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5 Things to Know About Moving From a City Apartment to a Home in the Suburbs

Moving from a small space to a larger one—and subsequently having to fill that big new house—is not a new design conundrum. But in the last year, as more people moved from city apartments to houses in the suburbs, we saw an uptick in clients struggling with filling out their new, larger homes.

The reality is, when you go from apartment living to being a homeowner, there tends to be a big gap between the amount of furniture you have and what you actually need to fill your new home.

Case in point: After moving from the city to the suburbs, our client, Michelle, had tons of extra space and not nearly enough furniture. She was overwhelmed—but her Modsy designer was able to help her transform her sparse space into a dream home.

But it’s not just that you have more space to fill. So many people make the move from small city apartments to full-sized homes and realize their furniture no longer works.

When Marybeth, another Modsy client, moved from a modern apartment in the city to a 1931 Tudor in the suburbs, her IKEA furniture that had felt at-home in her former apartment no longer suited her space. Seeing new furniture in her 3D designs gave her confidence when buying new furniture.

Since upsizing is becoming a surprisingly common design struggle, we turned to our expert designers and asked them to share how they help clients feel at home in their new spaces. Here are 5 common design dilemmas that arise when moving from the city to the suburbs and our best tips on how to address them!

baskets fireplace white couch dark grey wall

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1. Do Consider The Size, Scale, and Purpose of Your Furniture

We’ve written a lot about how to save space in a small apartment and what furniture works best in tiny spaces. A lot of that comes down to opting for apartment-sized furniture. But here’s the thing: in a full-sized home, smaller, apartment-scale pieces simply won’t look good. That petite console you had in your apartment living room? It will look dwarfed in your new space. And a loveseat definitely can’t be your main seating option in your new living room. It might seem obvious, but apartment-sized furniture is designed to work in smaller spaces. So, these pieces will look disproportionately small in your new space. You have to rethink the functional scale and proportion of your furniture in your new, larger home.

Having more space to feel also means moving away from multipurpose furniture to single-use pieces. Your dining table no longer has to double as your desk. And that bench you used in your entryway/living room/bedroom in your old apartment. It can happily live in one room and serve a single purpose.

And since you have more space for storage, you can start thinking differently about all of those clever storage ideas you put to use in a small apartment. Maybe it’s time to move on from your storage coffee table and transition your storage to a separate cabinet.

Don’t be afraid to spread out, re-organize your storage, and create new organizational systems throughout your home that work for your current space.

Designer Tip: Since you’ll most likely be looking for at least a couple new pieces for your new home, might we direct you to our furniture buying guides? Our catalog of buying guides walks you through the process of selecting all the main pieces you might need—from sofas and dining tables to rugs and coffee tables!

queen bed with two sidetables with bulb lamps

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2. Do Consider The Style of Your Home’s Architecture

This isn’t always the case—but more often than not, your new home will have a different style of architecture than your previous apartment. You may have moved from a turn-of-the-century brownstone apartment to a new build in the suburbs. Or maybe you went from a city highrise to a mid-century rambler. The era in which a house was built, and the style it was built in—craftsman, Spanish revival, Tudor, Victorian, new build—has an impact on how you approach the design. Translation? Your new space won’t necessarily agree with that mid-century-inspired IKEA sofa.

And beyond the style, in a full house versus an apartment, you’ll have other architectural details to contend with. You’ll most certainly have more windows. This is almost always a good thing—who doesn’t love added natural light? But this also means choosing the right curtains for your home.

And then there are your home’s materials. If you have wood flooring, it likely has a different finish than your old place. Or maybe you’re dealing with carpeting, tiles, or even different flooring in each room! Chances are the hardware and fixtures will also be different finishes. All of this means your existing furniture and decor will interact differently with these new materials than they did with the materials of your previous apartment. Sometimes it will work, and other times you’ll realize that what worked before simply no longer suits the details of your new home.

