Moving in together is a big step, and what trips many couples up is coming up with decorating ideas that 1) take full advantage of your space (lookin' at you, NYC shoebox studio apartments) and 2) don't feel particularly biased towards one party. (That means no hockey posters and no outrageously expensive throw pillows in my case.)
Enter, Modsy — the interior home design service that takes user-submitted photos and creates an uncanny 3-D rendering of your actual space, and then helps you figure out what to put in it based on personal style and price point. With its high-quality graphics, 360-degree viewing feature, and the ability to click, drag, and swap out pieces, it feels like a video game. And if you're interested in turning the virtual into reality, you can click through to purchase anything you see from Modsy's catalogue featuring brands like Crate & Barrel, AllModern, Anthropologie, CB2, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Wayfair.
Ok, I realize I threw a lot at you really fast, so let's walk through how it works step-by-step.
First, head to Modsy.com and take the style quiz.
More games! From a collage of room photos, you'll select the three that most speak to your soul. Then, you'll be shown a breakdown of items that could be in those types of rooms, and for each one you're instructed to "heart," "x," or leave unmarked. After my first round with the style quiz, my results were "Comfortably Chic" with the disclaimer:
"You want your house to feel like a comfortable and inviting home, but can't ignore that little voice inside screaming, 'More gold, more silver, more pattern, more drama!' Your style draws on these bold aspects to elevate your space. Comfortably Chic combines Transitional and Hollywood Glam with a touch of Rustic."
I felt SO seen — admittedly a little #basic, but clean, modern, minimalist and a tad fab. But then I remembered all the Brides.com articles I've read about the importance of compromise, so it was time to play again with my fiancé. (BTW, you can take the addictive quiz multiple times, and if you still don't feel like Modsy is picking up what you're clicking down, there's a form you can fill out to describe your aesthetic in as much detail as you want.) We landed on "Mod Visionary," which told us:
"You dig a retro look almost as much as you crave a clean space. Sleek forms and modern styling are your weakness. You thrive in monochromatic spaces and can easily imagine yourself seated on an iconic piece such as an Eames lounge or Barcelona chair."
Now it's time to measure and send pics of the room you'd like for Modsy to design. Great news! Crappy, slightly blurry iPhone shots are totally fine. Here's an example of one I submitted of our dining space/living room:
Modsy asks for eight photos from different vantage points so their 3-D model can be as accurate as possible and provides explainers on exactly how to take the pictures — i.e. make sure the ceiling and floor both make it in. (I did not read the instructions at first and had to retake. Oops.)
Next up, finalizing "Your Vision" by specifying budget, brand preferences, your plans for how the space will be used, and whether or not you'd like them to incorporate any existing furniture. We chose the lowest budget tier (under $2500)—because um, we're planning a wedding, ha—shouted out CB2 and AllModern, and asked the Modsy team to accommodate both a Burrow couch and an Ikea dresser.
Here's the not-so-fun part where we talk about money. With the Modsy Essential package, you're looking at $59 per room for two design plans that will arrive within three weeks of your request and unlimited revisions. Modsy Plus ($79/room) gets your designs back in under two weeks and grants access to the Insider Rewards membership that allows you to save money if you spend a certain amount (starting at a savings of $50 on a spend of $500), and Modsy Premium ($149/room) returns designs to you in six days or less and pairs you up with a Modsy Designer for private 1:1 sessions.
Here's the fun part where Matt (my fiancé) and I received our designs!
There were a few minutes of silence as we "toured" them both in 3-D, until Matt broke it with, "Wow. I actually really like these," and I cheered because I was obviously obsessed. (Look at those mudcloth pillows!) During our half hour one-on-one sesh (there are no limits in terms of length or frequency of sessions, Modsy says!), we had our Modsy Designer, the extremely talented and lovely Karina Lameraner, switch up the layout a little bit, and substitute in some less-expensive objects that still fit in with our design aesthetic. (Matt to Jessie: "You are the love of my life and I would do anything for you, but we are not buying $450 chairs.")
Aaaand, drumroll, please — here's our updated (slightly more affordable!) design:
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the service. I can't overhype how cool it was to see such a realistic rendering of our living room transformed into a place we'd actually be proud to hang out in and host others. Not only did Modsy help us to optimally utilize a very small amount of space, but it curated tons of decorating ideas that legitimately pleased both of our aesthetics. I also found the website very interactive and pretty intuitive; it was lots of fun to spend time on there "playing" with our designs. And the Modsy team couldn't have been friendlier or more responsive. Our updated design was in our account within 48 hours.
But my favorite part was how much of a role Matt and I played in the process. In identifying our practical needs for the room and our stylistic preferences, we were able to work with our designer to create a living space that was perfectly tailored to us — equal parts functional and an artistic representative of who we are as a couple. (It sounds corny, but that's something really special.)
"All of our clients come in with a vision, and it's so cool to see that vision then evolve," Lameraner told me at one point. "Our whole goal is about empowering our customers to really believe in their style choices. We're here to give guidance, but you're in the driver's seat. Be confident."
So go forth, y'all! If you need me, I'll be ordering some pillows...