9 Common Design Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make (and How to Avoid Them)

So, you just bought your first home. Congratulations! This is a major step and commitment—especially if you’re someone who historically moves once a year into a new apartment! While there are so many joys when it comes to home ownership, there are also a lot of challenges, especially in the design process. And plenty of mistakes to be made!

While new home design mistakes are par for the course, we surveyed our network expert designers to share some of the most common design mistakes first-time home buyers make so that we can save you some grief! They shared some amazing interior design ideas, with tips on how to avoid these common design mistakes.

Read on for 9 new home design mistakes and tips on how to avoid them!

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Don’t: Buy All of Your Furniture at Once

When you move from an apartment to a house, you’ll likely have a lot more space to fill—and with that comes a need for more furniture. But fight the urge to buy new furniture all at once! You don’t need to buy everything you want or need in one trip to the store or even one week!

When you rush to fill up and furnish your space, you may find that you buy pieces of furniture just to have it instead of taking the time to find stuff you really want and love. Plus, it helps to take some time to acquaint yourself with your new space so you can really discover what you need. (You might be surprised to discover that something you thought you needed right when you moved in doesn’t feel as necessary a month or two later!) “People often don’t think of furniture as an investment, but if they did they could get pieces that are more durable and would last them longer,” says Modsy Designer Katelin Rae S.

Do: Methodically Plan Out Your Furniture Needs

Prioritize the essentials—like a bed, dresser, sofa, and coffee table—and then save for or plan out the other pieces like accent furniture, decor, and textiles. Modsy designer Rebecca S. also recommends decorating with future plans in mind. If you and your partner just bought your first home but plan on having kids in a couple of years, think kid-friendly when it comes to sofas and chairs! Need a little extra guidance? Check out our new home furniture buying guide. Our series of interior design buying guides will also help you as you look for specific pieces of furniture or look to design specific rooms throughout your home!

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Don’t: Buy a Full Matching Set of Furniture

When outfitting your living room or bedroom, buying matching sets of furniture may seem tempting. It’s easy, since you can buy everything you need all at once and know that it matches, minimizing the design choices you have to make. But a full set of matching furniture can make a room look generic at best and cheap at worst due to the lack of variety in texture, color, and style. And sets are often on the larger size, so a full set may feel cramped in the average living room or bedroom.

Do: Buy One Piece at a Time

Buying furniture pieces one by one assures you’re getting what works for your needs, your style, and your space. It also gives a room a more polished and curated look—as opposed to it looking like you just walked into a furniture store. So, instead of buying a full set, start with the major pieces of furniture (a sofa in the living room and a bed in the bedroom), then build out pieces from there. However, don’t be afraid to buy a matching set of nightstands, end tables, or even accent chairs if you like a symmetrical look! A pair of something can be quite nice—just avoid a full matching room. If you’re not sure where to start in the furniture design process, our room checklists will guide you through the essentials, along with the furniture and decor that will help take your room’s design to the next level!

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Don’t: Immediately Make Big Decisions

It’s quite common to buy a home and want to make some updates or design changes right away so that your new space better aligns with your personal style. Whether that’s changing out light fixtures, painting the walls, or just buying new furniture, it’s tempting to dive right in. But we recommend taking a bit of time—even just a week or two—to live in your new house before making any big decisions or design choices. This gives you time to live with the flow of your home, assess your needs, and establish your style within the home will save you from making costly mistakes!

Modsy Designer Katie W. says she sees a lot of people immediately buying new sofas for their new homes without planning. “So many people end up with a sofa that’s too big or doesn’t fit with their other pieces. Or they quickly decide it’s ugly or not durable enough for their lifestyle.” So, don’t rush into a whole new look without thinking it through and seeing how the home will come together as a whole.

Do: Take Time to Live in Your Home Before Making Big Purchases and Changes

Take your time making big decisions—especially large furniture purchases or changes like painting the walls or updating the flooring. (More on painting next!) Spend time in your new house to see how you use it, learn the natural light patterns, discover how you navigate the space, and even where you spend the most time. This will help guide your big decisions and prioritize any changes or updates you want to make!

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Don’t: Paint Right Away

Many people want to paint the walls of their new house right away—or even before they move in. And we get it. From a practical standpoint, it’s much easier to paint an empty room, and fresh paint gives you a lovely backdrop when settling into your home. But when you do this, you lose the opportunity to get to know how the natural light plays in your home and how that can impact the way paint colors look in your space.