So, what can you do? Find furniture, decor, and color schemes that work with your personal style and the style of your home. For example, craftsman homes tend to have lots of warm wood features—so perhaps a rustic design style with lots of natural textures and neutral upholstery is the move for you! In a brand new home and looking to add some character? Check out our new build home decor tips.

And if you need help in this process, know that Modsy designers can guide you through the whole process!

rustic home office wooden desk white chair

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3. Do Enjoy Spreading Out

When you live in a small apartment, efficiency is a top priority. When you have a whole house where you can spread out? Not so much. Your new space is defined by possibilities rather than limitations since you have so much more space to work with.

Similar to moving away from multipurpose furniture, you can generally stop striving to create multipurpose rooms. You no longer have to have a living room/dining room/home office combo. Rather, each space in your home can likely have an individual function. Or, within a larger space, you can create distinct zones so that each area has a unique function.

So, start by defining the functions of each room in your new home, asking yourself how you want to use the space. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll most certainly need some new furniture. But more than that, it’s an opportunity to really consider how you want to use your space and to embrace more breathing room in your home. Celebrate the open space you now have and get creative with how to use each room in your home!

Want to see this in action? When Britt, a Modsy client, moved her family and business across the country, she was determined to make the transition as smooth as possible. But an awkward shared living room/office area presented a major challenge. Her Modsy designer helped her create two distinct zones in her large-but-narrow space—and it’s now a space her whole family enjoys.

rustic farmhouse dining room with natural textured pendant

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4. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Bigger Changes (But Have a Good Plan)

In a home of your own, you’re no longer confined to the rules of renting, with a landlord to answer to and a security deposit to worry about. So, nail that art to the wall! Repaint your bedroom! Add the wallpaper you always wanted!

Owning your own home means you can expand the scope of what’s possible in your decorating process. So, take some time to put your personal stamp on your new home. This could be as simple as a new coat of paint—which can completely change the look and feel of a room—or updating hardware throughout your home. But it can also mean taking on a larger project like tearing down a wall, redoing your kitchen, installing built-ins, or updating your flooring. How great is it that, if you’re itching to rip out the carpet and install hardwood floors, you can do it?!

Designer Tip: Before you jump full speed into demo day, good to have a plan. Need some help? Our expert renovation designers can help you visualize your remodel or structural changes in your home in 3D before you even pick up a sledgehammer.

Need layout help?

See your exact room expertly designed in 3D.

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coastal entryway two frames one chair large plant

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5. Don’t Rush the Process

Ok, we know we just said that you can now officially make bigger changes to your home. But that being said, we’d also encourage you not to rush the process (with renovations or home design). Buying a new house provides an exciting opportunity to create a space that’s uniquely you. But too many new homeowners—in a desire to quickly settle in and make their home look “finished”—rush out and fill their home with furniture that they may not love after a year.

Rather than rushing the process, spend some time in thoughtful reflection on what your home really needs. Since you just purchased a home, money might be tight. So, start by deciding what you need now, in terms of furniture and decor, and what you can save for and purchase later. If you can, time your major purchases with big tentpole sales in the furniture industry. Wondering when those major sales are? Check out our year-round furniture shopping guide.

If you’re not sure where to start with furniture-buying, think about the pieces of furniture you use every day—AKA, your bed and sofa. Prioritize these pieces. Things like rugs and decor can come later. (Check out our new home furniture buying guide for more tips!) Worried about your house not feeling livable in the meantime? You don’t have to start from scratch. Use the pieces you already have to start and swap them out as you figure out your decor style!

Of course, some people really do just want to get their home set and settled right away. If you’re going that route, rely on the help of an expert designer to help you create a thoughtfully curated space! Bonus: when you start a design project with Modsy, you’ll also get huge, exclusive discounts on furniture purchased through Modsy any time of the year! Expert design help and mega discounts? Now that’s a no-brainer.

