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One Brooklyn Apartment, Two Ways

An Easy Way to Decorate

Maureen, our partnerships manager, just moved into a new apartment and was stumped on how to lay out furniture. So, she turned to Modsy, the online interior design service that creates super realistic, 3D designs of your rooms. Here’s what they came up with…

modsy interior design

When moving in, Maureen was excited by the big windows, but beyond that, figuring out the living room was a challenge. “We sold some of our furniture before moving,” she explains. “Our previous apartment was a mishmash of my worn-out Ikea stuff and Frank’s old stuff from life before marriage, and we wanted this space to feel like a mutually designed space of our own. We wanted to carefully choose pieces we’ll keep forever.”

Enter Modsy. First, you take a quick style quiz about your preferences and let Modsy know what preexisting furniture you already own. They ask for your budget, so recommendations will be in your preferred price range. You also send Modsy “before” photos of your space and basic measurements. Then — boom! — they provide beautifully designed renderings with possible layouts. (These design packages start at $49.)

Modsy sent two different designs for Maureen’s apartment, below — which do you prefer?

Design #1

modsy interior design

Maureen really wanted an L-shaped couch, which she had mentioned to Modsy: “As much as we try not to have dinner in front of the TV, that’s what we often do, and we wanted a couch that would work with that.” Modsy lets you virtually “try on” furniture, so you can see how shoppable items will look in your space.

modsy interior design

“I’m bad at visualizing, so it was fun to see all the angles of the room, including where Modsy suggests hanging art,” says Maureen.

modsy interior design

Modsy will also send revisions on your room’s designs. So if there’s something that isn’t working for you, or if you’d like to see it with a different piece or color palette, you can easily do that.

modsy interior design

“I liked how they suggested a console table to throw the mail and keys onto when we come in the door. I never thought something like that would fit, but it actually looks great!”

modsy interior design

They even send an overhead floor plan, so you can see where everything goes.

Design #2

modsy interior design

“It was interesting to see a couple different versions of the same room,” Maureen says. “I wouldn’t have thought to put the couch on this side, or to place a rug under the dining room table. We liked how that looked and are planning to do that!”

modsy interior design

“Modsy did a great job capturing our clean, modern aesthetic,” says Maureen. “Now I don’t have to drag Frank to a thousand furniture stores, because we could see how everything worked together rather than shopping piece by piece. When we first got the photos back, he texted me approximately 4,000 times to tell me how much he liked it.”

modsy interior design

Modsy is happy to work with your preexisting furniture, but if you need any new pieces, Modsy suggests furniture that is easily shoppable from places like West Elm and Crate & Barrel. If you decide to purchase any of their suggested items, you can buy them straight from Modsy, at a discount.

modsy interior design

Which of these layouts do you like better? Maureen and Frank especially loved the cream sofa for lounging. Do you have any spaces you’re currently putting together? If you’re designing a new space or hoping to brighten up an old one, Modsy can be a big help. It’s also great for tricky spaces — like turning an office into a nursery or working with small spaces or weird dimensions.

Great news for Cup of Jo readers: Modsy is offering 20% off with code JO20. Thank you so much, Modsy!

(Photos of Maureen by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Modsy, a brand we love. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cup of Jo running.)

  1. Mer says...

    Just flagging this for the international CoJ readers – this service isn’t available outside the US yet. :( Just tried from Canada. womp womp

  2. Rachel says...

    Did you get a Modsy designer from the classic, premium or luxe level?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      maureen did the classic level. hope that helps!

  3. Kelsey says...

    #1 is fav, for sure!

  4. karen says...

    Love that dining table in Design#1! Any idea where it is from?

  5. Jj says...

    Next time we’re up for living room furniture, in absolutely doing this! So fun to see it before you commit.
    (And #1 if the fave, for good measure)

  6. Kate says...

    We used Modsy for our living room (tricky layout) and absolutely loved it. Great results and great service – highly recommend!

  7. Stephanie says...

    We used Modsy to re-decorate our living room/dining room, and loved the design service!

    BUT, I wanted to warn folks – do notnotnot order any furniture, etc. through their website “concierge” service. We have found it really to be lacking, and just frustrating in the end (very difficult to make returns, you can’t track your packages yourself but instead have to ask Modsy for updates, etc.).

