Faced with this task, I looked to e-interior design services for help. You may have seen ads about them in your inbox, Instagram, or on flyers at your local big brand furniture store. These services promise to make revamping your home as easy as a few clicks on a computer, so I put a few of them to the test to see if paying someone to restyle your house is worth the investment.
Fed up with free tools, I gave paid services a go. I was first introduced to e-interior design startup Havenly a few years ago at SXSW. The service promises to create a mood board, layout, and a shopping list to help make implementing the design easy — all under a flat rate instead of an hourly bill you might get with an in-person designer. (Havenly starts at $19 for a consultation, while the full experience is $169 for a bare room, with help on where to lay out each piece.)
Before moving in, I took photos of the unit (old tenant’s things and all) and measured all the walls and windows. The tool lets you click and drag walls around to fit any irregularly shaped rooms, or specify wall length and height. You may not find exact matches for your home materials but you can get pretty close. There were no options for steel floors that I could find, for example, but dark grey brick replicated the feel.
Naturally, there were some design challenges with the space itself. First, the apartment features steel floors, and we wanted a little bit of warmth to counter the industrial vibes. Second, we’re on the top floor, which has a sloped ceiling from the roof in the living room. Lastly, there is a brick feature wall that we cannot mount anything on, and it’s directly across from a west-facing window that could add glare to a TV.
Keeping these factors in mind, I tried out four different services to see how our main space could be laid out.
Some categories would also randomly disappear. A look under home entertainment did not offer anything resembling at TV I could stick into the room for a visual, even if it wasn’t my exact model. And I couldn’t find a single art piece to place on the wall to create any kind of interest in the room.