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The Home Office: Here’s How The Office Characters’ Work-From-Home Set-Ups Would Look in 2020

With offices closed across the country, many of us have been working from home for months. Some of us probably miss those co-workers-turned-friends, while others of us might be quite content not running into certain people at meetings and in the break room.

All these thoughts of office politics got us thinking—how would Michael Scott and the gang be handling working from home during the Shelter in Place ordinances?? (In Michael’s case, probably not-so-gracefully.) So, we challenged our Modsy designers to imagine the work-from-home set-ups of our favorite characters from The Office!

Keep reading to see how Michael, Dwight, Jim and Pam, and Kelly would decorate their home offices in 2020!

Michael Scott’s Home Office

Imagine Michael Scott while he was still the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, but dropped into the 2020 pandemic. There would be no more last-minute meetings in the conference room. No avoiding work by wandering out into the office and testing out a couple new “that’s what she said” jokes. No hosting birthday parties every other week. We imagine that an extended bout of working from home would take quite an emotional toll on “the world’s best boss.” But we’d bet that there are quite a few spur-of-the-moment Zoom calls happening each day…

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Michael’s Style

By 2020, Michael would have converted one of the spare bedrooms in his townhouse into a home office—gravitating toward transitional style with quirky touches. He would want his home office to feel cool—but he definitely wouldn’t be able to pull off a look that’s too edgy.

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As someone who loves to combine work and play, his workspace is completely functional but his bookcases are filled with more “fun” items than work-related supplies—including his many Dundie awards, a magic set, and a whiteboard for motivational quotes. Always a nostalgic softie at heart, he’d also bring home Pam’s painting of the office and burn Jan’s candles (much to Holly’s dismay).

In the hopes that someone (other than Dwight) would swing by for a visit, we imagine he would have a carved hand-shape chair for them to sit in—and undoubtedly laugh his head off every time someone used it. Ultimately, his home office is all about feeling approachable and casual, since he always wants to be viewed as a best friend and a boss. (For the record, we’re pretty sure he’d be the first in the office to get coronavirus.)

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The OfficeDwight Schrute’s Home Office

In 2020, Dwight wouldn’t mind working from home. In fact, he’d prefer it. The Schrutes always had superior immune systems—but there would be no point in mixing with the degenerates in the office who would just disease the rest of them. What he can’t figure out is how Jim continues to prank him, even from a distance—and now he can’t just run into Michael’s office or submit his weekly complaint with HR.

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Dwight’s Style

It’s no surprise that Dwight’s home office would have a very rustic Colonial farmhouse vibe. He was always proud of his old farmhouse and loved furniture with solid construction—specifically if it was made by the Pennsylvania Dutch!

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He would undoubtedly have a solid desk in his office, positioned in a place of power. That’s why his desk would be floating and facing out into the room, with the stone fireplace behind him, a tiger rug beneath him, and the ability to look out over his “kingdom” (aka his beet farm) and make sure Mose doesn’t get himself into trouble throughout the day. And, for moments of repose, he’d have a simple rocking chair where he could sit and dream of someday becoming regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton.

A lover of all things old, he’d also have nods to the past within his office—candlesticks, tractor gears on the wall, artwork of German bridges. And, of course, he’d have a few personal objects as well, like his Harry Potter wand, his Dundie awards, and, of course, his name plaque and Dwight bobblehead, which he was sure to grab before the office shut down!

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Jim & Pam Halpert’s Home Office

Jim and Pam couldn’t be happier to be working from home together. They’re actually able to get work done without Michael constantly interrupting them—leaving much more time for scheming creative ways to prank Dwight from a distance. Plus, Pam no longer has to agonize over who left the microwave in such a mess (there’s only Jim to blame) and they also get to spend time with their children throughout the day, which they love.

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Jim & Pam’s Style

We’re pretty sure Pam would be all in with a Chip and Joanna Gaines-inspired rustic farmhouse office in 2020. So, for their work-from-home set-up, we imaging Pam would have created a crisp, bright, and happy space that’s also cozy and family-friendly.

