Bed Right for You?

When it comes to investment pieces for your home, few get as personal as your bed. Finding a bed that suits your style and needs is important, given it’s where you start and end your days.

If you are looking for a new place to catch some z’s, you might be considering an upholstered bed. And while some people love how they provide major comfort and style, others find upholstered beds to be high-maintenance and difficult to keep clean and dust-free.

So, is an upholstered bed the bed for you? Read on to learn more about this luxurious piece and why it may or may not be right for you.

 

Upholstered Bed

Consider…

If it fits into your sleep routine.

Do you watch TV or read in bed at night? If so, upholstered beds with a tall headboard are perfectly designed to provide you with a cushioned support and cultivate a cozy feeling in your bedroom.

Conversely, if your bedroom tends to get warm and humid in the evenings, an upholstered bed covered in absorbent fabric may not be the best option. Your bed is meant to add comfort to your daily life, so make sure it suits your sleep routine and lifestyle.

If you’re up for the upkeep.

Because an upholstered bed is covered in fabric, dents and impressions can develop overtime with use. It’s recommended that you clean an upholstered bed with a handheld vacuum once a week to keep dust at bay.

If you’re one to read in bed and lean against your headboard daily, you may also have to deal with potential grease spots. One solution is to spot clean on a regular basis, but if that sounds like too much maintenance for you, consider opting for a wood or metal bed frame instead.

 

If you have cats or dogs or both…

An upholstered bed may not be the best option for you pet owners out there. Hair from your furry friends will likely get stuck on the fabric, which may also tear from clawing. If you’re a proud pet owner set on an upholstered bed, pick a microfiber option as it’s easiest to clean.

If you’re allergic to dust…

You may want to consider the upholstered bed more carefully. While the standard fabric options are usually more cost-effective, if left unattended they are susceptible to dust mites, which can irritate adults and children with allergies. Keep this in mind especially if you’re considering an upholstered bed for a child’s room.

If you’re set on an upholstered bed, consider other materials such as leather, a tightly woven textile, or a “performance” fabric option. These will help keep dust from penetrating into the bed, while also giving you the upholstered look you want.

 

If you have a small space.

While upholstered beds come in a range of sizes, their thick padding tends to take up more square footage than a slender wood or metal frame. For a small bedroom, an upholstered bed could result in a tight space with narrow walkways. If you must, choose one in white or soft gray to minimize the visual impact.

If you’re looking for some color.

Upholstered beds come in hues that are highly versatile, such as gray, cream, or blue. These colors pair beautifully with a wide range of accents, metals, and finishes. These palettes are also ideal if you’re going for a calming bedroom atmosphere that’s not void of color.

Of course, upholstered beds are offered in more vibrant fabric colors as well if you’re one for a bold look. Either way, an upholstered bed can ultimately function like a piece of art that can help add color to your walls as well as soften the linear angles of your space.

 

If you want to make a statement.

Without a doubt, an upholstered bed is guaranteed to be the most captivating centerpiece in any bedroom. From platform styles, to swooping sleigh beds, to winged headboards, an upholstered bed in any shape is guaranteed to make your room feel tailored and sophisticated.

 

Curious what an upholstered bed looks like in your space?

Try It In Your 3D Bedroom

A Room With Many Uses: How to Design (and Redesign) a Space Over Time

guest roomDear Modsy,

I recently moved into a new home and have an extra room that I don’t quite know what to do with. My partner and I hope that it will eventually become our nursery, but that is a few years out. Right now we would love a home office, but we don’t want to invest a lot of time and money and have to start all over.

How can we design the space for our lives right now, knowing that we will likely need to change it up in a few years? Please help!

Sincerely,
Time-Traveling Home Designer

 

Dear Time-Traveler,

If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that life is full of changes. We believe that designing your home shouldn’t be a one-and-done situation, but rather a process that can evolve over time and grow along with your lifestyle.

As your needs change over time, that one random room you used as a home office might transform itself into something new, like a nursery. And while this is exciting it can also be stressful. We can help make this process a little easier by planning for the future while designing for the present.

 

Step 1: Right Now

Start by designing the space you need right now, be that a craft room, a home gym, or an office space. If this is a space you plan to stay in, we recommend opting for a mix of investment pieces and items that get the job done for now.

Think about what will stay in the room long-term:

  • A rug… might seem like an easy place to cut costs, but a high-quality piece will last you years. If you’re planning have a rug in this space for a  think about investing in a high quality rug that can last over time.
  • Storage… is always in demand, so investing in a bookcase or other storage option is always a safe bet.

Think about what you just need right now:

  • A desk chair… might not be the place to invest if you’re planning to transform your home office into a new space in a few years. A great alternative option is to use a dining chair instead. Use it as an extra (matching) seat at the dinner table in a pinch, and easily return it to your dining room when you are ready to repurpose your office into something else.
  • Accessories… are always great ways to add personality to a space. If you plan on refreshing the space in a few years, opt for more budget-friendly finds that you won’t feel bad about swapping out when the time comes.

 

Step 2: Making Some Changes

Congratulations, it’s time to transform this space into a nursery for your little bundle of joy! Don’t sweat the details, we know that not everyone has the time or resources to completely start from scratch. That’s ok! Repurpose the investment pieces from your office and look for new pieces that will work beyond the baby days.

Here’s where to start:

  • A dresser… with a changing table topper is a great option if you are looking for pieces with longevity.
  • A crib… that converts into a toddler bed is also a great way to stretch your budget to cover more than a few months.