The thing is, paint color can look great in the morning light—but by late afternoon, it might have a totally different tint because of the way the natural light looks in your space. Plus, did you know that what’s outside of your windows, like a wooded backyard or the neighbor’s house, can impact the way colors look inside your house? A backyard full of greenery can cast a green hue on your interior walls and floor. And a neighbor’s sunny yellow house can give everything a yellow tint. There’s no way of knowing what those factors will be without living in your home for a bit!

Do: Take Time to Understand Your Home’s Lighting

Take at least a week to see how the natural light looks in your home throughout the day. Spend time observing the morning, afternoon, and evening light—as well as any light reflections from outside or from other flooring or fixtures in your space. From there, you can decide on paint colors for the rooms in your home that not only look good from room to room and create a beautiful color story in your home but that take into account these outside factors.

And you don’t have to take months and months on these observations. A week will do just fine! And then you can move forward with painting to your heart’s content! (Bonus: moving usually results in at least a few scuffed walls—so waiting to paint will save you from those pesky touch-ups!)

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Don’t: Rush into Un-Researched DIYs

We know we already said not to make any big decisions right away—but we’re going to reiterate our point specifically for DIY-ers: Don’t rush into un-researched DIYs! It may be tempting to rip out dated kitchen cabinets the first day you move in, but chances are this will result in some headaches and mistakes! Plus, there’s a good portion of the population that loves starting a project. But finishing it? Not so much. When you rush into a DIY project, you’re more likely to make a good start but then put it to the side when life gets busy, which can make the project go on for months without finishing it!

Do: Have a Plan

Rather than rushing in, live in your space for a while to get an idea about what you want, what you need, and what’s realistic to do yourself versus what you should hire out. Take time to research your DIYs before starting them to make sure you have everything you need, and then budget more time and money than you think you need! Having a plan the whole way through will help you see it through from beginning to end. (Are you starting to sense a theme in all of these mistakes and tips? It’s all about taking your time!)


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Don’t: Push All Your Furniture Against the Wall

Ok, this isn’t a mistake that only first-time homebuyers make—this is one that people across the board struggle with! Many people have the instinct, when arranging furniture, to push everything against the wall. While this isn’t a cardinal sin, in many spaces the layout will look better with some furniture pulled away from the wall. (Also called “floating” your furniture.)

The thing is, pushing all of your furniture against the wall can make it feel thrown together, like you just shoved the furniture into the space. Contrary to popular belief, this can also actually make a room feel smaller! You might think that leaving as much open floor space as possible in the center of the room will open the space up, but a room full of furniture-lined walls actually visually shrinks a room. So, even floating a sofa six inches away from the wall creates some visual breathing room.

“I’ve had several interactions with clients who see a blank space and think they need to push all of the furniture against a wall—especially a sofa. But ‘floating’ a sofa can often create a more successful floor plan,” says Hope C., Modsy designer. “And adding a console behind it actually gives you additional surface and storage space!”

Do: Get Creative With Your Layout

Don’t be afraid to try a few different layouts after you move into your new home! Moving is overwhelming, and many people end up just leaving furniture where the movers put it. Instead, try moving stuff around and take a few chances. Even if it seems like a certain arrangement won’t work, give it a shot—it might actually look good! In a large living room, especially, it helps to float furniture so the seating zones can feel cohesive and feel balanced. Check out our layout guides for some creative layout ideas for bedrooms and living spaces.

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Don’t: Fill Every Corner of Your House with Furniture

When you have more space to feel, many people’s instinct is to fill every corner. But when it comes to good interior design practices, it’s actually best to leave some breathing room. Filling every corner and empty wall with furniture, art, photos, and decor can make a space feel suffocated and small.

Social media can leave you with a lot of pressure to make your home picture-perfect within a week of moving in. But over-filling your home just to make it feel “finished” so you can post photos will just result in you feeling like there is too much clutter later on, and you’ll end up having to edit down your possessions. So, save yourself some time down the road and keep your furniture and decor edited from the get-go!

Do: Leave Negative Space and Breathing Room

This might not seem intuitive—but negative space and empty walls can look just as intentional as designed spaces. In fact, it helps a room’s design to build in some breathing room. So, even if you’re a maximalist, not every space and corner of your home needs to be maxed out. When designing your new home, take your time. Assess what you really need, and then plan out your furniture and decor.

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Don’t: Neglect Designing Private Spaces

When designing a new house, many people prioritize their living rooms, entryways, and dining rooms first. And that makes sense—these are the “public” areas of your home, where you host guests and the spaces where you tend to spend most of your waking hours. So, it’s natural to want to fix up those spaces first! But once these spaces are finished, many homeowners end up feeling burnt out and don’t have enough energy (or budget) left for “private” spaces like bedrooms, home offices, or bathrooms. But these are very important spaces in your home to design!