It’s a practical space, with side-by-side desks, but designed in a way that reflects both Jim and Pam’s passions and hobbies. And, though they have matching desks, they each have a chair that suits their personality. With personal photos, some sports memorabilia, a space for painting, and even the teapot Jim gave Pam for Christmas all those years ago, this is a space that’s personal and inviting.

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Kelly Kapoor’s Home Office

Let’s be real: in 2020, Kelly Kapoor is probably long gone from Dunder Mifflin. Instead, she’s likely using her style savvy to run the influencer program at a tech fashion start-up. After all, she’s always known what’s hot.

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Kelly’s Style

Kelly is bold and fun—so it’s no surprise that her home office is a reflection of that. Would you expect anything less than a glam, chic, and bold feminine space for Dunder Mifflin’s resident Business B*tch? In 2020, Kelly would definitely still be dedicated to style, trends, and all things chic and modern. Her office is the manifestation of those things with a bold rug, pink upholstered chair, and chic acrylic desk.

With Ryan still at her beck and call, she often hosts “fashion shows at lunch” to show off her latest shopping finds and favorite trendy looks. And you know she’s the queen of Zoom happy hours!

Need help designing your home office?

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Here’s How Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment From Sex and the City Would Look Today

20 years ago on June 6th, 1998 Sex and the City premiered on HBO. (Does that make anyone else feel old?) After the series wrapped and added two movies, we’re still not quite over Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment.

Second only to Monica’s purple apartment from Friends, Carrie’s junior one bedroom stands out as one of the most iconic apartments from TV history.

Carrie Bradshaw's ApartmentImage credit HBO

To celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary, we took the bones of her Upper East Side abode (pre its 2008 makeover) and reimagined how it might have looked if the series took place today. (Although we’d keep Carrie’s rent from the 90s because…a girl can dream, right?).

But is it really a Sex and the City tribute if we don’t include the whole gang? We didn’t think so, so we set out to design Bradshaw’s apartment for each of our favorite characters – Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte too.

See how we reimagined Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment for 2018!

Want to see your home designed in 3D? Sign up for a Modsy Design Package today and get expert design plans laid out in an exact, virtual version of your room It’s so fun, you might get Carried away!

Carrie’s TakeCarrie Bradshaw's Apartment

Carrie Bradshaw was a style icon, a relationship aficionado, and always armed with the perfect one-liner. And while her outfits were ever-changing and always fabulous, her apartment remained largely the same over the show’s tenure.

Bradshaw’s apartment, unlike her wardrobe, had a lived-in and relatable quality that reminded many of us of our own homes. It wasn’t always perfectly tidy and it featured an eclectic mix of furniture styles – think flea market chic alongside mid-century modern furniture.

As a nod to the 60’s era mid-century pieces that populated Carrie’s original apartment, her new place features pieces with modern shapes.

We kept the palette mostly true to her original space. But we know Carrie wasn’t afraid of color. A bright blue sofa anchors her living room and serves as reference to her later movie makeover wall color.

Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment

SWIPE THROUGH OUR 2018 TAKE ON CARRIE BRADSHAW’S APARTMENT

Carrie’s Modsy Style: Mod Collector

Of course we had to give Carrie a desk that would keep her inspired. We thought this might be the one piece she would splurge a few paychecks on, so we picked a beautiful burl wood table that lends warmth and texture to her space.

We knew Carrie’s taste in art would have been as eclectic as her. So, we chose one statement piece and hung it off-center above her bed. In her original apartment, she had a similarly hung trio of prints. No plants take up space in Carrie’s place. She hated having things in her space that might die if not regularly maintained.

An updated take on the Aiden chair, we gave her new place a similar worn leather, mid-century inspired chair.

