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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!

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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Small-Space Hacks: Optimize the Entry for Your Daily Life

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 your entryway. Here are our favorite tricks to turn your entryway into a welcoming checkpoint and functional storage spot that’s not an eyesore.

 

Entryway design

If you need extra storage…

Center your entry with a dresser with deep drawers for increased storage options. This is a great way to deal with storage overflow from other areas in your home where square footage is at a premium. Stash winter coats, extra pillows and big throws in the lower compartments and use the dresser’s upper storage for more practical daily items, such as books, scarves, hats, and even takeout menus.

You can easily round out the look of the overall space by adding personal art and objects along with a stylish table lamp on the dresser surface. And don’t underestimate the beauty of umbrella stands, which can double as sculptural accents in an otherwise utilitarian space.

Another idea? If you’re really pressed for space, consider the storage possibilities of a nightstand. One with drawers can provide the perfect mini catchall spot.

 

Entryway design

If you’re (always) on the go…

A space-saving console makes for a convenient catchall for holding your wallet, car keys, and mail. Choose a console with drawers and cubbies specifically for mail that’s important; junk mail can go into baskets squirreled away underneath the console. In a small space, this can keep paper clutter from trickling into the rest of your home.

Treat the surface of the console as a vanity with a mirror and table lamp, and keep frequently worn jewelry and other accessories (phone chargers, headphones) neatly stowed away. This will create a functional spot that gathers all your everyday essentials as you dash out (or in) the door.

 

Entryway design

If you have guests over often…

Your small entry should combine both function and style for an instantly welcoming spot. And just because you’re tight on space doesn’t mean you can’t go big with multiple pieces of stylish furnishings.

Look for storage pieces that have slim silhouettes as well as open-shelving constructions. A tall bookshelf can provide vertical storage that also helps to draw attention away from the small size of your entry, while a slim glass console will further lend a spacious look and feel.

 

Entryway design

If you have high-energy kids…

There’s no furniture piece more practical than a storage bench for containing all the little things that can easily pile up in a small home, be it shoes, jackets, or toys.

Opt for a storage bench with a lid or one with cubbies, and arrange the space to mimic a mudroom; even in a small entry, you can set up hooks and baskets that give everything a place. The best part about a storage bench is that it’s also the perfect perch for your little ones to put on their shoes.

 

Entryway design

If you have (very) little space…

Keep your entry minimal by pulling in a pair of dining chairs. They make for a much simpler alternative to storage pieces if you just need a place to put down your bag or to slip on shoes before you run out the door. The best part is that chairs are versatile and movable, you can pull them into other areas of your home if needed. Consider using chairs that match those in your dining area so that they can easily pinch-hit as extra seating for guests.

 

Have other small-space ideas for your entry?

Try them out with Modsy

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?

 

How to Sneak More Storage into Your Home

Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a big family house, storage space is something every home can use more of. Adding storage doesn’t have to mean adding an entire new shelving system or purchasing a big ticket item, like a credenza; all it takes is rethinking your spaces with the right pieces.

Read on for a few simple (and clever) ways to sneak in more storage to your home.

 

Work Storage Into Your Entry

Use a desk in your entry as a functional console and catchall. One with drawers provides holding places for mail and on-the-go accessories, like sunglasses, hats, and totes. The surface can hold a tray for keys, a table lamp, and a mirror for those last-minute outfit checks before you dash out the door.

 

Choose a Multipurpose Coffee Table

For a busy space like your living room, consider working storage into your coffee table. For instance, a two-tiered table allows you to stash trays, magazines, and coasters on the lower shelves; a repurposed trunk or a coffee table with a lid is great for stowing away big books, board games, and even kids’ toys; and a coffee table with drawers are stylish design details that can also keep remotes, wine openers, and other small items out of sight.

 

Find New Use for Nightstands

No need to relegate a nightstand to just your bedroom. Pull one into your living room to use as a side table. Since most nightstands come with two or three drawers, you’ll have extra storage space for everything from additional cords and candles to throw blankets. On top, you’ll have room for a lamp as well as a place to put down a drink.

 

Add Seating with Storage

Super-functional storage benches and ottomans are perfect in any living room, but especially so if you’re limited on space. These pieces provide both style and storage, serving as pretty and comfortable seating when you have guests over and also as hiding spots for everything from books to extra blankets and pillows. Try using a storage bench under a living room window to create a reading spot, or bring in a pair of ottomans that you can easily move around.

 

Go Big with Baskets

Easy to tote around, baskets are storage catchalls. They’re especially handy if you have kids that lay out their toys; keeping them in baskets will help conceal what can be a mess on the floor. Plus, baskets tuck nicely into cubbies or can be set on the floor by a chair to hold blankets and books. Try multiple baskets spread out in one room on the floor for a few storage touchpoints.

 

Make Your Bed Do Double Duty

If you’re working with small square footage, a platform bed with drawers or one with under storage can help you make the most of an otherwise unused space in your bedroom. It’s a great solution for stowing away winter bedding, clothes, and extra sheets, linens, and pillows.  