 

Step 3: Think Long-Term

Whether it’s a big kid room, a guest room, or back to an office, down the line you can still use the same investment pieces to transform the extra room into something else.

What to consider:

  • A Sofa Bed… is a great space-saving option that gives you the flexibility of using the extra room as a space for guests, but also lets you use it in other ways. Turn it into a craft room, a workout space, or even back into a home office, but quickly transform it back into a bedroom when guests visit or the kids come home for the holidays.
  • The Same Rug… that you invested in before. If you are deciding whether to skimp or splurge, think about how you will use the space. If this is a high-traffic area, maybe a cheaper option makes more sense in the short-term. If not, maybe spending a little extra now is the better option to save you more in the long-term.
  • That Dresser… without the changing table topper. Remove that piece and you are left with a quality dresser that will last you years. Great storage pieces, dressers can be used in many spaces, not just bedrooms. Consider repurposing it as storage for a craft room or guest space. You can even swap your credenza for a dresser in the living room.

However you decide to use this room, you now have some great pieces to use as the building blocks of any space.

 

 

Need a hand designing for now and later?

 

You Finally Have a Dining Room. Now What?

While the kitchen may be the heart of the home, a dining room, if you love to entertain, is a luxury.

At Modsy, we often get requests from homeowners that have moved from a small house or apartment into one that has a dedicated dining area for entertaining friends and family. It’s a space that can feel unfamiliar, which makes it especially challenging to figure out where to start when decorating. After all, the dining room is a space that should feel comfortable but also stylish enough to host parties and family holidays.

Use this guide to help you navigate all the key decisions to design your perfect dining room.

 

Deciding on Your Perfect Table

Before looking at all your dining table options, consider how you want to use the space. Will you host casual weekend dinners with friends or big holiday gatherings with family? Your entertaining style should be the starting point for informing the type of dining table you require.

For keeping it casual…

A long communal farmhouse table is great for its versatility—it can host big groups, function as a work surface, and it can also be dressed up with a tablecloth for formal occasions. Its natural wood tones make for a great foundation for choosing chairs and other decor to match.

For making it formal…

Try a round pedestal table, which will immediately conjure up classic, elegant appeal. One with extendable leaves will provide the flexibility for entertaining large crowds. A small round bistro table is also a stylish and space-saving option if you have less square-footage to work with.

 

Bringing in Good Seating

Comfort is key when it comes to choosing dining chairs and seating options. You want to ensure your guests feel relaxed and at ease during long meals. There’s no right or wrong, but look to the design details of your dining table as a guide for your seating (think tapered legs that coordinate, natural materials that complement each other, etc.)

If you want a casual mix…

Try pulling up a bench alongside a matching set of chairs for an easy-going eclectic look. This is a great way to incorporate flexible seating that is also kid-friendly.

If you want a chic grouping…

You can’t go wrong with a sophisticated set of matching chairs. Consider how the details will pair with your table and work from there—exposed wooden legs, a simple silhouette, neutral upholstery with tufting on the back. This works especially well if you’ve opted for a round table.

 

Choosing Rug or No Rug

Placing a rug underneath your table can help to ground and delineate your dining area, especially in an open living space. Even in a dedicated dining room, it can add stylish focus—just make sure your chair legs all stay on the rug, even when they’re pulled out. On the other hand, if you have beautiful wood floors to show off (or messy kids who love spaghetti), you may want to skip the rug altogether.

Try a sturdy rug…

In a natural fiber, such as jute or sisal, which are built to withstand foot traffic and wear and tear. If you use your dining room for both everyday and formal occasions, these are stylish workhorses that can go well with a range of decor.

Try a low-pile rug…

Such as a flat-weave or a kilim, if natural-fiber rugs is not your style. Low-pile rugs are the opposite of ones that are shaggy and fluffy, meaning they’ll be much more practical in an entertaining space as well as easy to clean with a vacuum.

 

Add Multiple Light Sources

Once you have your foundational pieces—table, chairs, rug—it’s time to make sure your room has good lighting. Most homes come with a simple overhead fixture that is usually far from sufficient. Additionally, the shapes and designs are less than spectacular. Approach choosing overhead lighting for your dining room like art—it should be bright and sculptural.

Switch in a pendant…

That has more than just one bulb as the light source. Many designs provide sputnik-style as well as multi-light constructions that can help bring both brightness and sculptural appeal to the space above your table. A chandelier also provides the same effect.

Switch it up with sconces…

These wall hanging fixtures are worth the hassle and investment. They add the perfect ambient lighting and they can be spread around a room. New designs even offer sconces with plugs, which means they can be easily installed no matter your space. Try to match the materials and styles of your sconces to your overhead fixture.

 

Creating Various Focal Points

No dining room is complete without a few stylish focal points. Be it a bar, an etagere, a console, or an oversize mirror or piece of art, there should be a range of intriguing spaces to look to within any dining room.

In a large space…

Bring in a credenza or a pair of etageres to fill with bowls, plates, linens, and other china for a fabulous display. Round it out with other books, vases, and other colorful accents. Or try turning an open-base console into a bar and stowing a pair of ottomans underneath—perfect if you need extra seating in a pinch.

In a small space…

An oversize piece of art or a statement mirror can really set any compact dining space apart. Just as they do in large spaces, they captivate the eye but also help to warm up your small space. Mirrors, in particular, will help to reflect light and give the illusion of more space and ceiling height.

 

Need more dining room advice?