Do: Design Your Bedroom Early

Instead of spending all your creative energy on your living room, entryway, and dining room, save a bit of time, energy, and money for your own personal spaces—especially our bedroom. Might we even suggest prioritizing these spaces and working on them first?? We’ve seen way too many clients design beautiful living rooms while their bedrooms are filled with mismatched furniture and boxes. The way we see it, designing your perfect bedroom, bathroom, and home office is actually a form of self-care! These rooms give you a space to retreat to and enjoy. In fact, working on your bedroom first will actually help rejuvenate you as you tackle other rooms in your home. Think of it as taking care of yourself so you can take care of others!

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Don’t: Keep Old Furniture Just Because You Have It

Buying a home is no small financial feat. And after closing costs and moving, you may feel like you don’t have money in the budget for new furniture. So, you keep using that dresser you got at a garage sale in college, the sofa you thrifted in your mid-20s, and the bedframe you bought from IKEA. That works for a while—but Modsy designer Rebecca S. says she sees a lot of clients who have held onto secondhand and cheap furniture they acquired during their college years—even when their budget allowed an upgrade. Because, why replace it if you already have it and it works just fine? The answer: because you deserve better.

The reality is, the furniture you bought in college or for your first apartment has probably seen better days. Some pieces may even be beyond redemption—but you’ve gotten so used to seeing it in your space, you don’t realize how dilapidated it really is. Lack of comfort aside (because that sofa from your 20s really isn’t that comfortable), a mismatched collection of old furniture can cheapen the look of your beautiful new home. It may even make it seem like you haven’t developed the more refined taste that we know you have!

Do: Give Yourself a Fresh Start

Rather than holding onto all those old pieces, give yourself a fresh start in your new house. Get rid of your old college furniture for high-quality pieces that will last and are reflective of your personal style. It likely won’t happen all at once—so you may have to live in the “in-between” time for a while. But it will be so worth it to give yourself the gift of a home that’s beautiful and thoughtfully designed!

Want some help designing your new home?

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New Build Decor Tips: 6 Ways to Give a New Build House Personality

Moving into a new home is a big step. It’s exciting to think about all the ways you’ll decorate the home. But it can also be a challenge, especially if it’s a new build home.

With a new build property, the challenge is it’s generally made to appeal to a wide range of tastes so it can feel a little cookie-cutter, or even bland. On the flip side, there’s no better blank canvas for decorating than a new construction home that already has modern amenities built-in.

For many people, the first instinct is often not to add or change too many things that don’t feel in line with their new home, in case it “messes things up.” But adding furniture and decor that shows off your personality and changing things up to suit your lifestyle and taste is exactly what you want to do to make the space your own.

For inspiration and a little guidance, we’ve rounded up some tips for adding personality and character when decorating a new build home. Scroll for our new build house decor tips and how to work them into your space.

Just moved and need help finding the right furniture? Check out our new home furniture buying guide or connect with us and get help from our Modsy designers through online interior design.

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1. Decorate With Antiques

The most common challenge with any new build home is they often feel glossy and almost too perfectly polished. If you like the modern and contemporary look, play it up and go for decor in those styles, but if it’s not your aesthetic, don’t feel boxed in by the home’s style.

Just because your home is new doesn’t mean your furnishings have to be. The best way to inject your own personality into the space is by contrasting all the ‘newness’ with furniture and decor in different design styles.

Try decorating a new build home with antiques and various vintage-style pieces that give your space a lived-in, collected feel. You can go big with a vintage sofa and a large antique chandelier, or if you want elements of the vintage look you can keep to smaller accents, such as weathered-wood side tables, a collection of flea-market objects, or a vintage painting or print.

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2. Avoid Matchy-Matchy

Buying a boxed set of furniture is an easy way to outfit a space, but it can sometimes leave your home feeling even more cookie-cutter. So as a rule of thumb, we like to skip the matching furniture sets and instead buy individual pieces when decorating a new build home.

It’s all about mixing without matching. Think the marble-and-brass side table with the slipcovered sofa, the sheepskin on top of a vintage rug, or the black leather armchair alongside the classical painting. The result will be spaces that have more character and a collected look. If matching furniture is your thing, try sticking to like pieces, such as matching nightstands or end tables, then juxtaposing them with an unexpected sofa, armchair or table for a similar effect.