    • Cheryl says...

      If you order through the concierge service, you get additional discounts.

  8. Allison says...

    wow, this service seems great – even if just for layout ideas! i know my living room could be set up in a much better and more interesting way, but i can’t seem to figure it out. i’d sign up just for that!

  9. Vanessa says...

    I don’t know how anyone can have so few “things.” Empty as they are in the renderings the rooms look clean and spacious, but I can’t help but think in a small apartment a console should provide storage not just a surface, a coffee table should have drawers, the shelves should include a couple of doors on them, the side tables too.

    That said, I like #1 better. It’s lighter.

  10. Kim says...

    It looks like you can get the best of both worlds and don’t need to be committed to one! Pick and choose your favorite pieces of furniture (I do like the console table and bookshelf, which I own, in 1). Since the sofa is the same in both, you can rearrange between the two styles whenever you want!

    • Alice says...

      Hi, I was hoping to use the Cup of Jo promo code with Modsy just now but the Modsy website said the promo had expired. Is there any way COJ can get an extension on the promo for another week? I promise I’ll act fast!

  11. Mary says...

    Love #1! Can you share where the L-shaped couch is from?

  12. Jackie says...

    What I don’t love about #2 is how “left heavy” the room is, and how that’s the first thing people will see walking into the door. (Bookshelf, plant, and table all smushed together at first sight). It makes that small space seem too cluttered and unbalanced. But we are looking at renditions and it may not be that jarring in person.

    • Kat says...

      Agreed! #1 is my fave.

  13. Maiz says...

    #2 by a mile! But, I’d take the dining room bookshelf, console table and mirror from #1, and just switch what side they’re on. Also, no small rug under the table for me!

    Also, if you already have or are considering having pets or children in the next 5 years, I would suggest a darker color for your couch. As gorgeous as it looks now, you’ll be constantly trying to protect it, and it will look perpetually dirty no matter what you do! A couch is such a big investment, and you won’t want to have to change or reupholster it any time soon.

  14. I prefer the more open layout to #1 (but I like the dining table/chairs better in #2). I know you like the rug under the table, but I’d suggest not doing it. You will never want to vacuum it, and a dark color will need to get vacuumed — all of the time — even if you never eat there.

  15. Katie says...

    Number 1 😀

  16. A says...

    This type of service worries me. If it’s really that cheap then how much can they possibly be paying the designers who are working for them? Or do they just have a dozen “designs” that they tweak slightly for each customer? Which I guess isn’t such a bad thing…? I don’t know – good design is not cheap and it should be accessible – but that’s what hgtv is for right?

  17. Shena says...

    I think number two looks more homey and warmer. The blue looks really pretty.

  18. Nina says...

    I like 2 because I don’t like the couch in front of the windows and I like how the couch kinda makes it two different rooms however, for conversations having it more open is nice too. I don’t like the tiny rug under the dining table because half your chair will be on the rug and half off. ugh. this is cool though.

    • Alina says...

      I have seen that design with the rug before and really liked it,but somehow it felt like it wouldn’t work, even though I couldn’t say why. And now reading your comment I have found the why.

  19. Kristen says...

    The too small dining rug bothered me a lot too — seems like a rookie design mistake!? But otherwise both rooms look really nice; I prefer #1.

    • Lisa says...

      First thing I noticed was the too small dining table rug. Does seem like a rookie mistake as even I being designed-challenged know not to do that!

  20. Sarah says...

    I looooove Modsy and am so glad CoJ is featuring it! I love that they can include existing pieces in your rendering, so we knew what would go with our existing blue couch and dining table. Also we told the designer that we couldn’t hang heavy things like mirrors, and I loved that she was careful to give us designs that we could actually execute. I also loved, being the control freak I am, that I could go into the online studio and design my own version and cobble together parts of the various designs we liked. I haven’t actually bought the stuff yet, but man do I enjoy the cheap thrill of seeing my own home look so put together and curated, even if it is not real (yet!).

  21. Kim says...

    #2 for layout and for the beautiful blue colors. LOVE the couch facing the windows.