 

Rethink a Bookshelf

Try an open bookcase beside your bed instead of a nightstand or table. This ups your storage (literally) by making use of wall space that’s often left empty next to your bed. Essentials—like an alarm clock, your iPhone, bedtime reading—can go on the lower shelves, while books, jewelry boxes, and even clothes can be stored on the upper ones. And since most open bookshelves are narrow, you’ll also be saving floor space.

 

 

Need to rethink storage in your space?

My Modsy Story: Finding a Solution for My Small, Awkward Living Room

We can all relate to Kevin Grieco’s “decorating paralysis” with his tiny living room. See how Modsy helped him move forward—and complete the space.

 

Homeowner: Kevin Grieco, systems engineer and IT whiz

Location: Medford, MA

Room: Tiny pass-through living room

His Style: Atomic Industrial

The Backstory

Turning 1300 Square Feet into a Home

My wife Toni (pictured above) and I live with our Corgi, Moose (also pictured above), in a small, single family house that we bought four years ago and never really ‘made a home’ due to decorating paralysis. It was gutted and refinished top to bottom so it looks fresh for a 100-year-old Colonial in Massachusetts, but at around 1300 square feet with six rooms spread across two floors, it’s a challenge to use the space efficiently. And our living room, in particular, was badly in need of some direction.

The Design Dilemma

Feeling overwhelmed (and paralyzed) by everything

Our big problem with the living room was a lack of vision. Despite the fact that we are both creative people in our own right, neither of us have ever had an eye for interior design. There is just something so challenging about conceptualizing what will be both beautiful and functional, especially in a small home where efficiency is at a premium. This “tetris” problem of figuring out the right furniture arrangement combined with our tendency to not look at decor holistically had left us feeling paralyzed and apathetic. So, our primary living space languished for years after we moved in. This was what we wanted to solve.

The Modsy Moment

When he finally had to google “interior design help oh god please help me i have no taste”

I first found out about Modsy through what I can only describe as digital flailings of desperation. I forget exactly what I googled to stumble upon Modsy, but it was something to the effect of “interior design help oh god please help me i have no taste.” Being an IT nerd and a visual person, the concept of a 3D rendering-based service immediately excited me and it was easy to convince my wife to give it a shot considering the low cost of entry compared to hiring a real-life designer.

How Modsy’s Renderings Helped Kevin

Finding and seeing the exact furniture he needed to buy, once and for all

When I first got the Modsy renderings my response contained expletives that I won’t include here. But suffice it to say that I was extremely impressed. I took screenshots of a few angles of the renderings and sent them to all my friends who had been in my living room, and they were equally dazzled.

I couldn’t believe how accurate it was and the various arrangements immediately gave us so many ideas about how we could break up our space. Being able to visually see finished layouts like that completely broke through our ‘designer’s block.’

We bought a few big, structure-defining pieces straight from the suggested products pages that the Modsy team sent us, and then added a few of our own antique and furniture store finds—something that we were able to do with relative confidence now that we had such a secure ‘grounding’ thanks to the Modsy Style team.

I must have sent 20 pages worth of wordy emails to my Modsy Style Advisor over the course of my experience, and she was so receptive and supportive of all my input every time, being both professional and personal in perfect balance. She provided me with at least three additional renderings and a dozen different decor options. I genuinely don’t think I have had a better customer service experience in my entire life.

I would recommend Modsy to anyone looking for a premium-feeling, highly personalized interior design experience for a fraction of hiring a traditional professional.

From render to reality. Kevin's living room is coming together based off his favorite Modsy designs.
From render to reality. Kevin's living room is coming together based off his favorite Modsy designs.
From render to reality. Kevin's living room is coming together based off his favorite Modsy designs.
From render to reality. Kevin's living room is coming together based off his favorite Modsy designs.

Need a little design help?

Try a Modsy rendering for yourself!

Make the Most out of Your Small Space: Ultimate Oscar Viewing Party Layout Guide

This Sunday the 2017 Oscars are airing, and that means it’s time to host your Oscar viewing party. A great viewing party (of any kind) means there are enough seats for everyone to sit and watch. But say you live in a one bedroom apartment? We know hosting in small spaces can be a challenge, so to help we created the ultimate oscar viewing party layout guide.

So while you focus on fine-tuning your guest list and preparing Pinterest-worthy snacks, we will make sure your living room layout is looking red carpet-ready before your guests arrive. Read on to learn how to create your ultimate Oscar viewing party layout and shop the products in our small-space collection!

Before Layout

Small Space layout guide before

After Layout

Small space living collection

 

Step 1: Maximize Seating

While “standing room only” might be great for a concert, having enough seats for guests is important. Here’s how we get the most booties in chairs and avoid cluttering your living room at the same time.

Backless Seating:

Benches and ottomans are great ways to add extra seating to your small space without over-stuffing it with bulky furniture.

  • Benches look great in a hallway or at the foot of your bed, and can easily be moved into the living room for extra seating when you need it.
  • You can also use two ottomans to make a bench. Break them up into two smaller seats when you need. The mid-century modern Soto Ottoman (Joybird) is one of our favorites.