For easy ways to master a stylish furniture mix, check out our tips on how to decorate a room.

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3. Work in Lots of Texture

Another way to balance out the new look and feel of a home is to play up pops of texture—whether it’s accents in natural materials or wood with aged finishes.

Organic textures add instant character, personality, and charm to any new construction home. Furniture made with natural materials, which can be a rattan armchair or a woven light pendant, always warms up a modern or contemporary room. Mix it with other textures, such as leather, embroidered fabrics, rough-hewn woods, stone, and even smooth ceramics.

The best part is that you can’t go wrong with too much or too little texture. You can play it up as much as you need to for the look you want, whether it’s going for tons of texture for a rustic and boho look or keeping it a little more casual for a coastal look.

Also check out our tips for Decorating With Leather and Mixing Wood Tones.

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4. Switch Up Light Fixtures

Lighting is also a key consideration for a new build property. Swapping out the existing fixtures in a new home is a great way to bring in a touch of character. It will also change up the vibe in your space dramatically. This could mean replacing a modern bathroom sconce with a design that’s more in your style or hanging up a more vintage-style pendant light in a dining space.

Some new build homes come without fixtures, which means you’ll have to add your own lighting. That might sound daunting at first, but don’t be. It’s a great opportunity to set the mood with lighting that fits the home you want to live in and let your personality and style shine.

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5. Add Layers of Lighting

Most new builds feature a lot of downlighting, aka. ambient lighting, which can make the home appear stark and dark.

One of the key factors to any happy home is good lighting, and that means having a range of different lights. Lean into a mix of lighting at every level, from sconces to floor lamps to accent lighting on tables. This will allow you to control the ambiance and mood in your home while also adding function throughout.

Try bright task lighting for a desk or workspace, a cozy table lamp next to a reading chair, and install dimmers for sconces to create low-lit mood lighting for evenings. The type of lighting you choose will depend on your lifestyle and needs, but it’s also a chance to add character to blank white walls that are common across new build homes.

For more tips on choosing the right fixtures, check out our Lighting Guide.

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6. Make Some Cosmetic Changes

Finally, more than just furniture and decor, you can also make changes to existing physical features in a new build property, like the walls or socket covers. (Note: Some new build home communities restrict the changes you can make to your space, so just be sure you’re in the clear before making any major changes!)

The easiest cosmetic update you can make to your new build home is painting the walls. It’s a bold way to bring your personality into the space, be it a whole painted room or an accent wall in a bright color. Other ways to change up your space could be adding wood paneling or DIY wainscotting if that’s your style, installing a ceiling medallion to give your hanging light fixtures a stylish edge, or swapping out light switch covers with vintage or brass ones that provide a chic metallic touch.

Get more Interior design ideas for new homes!

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My Modsy Story: Taking the E-Design Leap of Faith For My Basement Turned Family Room

basement family roomZack S. was at a loss when it came to transforming his large empty basement into a functional family room. See how we helped him complete the space once and for all.


basement family room

Homeowner: Zack S, Computer Whiz

Location: North Salt Lake, Utah

Room: Blank Slate Basement Family Room

His Style: Discerning Collector

The Backstory

Finding the perfect family home with a blank slate basement, ready to be decorated

When we first toured our house, it was completely empty. It has a huge basement and we knew from the moment we saw it that it would be our family room. We also knew that we wanted to make it a beautiful space where our kids could play and we could relax — all with budget in mind, of course.

basement family room

basement family room

Zack’s Basement Family Room Before

The Design Dilemma

Struggling to visualize how an unusually large space could be family and pet-friendly

Our basement was truly a blank slate and it proved to be a real design challenge. We simply had no sense of what furniture to purchase or how we would arrange it in such an enormous space.

Also, we have two young daughters and two insanely hyper dogs, so we wanted everything to be as functional and destruction-proof as possible.

basement family roomZack’s Modsy Design 1

The Modsy Moment

Trusting a friend’s word to take the e-design leap of faith

I told a friend we were renovating our basement family room and that I had no idea where to begin with decorating it. He recommended Modsy, so I looked into it. The more I learned about how it worked, the more intrigued I became!

So finally, I decide to give it a go.

A word of advice on getting started with Modsy: It’s super important that your Modsy designer has your exact room dimensions, so get ready to measure. If you can provide them with a floor plan (even a hand-drawn one), even better!

basement family roomZack’s Modsy Design 2

How Modsy’s Renderings Helped Zack

Seeing the multipurpose potential of his large basement family room– with furniture he loved!