  22. Holly says...

    Design two! I prefer the blue dining chairs to the white ones.

  23. Jane says...

    Forgot to add earlier: And the couch table from #1, obviously. It compliments the structure of the windows well

  24. STEFANIE FARQUHARSON says...

    Living Room #1 with Dining Table #2

    • Jane says...

      My 2 cents: #2, loose the rug, use the console from #1.
      #2 looks muchs more interesting to me, #1 would bore me very soon. I also love the pops of color in #2 and especially the fact that it accentuates those gorgeous, gorgeous windows so well.

      Excited to see what you pick!

  25. Erin says...

    I like how the couch placement in #2 delineates the space a bit and faces the big window, and the tv feels less prominent in that position. Also, as someone who spends lots of time on my couch, I wouldn’t want to be in the direct path of that air conditioner. Cold air blowing on me is not something I generally enjoy.

    • Maggie says...

      Eagle eyes! I didn’t even notice that. I wonder if they can shift it to another window if they go with that layout?

  26. What a cool service! #1 for me! Feels cosy and airy in the same time.

  27. lee says...

    Wow! What a cool service! I like #2. We have a similar space in that the dining room/entryway/living room are the same room and we found that it is nice to have the couch make a sort-of divider from the different distinct spaces. We also faced our couch towards the window, because some times it is nice to just stare at the huge pine tree outside our window (we live in DC, but are lucky to have a “nature” view from one window).

  28. iz says...

    Can you do a follow up on what she actually decided to go with and how she designs? For what it’s worth, my pick is #1!

  29. Jackie says...

    I really love the placement of the couch in #1. I don’t like how the couch in #2 cuts the rooms apart. I know that’s a trend, but the room looks so happy and big with the couch in position #1.

  30. Holly says...

    I used Modsy to help with some furniture and rug purchases, and it is super helpful to be able to visualize things in your space.

    But I have to issue a PSA: The rug in #2 is not the right size! Rugs need to be big enough for chairs to be pushed in and out when people to get up without catching on the edge of the rug.

    • Sue says...

      I was thinking the same thing! It looks so awkward and would drive me crazy when anyone went to sit at the the table.

  31. Sasha says...

    Just my 2 cents. I think #2 is better in terms of TV placement (you do not see it immediately when entering the apartment). Also, I like the 2 chairs by the window to get some natural light for reading and sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning. I sit on my couch at night to watch TV :)

    But #1 is good, if you have people over a lot. You can easily move chairs out of the way for a gathering.

  32. Longdenlife says...

    Depending on what you can see outside the windows, I would say number 2 so you can look out when sitting on the sofa. If the view is of a brick wall, number 1

  33. Dora says...

    Hi Reenie! Love the apartment and I also like number 1 :)

    • Maureen says...

      Hi hi! Thank you! :)

  34. Shannon says...

    Design #1 for sure!!! Beautiful!!!

  35. Jo says...

    WHOA! My teenage fantasies coming true!! I used to cut out pictures of things and put them on design boards…then pinterest came along and my heart was won. Now this?! I play on Planner 5d all day long but they never have pieces you can work with that are cute. The free ones look like furniture from my pediatric dentist’s office. This is amazing….now I want this for every room of our house!

  36. Stacie Martin says...

    Something about the second design feels a bit “hotel room” to me – maybe the use of the sectional to divide the room and the less tonal color palette. It certainly doesn’t look bad, just less personal and collected looking. With the exception of the white spindle chairs, I love the first design! The furniture arrangement feels more elegant and the accessories and art support the more neutral palette. I’d switch those Windsor chairs out with either the velvet ones from #2 or go with a darker wood stain chair for a little contrast.

  37. Holly says...

    For sure #1. It feels so cozy yet modern!
    I do like the kitchen table and chairs better in #2 so maybe swap those :)

  38. Laurie says...

    Definitely #1. It’s elegant, warm, and seems to flow better.

  39. Cynthia says...

    Layout #1 makes the area look larger. I do like the white dining room chairs.

  40. Joanna says...

    #1 ! Also love Maureen’s top . . . where’s it from?

    • Maureen says...

      Thank you so much! It’s Dôen!