Create movie theater rows:

Shorter people in the front, taller people in the back. This goes for seats as well. Place lower seats in the front and taller in the back so everyone has a great view of the TV.

  • Use bar stools to make a back row for your viewing party. In tight spaces we like to reduce the visual clutter by choosing clear options, like the Vapor Acrylic Counter Stools from CB2.

Before

Small space living collection

After

Small space living collection

 

Step 2: Maximize Surface Area

Now that you have all that seating, you will likely want some surfaces to go with it. We say don’t buy extra tables, but repurpose a few pieces you already have.

Two coffee tables are better than one:

In small spaces, having the flexibility to move your furniture is important. We say opt for two smaller coffee tables instead of one large one.

  • We used two of the Haptic 28” Coffee Tables (EQ3). Keep them together for daily use and separate them when you host to accommodate more people reaching for popcorn.

Pouf-perfect:

We love poufs because they are super versatile. Use them as a footrest or a stool, or even a side table.

  • We like the Braided Hemp Pouf (CB2) because it is substantial enough to support a tray with drinks and snacks.

Snack station:

A sneaky way to add storage behind your sofa, move your console table against an open wall when guests arrive for an impromptu buffet table.

Open bar (cart):

We always love a good bar cart. Chose one on wheels for a mobile drink station and wheel it out of the way when guests are over. We chose the Terrace Bar Cart from West Elm for its sleek design and small footprint.

Before

Small space living collection

After

Small space living collection

 

Step 3: Final Tricks

A few finishing touches to make your small space work for you.

Throw it on the floor:

Even your floor can be a nice seat if you add a little cushion. We love floor pillows as they are a simple way to add seating and can be conveniently stashed away when you don’t need them.

Mirror-mirror:

Nothing like a large reflective surface to make things look larger! Not so great for pores, but perfect for your living room. You can hang one like the Infinity Wall Mirror (CB2) above your sofa to help visually tie the room together.

Small space living collection

You don’t have to cram a bunch of furniture into your home only to find you rarely use it. Our layout guide is for both before and after the party, because the size of your home shouldn’t dictate your design choices. Share the guide with all your apartment-dwelling friends and shop the collection of small-space approved products below.

 

The Small Space Collection:

west elm

Leather Director’s Bench
CB2

Room & Board

View the Full Oscar Layout small space Guide Collection

You’re Gonna Make it After All

An Ode to Mary Tyler Moore and the Modern American Woman

Mary Tyler Moore, the ultimate lady hero, was an important and influential woman for a lot of people. At Modsy, we are a company founded and run by female leaders, and we would like to thank her for paving the way for us and other fierce females.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the first program to feature a single, independent, career-driven woman in a leading role. The show also marked one of the first instances that time prime-time TV turned an eye towards issues such as sex, birth control, and women in the workforce. Mary’s humorous, compassionate, and lively character offered a new depiction of the American Woman to her prime-time television viewers.

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To celebrate Mary Tyler Moore’s legacy and her memory, we designed a modern version of her studio apartment for our twenty-first century single (and career-driven) ladies. Like Mary’s, this apartment, also set in snowy Minneapolis, has an open floor plan that is divided into a living/dining and entertaining space, a small office area, and a bedroom.

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In the living room we selected a golden velvet sofa and the bold floral rug, inspired by Mary’s  studio apartment on the show. We ditched the coffee table in lieu of a small cocktail table that can be used for dining and entertaining – multi-purpose pieces are important for small-space living. The two mismatched side chairs create the sense that the space was designed in pieces with objects collected over time, as the apartments of many young adults are.

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Across from the living room is a small office nook, where we imagined our young career-driven dweller can study, work, or pay her or his bills on time.

For the bedroom we opted for a canopy bed to bring some drama to the space. Studio apartments mean that everything is on display – if people are going to see your bed, why not make it a statement?

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Designed spaces communicate identity; our homes are not only the places where we live, but they embody elements of who we are. In the mid-twentieth century, apart from Mary Tyler Moore and her studio apartment, the only other depiction of women and their homes in the media was of the suburban housewife. By contrast, the alternative home-based identity for males was that of the single, heterosexual bachelor who lived in his trendy, urban penthouse.

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A little seating nook hidden behind the dividing bookcase offers a private space for reading or relaxing with a glass of wine after a work day.

Images of such “bachelor pads” were showcased in Playboy Magazine alongside centerfolds of naked women. These were dwellings created for the educated, tech-savvy, elite male with ample disposable income and sex appeal. Mary Tyler Moore, by comparison, was also a single woman, living in an urban area, and focused on her career rather than finding a husband. Her home, as a trendy studio apartment communicates this, and she provides the female role model to her male, bachelor counterpart. Like the playboy bachelor pad, Mary’s home is open, designed for entertaining, and full of an eclectic mix of Mid-Century Modern and more traditional furnishings.

 

We love Mary Tyler Moore and are continuously inspired by her go-getter, boss lady attitude. Thank you Mary for being the incredible woman that you were, and for paving the way for the rest of us. Together we are going to make it after all.

Shop all the products in this collection below, or see it in your space with Modsy.

The Collection

 

Anthropologie

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