We were totally blown away when we got our designs back. The attention to detail was crazy. I had no idea the 3D renderings would be so accurate — they captured everything right down to the tiny motion detectors we have in our basement!

I’m so happy I trusted our designer’s intuitions because the designs and the furniture they chose for our space were perfect.

I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t sure if Modsy would be able to design a space that truly catered to my design preferences since it felt like there were so many unknowns that our Modsy designer was working with. But I’m so happy I trusted our designer’s intuitions because the designs and the furniture they chose for our space were perfect.

basement family roomZack’s Modsy Design 1

In particular, Modsy’s designs really helped us envision how a large room like ours could have multiple entertainment spaces. Our designer did a great job separating the TV area from the kids activities area while still keeping the room flowing in a way that made sense.

Our second Modsy design was awesome, and ultimately it was the design we went with. Modsy really hit the nail on the head with it.

We loved how there was a sit-down space for our kids to create beautiful art and finish homework. We also really enjoyed the seating area setup with a comfy sectional that will allow us to watch TV and play games as a family.

basement family room

basement family room

The Real Results

Shopping has never been this easy

Since we got our Modsy designs back, we’ve literally purchased every single piece of furniture suggested in our second design. Seeing exactly how things would look in the space was a game-changer for us. It made all of our purchasing decisions so incredibly easy.

We’ve literally purchased every single piece of furniture suggested … Seeing exactly how things would look in the space [made] all of our purchasing decisions so incredibly easy.

basement family roomZack’s Modsy Design 2

Designing our basement family room from scratch felt like such an immense undertaking. We were at such a loss in the beginning. I feel like Modsy truly helped us make the best use of the space we had. And I love how our designer introduced us to some new ways to use the space that we hadn’t considered before.

Going forward, I couldn’t imagine decorating another room without Modsy’s 3D renderings.

See Zack’s Favorite Design in 360!

Need a little help seeing the possibilities for your blank slate?


My Modsy Story: How I Designed My First Home From Scratch – and Did It Right

grown-up living roomWhen she moved from a small city apartment to a 3000 sq ft home, Nicole was ready for a grown-up living room. Here’s how she made it happen and made it look easy.


Homeowner: Nicole T, Sales and Development

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Room: Open “Grown Up” Living Room

Her Style: Modern Rustic

The Backstory

Scrapping all the old furniture from their 650 sq. foot apartment and designing their grown-up living room from scratch

My family and I had just moved from a very tiny apartment in the Mission District of San Francisco to a new home in Phoenix, AZ. As such, NONE of our furniture was suitable for our new 3000 sq ft home.

Additionally, after 7 years of apartment living, we were ready to finally have a grown-up living room. We were over buying small, cheap furniture and were ready to take the plunge and invest in some more substantial pieces for our new place. We were starting from scratch and wanted to do it right.

Nicole’s Living Room Before

The Design Dilemma

Creating a space that was both beautiful and family-friendly, without spending a giant fortune

Our new home has a very large, beautiful family room. We weren’t bringing any furniture from our old apartment, so it was hard to know where to start with such a large space. Plus, despite the place being so spacious and comfortable, there were some odd features we just didn’t know how to design around.

We knew that we wanted to compliment the style of the house, which is a contemporary custom home with mid century modern features. And at the same time, we are expecting our second child in 2 months, so we needed furniture that could stand the test of a toddler and a newborn.

Ultimately, we wanted to create a thoughtful looking space that we’d be happy living in every day.

grown-up living roomNicole’s Modsy Design 2

The Modsy Moment

When a friend’s success story sealed the deal

A friend recommended I try Modsy after she used it to decorate her new home. I was skeptical at first – my friend had purchased “everything from West Elm,” so I was worried the items selected would all be fairly expensive.

However, I learned that Modsy works with a great mix of high and low cost retailers, so we definitely would have lots of choices.

How Modsy’s Renderings Helped Nicole

Seeing the possibilities and embracing new ideas for her space

When we got our designs back we were very impressed with Modsy’s renderings! It was crazy to see a digital image of our exact space designed by someone that had never been there.

grown-up living roomNicole’s Modsy Design 2

I really liked the layout of design 2 – we hadn’t thought of facing our couch towards the fireplace, as we were afraid it would cut the space in half. But after seeing the designs, we went for it! Now we think it fits so much better than the design the previous owners had.

Modsy’s designs also showed us that we don’t have to be afraid to go bold with color. Neither my husband or I would have ever considered the color scheme that our designer first introduced us to, but after seeing the results, we were sold.