Finally, what would Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment be without the iconic tutu, her Carrie necklace, to-go coffee, cigarettes, and her Vogue magazines?

Try Carrie’s look in your home today!

Samantha’s TakeCarrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha

Samantha Jones is a proud, confident, and no BS kind of lady. We styled her take on Carrie’s apartment with a minimal glam approach. We wanted the apartment to reflect Samantha’s unapologetic love of sex and portray her as the strong, classy person she was.

The apartment is clean and almost minimal, but at the same time bold and dramatic. We thought Samantha would appreciate a full sensory experience, so we picked pieces that would appeal to both the eye and the touch. We mixed materials like leather, velvet, fur, and gold for a glamorous and moody space to entertain (and we don’t mean the cheese and crackers kind of entertaining).

Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Samantha

SWIPE THROUGH SAMANTHA’S 2018 TAKE ON CARRIE BRADSHAW’S APARTMENT

Samantha’s Modsy Style: Less is More Chic

Unlike her friends, Samantha lived in New York’s up-and-coming Meatpacking District. If she were to make the move to Carrie’s Upper East Side digs, we thought she’d appreciate the addition of the fireplace and dark charcoal paint job to give a her place a little more edge.  

We kept the space where you’d typically find a coffee table, to give Samantha space for other activities. Additionally, on the shelf above her bed we gave her a tasteful ginger jar full of condoms.

We thought Samantha’s favorite piece in her new place would by far be the curvaceous, green velvet sofa. Like the diamond flower ring she acquires in the first Sex and the City Movie, it’s truly “one of a kind, and a little bit too much.”

Try Samantha’s look in your space!

Charlotte’s TakeCarrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte

We know that Charlotte would bring her discerning eye to Carrie’s apartment. We pegged her as a Refined Connoisseur, a mix of all things classic with a minimal twist. A curator by nature, we selected an elegant blend of pieces, all displaying a tastefully conservative palette.

We imagined Charlotte would want her home to be a place where she could comfortably entertain (and we mean cheese and crackers, but you know, the artisanal kind). Her living room features a simple conversational layout and is notably TV-free (we can’t imagine Charlotte being the type to “Netflix and chill”).

Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Charlotte

SWIPE THROUGH CHARLOTTE’S 2018 TAKE ON CARRIE BRADSHAW’S APARTMENT

Charlotte’s Modsy Style: Refined Connoisseur

As a leading lady in the art world, we gave special consideration to the artwork in her place. We gave her a few statement pieces around the apartment, works she might have picked up in her time at the gallery.

Her desk, a clear glass with gold accents, is as much of a statement piece as Charlotte would allow. It would be a place for her to keep up with her social correspondences and browse eligible bachelors on Match .com.

See Charlotte’s look in your home today!

Miranda’s TakeCarrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda

We imagined that no-nonsense Miranda would want an apartment that gets the job done. We thought her straightforward sensibility was well represented by our Contemporary Minimalist style.

When designing her space we opted for quality, lasting pieces that don’t have a lot of frills. Miranda had a lawyer’s salary but not a lot of time. So we took her shopping at places like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel.

Her take on Carrie’s apartment pulls from her original apartment’s color palette of greys, greens, and purples. To give it a modern edge we limited the pops of color to the accessories and gave her a lot of grey and neutral furniture.

Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda
Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment – Miranda

SWIPE THROUGH MIRANDA’S 2018 TAKE ON CARRIE BRADSHAW’S APARTMENT

Miranda’s Modsy Style: Contemporary Minimalist

Instead of a desk we thought Miranda would be more apt to work on her depositions (or daydream about running for governor) from her sofa and eat Chinese takeout off the coffee table.

We also brought over the feminine undertones in her floral art to her new space with updated transitional floral pieces.

See Miranda’s look in your space!

Does your home need a makeover?

Just like Carrie’s place, our New York interior designers can help you reimagine your home for 2018. Start by taking our style quiz and see if you’re a Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha, or something totally different!

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