It was crazy to see a digital image of our exact space designed by someone that had never been there.

I also learned that you can design a space with a lot of color while still using mostly neutral furniture. We went with grays and whites for many of the chairs and tables, but also found that the design looked amazing with the bold green couch. We wouldn’t have thought of that ourselves and are very happy with it.

grown-up living roomNicole’s Modsy Design 6

The Real Results

Bringing her new, grown-up living room to life

Modsy definitely helped us envision the possibilities for our space in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own.

Neither my husband or I would have ever considered the color scheme that our designer first introduced us to, but after seeing the results, we were sold.

We loved the layout featured in our initial design and were very happy with all the views of our space and attention to detail in the renderings. We worked with the Modsy team to make a few tweaks to our original designs (we ended up with 6 in total) to get the colors just right. Now we are so happy with the overall design of our new house!

grown-up living room


We bought a lot of items from our final Modsy design. We ordered our furniture directly through Modsy and appreciated the Insider Rewards discounts!

Modsy’s designs helped us tremendously. Not only did it change our perception of how to lay out our furniture, but it helped us fill some odd spaces. Thanks Modsy!

See Nicole’s Favorite Design in 360!

Need a little help designing your grown-up living room?


My Modsy Story: Making A Small Living Room Work For My Family Of Five

small living room layout

With a oddly shaped space, Christina craved a small living room layout that worked for her family of five. See how she found the perfect solution for her space.


Homeowner: Christina M, University Business Officer

Location: North Logan, Utah

Room: Small, Awkwardly Shaped Living Room

Her Style: Comfortably Chic

The Backstory

Living in a charming home where comfort and practicality are paramount

We are a family of five and we’ve lived in our current home for about a year. We love the all the natural light and the vaulted ceiling, but that was about it.

Our living room is the center of our house. We’re big on movie nights and use the space to watch TV throughout the day, and it’s also where we entertain guests. Unfortunately it’s become a sort of waiting room and a playroom. And while it’s the most-used space in our home, it’s also the least functional.

small living room layout

The Design Dilemma

Dealing with a small living room that needed to work for a big family

I wanted this room to be a comfortable and inviting space since it’s the center of our home. But it’s so long, skinny, and just plain awkward that it seemed impossible to make it work. After six months of hating this room, I decided we definitely needed some professional help to make it into a space we loved.

But when it came to designing the space, we really needed help with everything – A functional small living room layout, some storage for kids toys and games, an awesome couch for movie nights and afternoon Sunday naps, seating for guests, and not to mention a space that was pretty. 

small living room layoutThe Modsy Moment

How a Podcast led her to the ultimate living room solution

I heard about Modsy on the podcast, Young House Love. I was slightly skeptical at first — what Modsy could do sounded awesome, but I wasn’t ready to commit. That’s until I got desperate enough for a design solution for my strange and small living room. Once I got started, it was so easy to use and I was totally convinced this was worth it!

small living room layoutHow Modsy’s Renderings Helped Christina

Getting the exact furniture and small living room layout she asked for — and more!

We LOVED the first two designs Modsy sent us. They were spot on with everything we needed! The 3D renderings looked just like our living room and it was so helpful to see the space with all the furniture in place.

It was amazing how our Modsy Designer was able to incorporate pieces in our designs that fit our style while factoring in all our needs as a family. Altogether, the designs were so doable and the small living room layout ideas were just so much more functional.

“We LOVED the first two designs… they were so doable.”

small living room layout

At first, we liked the simplicity and open look of the first design because it would work with the sofa we already had. We immediately rearranged the room with our existing furniture the very next day, and it made such a HUGE difference in the feel and function of the space.

Then in the second design, our Modsy Designer incorporated a console table opposite the sectional. This was so great to see because I had a very similar console table that I hadn’t thought would work in the space. After seeing that it could work, I pulled it back out and I’m now using it in the room!

small living room layout

Modsy’s idea to put chairs by the window in our second design was genius; it’s the perfect place for them! The round side table was one of our favorite pieces, and we ended up bringing this element to life in our space.

small living room layout

small living room layout

We also loved the mirrors above the mantle in both our designs — it was just what we needed for that space. Everything was just perfect for us.

Ultimately we really wanted a super comfortable space where we could put our feet up, relax, and cuddle with our kids. I had specifically requested to see an option with a sectional, and our Modsy Designer made it happen! Seeing that the right-sized sectional could absolutely work in our space and still look great was a huge eye-opener.

We ended up purchasing a super comfortable small sectional in order to make the sectional layout design happen—and we are so happy with all of it!

See Christina’s Favorite Design in 360!

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New Home, New Living Room, No Idea Where to Start

New homeowners, Cristina and her husband, wanted all the right furniture—but they just couldn’t decide on anything.


Homeowner: Maria Cristina, global marketing director

Location: New Orleans, LA

Room: A bare living room in a new home

Her Style: Contemporary Collector

The Backstory

Graduating from a rental to her family-of-four’s first owned home

I live with my husband and our kids, and we purchased a home in New Orleans after renting for several years. The house is huge and when we moved in, we needed lots of help figuring out how to design the space.

The Design Dilemma

Designing one room was too much work and making decisions became impossible

Our living room was a blank canvas with just a wall-mounted TV. We knew we wanted it to be comfortable and practical, but style and budget were also very important to us.

To say we didn’t know where to start would be an understatement. Should we tackle the floor plan first? Or would it make more sense to start by finding a sofa? But then how do we arrange things and make the room look cohesive? We couldn’t decide.

Deciding where to buy the furniture was another hurdle. We kept going from store to store, taking pictures, trying to match pieces together. In the end, it was too much work and we could never make a decision.

In the end, [designing the space ourselves] was too much work and we could never make a decision.

living room designChristina’s Modsy Design 1

The Modsy Moment

After two failed runs with online design services, one happy Modsy review caught her eye

I’d tried two online interior design services before coming to Modsy. The experience was unsuccessful to say the least. We worked with designers but the renderings were poor-quality and didn’t help us with anything.

I’d seen Modsy on my Facebook feed, so I did a little research and read many positive reviews of the service. One in particular caught my eye, from a man who noted that the designs took 10 days to complete. This made me a little nervous at first, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the Modsy service. They took their time to create two very thoughtful concepts for my space, and that was a big differentiator for me.

living room designChristina’s Modsy Design 1

How Modsy’s Renderings Helped Maria

Discovering new ideas and having the confidence to know EXACTLY what to buy

My reaction to our first Modsy designs was a huge WOW! I had such a big happy smile on my face. I couldn’t believe that I was seeing my living room furnished in such a realistic way. Every detail of my room was there.

living room deisgnChristina’s Modsy Design 2

When I showed my husband that night, he couldn’t believe that we got such great work for $59. (Then he had to remind me how much money I wasted with the other online design services.) Modsy’s renders helped us think outside the box for our space.

My reaction to our first Modsy designs was a huge WOW! I couldn’t believe that I was seeing my living room furnished in such a realistic way.

We ended up combining a couple of our designs together for our final look. It was so great to know exactly where to go to get the furniture I wanted. We bought a lot of pieces from our design but we also added a few items we found ourselves.

living room design

living room design

The sofa Modsy suggested was great, but after our entire family of four sat on it, we decided we wanted a wider option. But we liked the one Modsy recommended, so we bought a sofa in that same color.

We also purchased the patterned area rug from our final design. I know we would not have been brave enough to choose something like that if we hadn’t seen how it would look in our space. Likewise, we wouldn’t have thought about putting the sun mirror on the wall or adding the artwork and plant.

living room design

I would never have thought of putting bookcases on each side of the french doors. But Modsy suggested it and we ended up loving it, so that was a huge surprise. We’re planning on purchasing those along with the lamps and the sun mirror Modsy suggested!

See Christina’s Favorite Modsy Design in 360!

Need a little design help? Try a Modsy rendering for yourself!


My Modsy Story: Overcoming Self-Doubt When Designing My New Home

Like Erin Canova, we often talk ourselves out of ideas for our spaces—until we realize we had it right the whole time.

Homeowner: Erin Canova, mom extraordinaire

Location: Sacramento, CA

Room: A tall-ceilinged den and TV room

Her Style: Contemporary Minimalist

The Backstory

Balancing a new home’s great bones with not too much decor

In our new home, we are blessed with all these incredible rooms. We have very tall ceilings, which was one of the hardest things for me to try and design around. I just had no clue how to compensate for that with the decor.  

That said, I did not want to have too much decor in the space that I would have to dust or tidy up on a regular basis. I want a minimal home that feels welcoming and homey, but also functional and that enhances our daily lives rather than creating more roadblocks.

The Design Dilemma

Knowing what she loves but not what blends together in an empty room

My biggest challenge was room cohesion—if that’s even a term. I can pick separate pieces of furniture that I like, but picking the right items that all blend well together is next to impossible for me. I started with this den and TV room because I hadn’t purchased any new furniture for it yet. It was essentially a clean slate.  

The Modsy Moment

Taking a risk that cost far less than hiring an interior designer

I first saw Modsy in a blog post, and I figured even if it was a total bust, $70 was such a reasonable price compared to what I was considering with an interior designer, which costs much much more.

Getting started was so incredibly simple that I was kind of blown away at how easy it was. I didn’t even have to clean up my space before hand!

How Modsy’s Renderings Helped Erin

She thought her idea wouldn’t work; but seeing furniture in the space reassured her it would

I was through the roof with excitement when I first saw my Modsy renderings. It was so amazing to finally see the room transform into EXACTLY what I had envisioned. It’s currently covered in random kids toys, and I just had no idea where to start; now I know exactly what to do, how to lay out the space and what items to buy.  

I was especially excited with the second Modsy layout design I was provided because I had actually thought about purchasing a sectional and placing it the same way but convinced myself it wouldn’t work and that the space would be too tight. Seeing it in the rendering showed me that with just the right size sectional I actually could divide the larger space into two zones to get the most use out of the room.

Modsy Design 1
Modsy Design 1
Modsy Design 1
Modsy Design 2
Modsy Design 2
Modsy Design 2

Modsy took an issue I had been stressing over for months and not only solved the issue but got me excited about tackling it going forward! I’ve felt bad about continuously changing things but my Modsy advisors assured me that it’s not a problem.

I’m still working on changing the renderings (I’m on my sixth design) to get the room just right. But I plan on buying most, if not all, the pieces detailed in the design. I also love that many of the items placed in my renderings are incredibly affordable and I can find them at my ultimate favorite retailer, Target!  

Need a little design help? Try a Modsy rendering for yourself!


My Modsy Story: Making the Move from City to Suburban Home

modsy storyWhen her IKEA furniture no longer served her family and new home, this New Yorker took matters into her own hands with Modsy.

Homeowner: Marybeth B, City-Dweller turned Suburban Homeowner

Location: New York

Room: Living and Dining Rooms

Her Style: Modern Rustic

The Backstory

Taking the leap into suburban living

I bought a new home two years ago when we moved from the city to a more suburban area. My family and I were living in a modern high-rise apartment and our new home is a 1931 Tudor house that has been lovingly restored.

The Design Dilemma

Figuring out out-of-place furniture

Like most people, the IKEA furniture we had was good for apartment living, but it didn’t work in our new home.

For starters, we now had 3,000 square feet of space to fill and all of our furniture from the old apartment could fit in the living room in the new house. We were ready to invest in good furniture, but didn’t want to buy the wrong pieces and make a costly mistake.

Adding to that, our new house’s architecture is very formal, but we’re not formal people. It was hard to find furniture that both agreed with the interior of the home and our personalities—not to mention visualize it actually in our space! I was completely overwhelmed.

“I didn’t want to settle with a set of matching furniture but I was ready for the house just to be done.”

The Modsy Moment

Nothing was working—not even hiring an interior designer

We had been in interior design paralysis for a year; after one year living in the house, I had 100 Pinterest boards and spent countless hours (days) curating them to no avail. So I finally decided to hire an interior designer to help move the design process along. They gave me layout ideas, some furniture recommendations, and I even bought two rugs, but I still had a hard time imagining these pieces arranged in my actual home.

I read about Modsy on and decided to try it. I took some photos, filled out the Style Quiz, and picked out furniture recommended to me based on my style. A week later, I got the first 3D designs of my living room back and I was blown away by how real they looked. It was awesome! Modsy allowed me to see designs staged in our actual space, and it made all the difference.

“We had been in interior design paralysis for a year… Modsy allowed me to see designs staged in our actual space, and it made all the difference.”

The Final Deciding Factors

Adding those personal touches

After playing around with a few Modsy designs, I came up with more ideas that I wanted to try. I have a three year-old daughter, who loves to climb on things, and Modsy helped me create a play area for her. I also had my eye on a statement sofa, but was unsure if it would work with my formal space. Finally, I was struggling to decide if I should hang curtains above my beautiful stained glass windows or not.

With the Modsy 3D rendering I could literally see these ideas come to life in my home. This gave me the confidence to buy pieces I will love. Now there are a few more things I need to get my husband to agree on, which, for the first time might be easy since he can see how amazing they would look.

Now I use the hours I spent curating Pinterest boards to do things I actually enjoy, like spending time with my family, cooking, and traveling. I am thankful to Modsy for helping me pull the trigger and get on with my life.

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