  41. Cait says...

    Can you please let us know where the fiddle leaf fig is from in the first pic? It is the exact thing I want for my new living room and I’m struggling to find one that is already fuller (I’m not against having to care for something for it to grow, I’m just trying to fill up a corner and I feel like a younger tree in the big corner will end up looking like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.)

    • Maureen says...

      Hi Cait! It was tiny with about 5 leaves when I bought it 5 years ago from a local store in Brookyln! Lots of love, indirect light and putting in the shower to keep the leaves clean helped it grow to that size! :)

    • Agnes says...

      Maureen, how often do you put it in the shower? I have 3 of these babies (2 years plus) and they are getting so full of leaves but not really taller. Thank you! :)

    • Maureen says...

      About once a month!

    • Emiley says...

      Hi Cait, I’m not sure if you live by a Costco but I was there today and they had BEAUTIFUL, healthy and super tall fiddle leaf figs for $50. They were easily 4-5 feet tall and very full and happy looking. Not sure if you will see this, but thought I would let you know just in case!

  42. Sarah says...

    Another vote for #1! It’s beautiful!

    I also firmly love an L-shaped couch for snuggling with partners and pets. I got one knowing it probably was too big for my room from a design standpoint, but have no regrets. It’s the comfy headquarters of our home! (At still looks pretty great, IMO!)

  43. I wouldn’t like to linger on those spindly dining room chairs in #1 . . . but they do allow more light and flow across the room — whereas the blue ones in 2 stop you in your tracks.

  44. #1 is perfection. But I’d suggest using the floor plan and go shopping locally for pieces that fit the general layout. I firmly believe you should sit/lounge on/touch basic pieces.

    And yeah, those spindle chairs are not in sync with the space (or probably with Maureen’s aesthetic….

  45. cilla says...

    When I saw #1, i was “Mah” – i’ve seen something similar in many different places.
    and #2 is just WOW

  46. Taylor Jacob says...

    I love number 1, totally my style!

  47. Susi says...

    I prefer #1. Can anyone tell me what brand the white lounge chairs are in #1? They’re beautiful.

    • Maureen says...

      Hi Susi! They are from Anthropologie! http://bit.ly/2mmgA2n

  48. MJ says...

    Well, I’m in the minority. I definitely prefer #2. It seems a shame with that gorgeous window to have your back to it all the time. And I really like the dining room chairs in #2; they look so comfy.
    I scanned the comments and a common theme seems to be that number 1 is “better for entertaining.” My experience–obviously not scientific–is that one spends a lot more time in one’s home not entertaining than entertaining. I’d rather have more distinct “rooms” and a room with a view than not.

  49. Charity says...

    For entertaining I think you might be happier with #1. The chairs are a movable reality between the two spaces and allow for a big group or for part of the group to join another section of the room. Instead of being ruled by the “I cut your space in half couch” you have options. I think the natural light flowing over your shoulder as you read on the couch would be heavenly in #1. I also like the floor view of all the legs looking from the dining space to the living room better in #1 than #2. It is lighter and less cluttered in appearance. The legs just look happier less dumpy. See picture 3 of #1 versus picture 1 of #2. I think you can incorporate the rich blue easily in #1 using books, textured ceramics on the shelves and perhaps some lovely Italian blown blue glass bowl to collect your keys in! One can dream!

  50. Denise R says...

    1

  51. Maria says...

    #1
    It felt lighter and cozier

  52. Hannah says...

    #1 for the living room/couch layout – much better flow, but take the dining room style of #2 – the spindle backed chairs in #1 look a little out of place to me. I think the smaller console in #1 also makes it feel more spacious – the taller bookcase there in #2 feels too heavy.

  53. L&W says...

    Does anyone know of a similar service for landscape design? We just moved into our new house. It was previously rented, the yard died without care, and all we have left is a blank brown slate. What is worse is that our house is an Eichler. We watch the wind whip dust into mini tornados through our walls of glass.

    • Aimee says...

      Tilly! It’s my friend’s company and they’re the real deal: https://tilly-design.com/

      Also, definitely #1. I think you’ll regret cutting the living space in half. And that metal and wood bookshelf along the wall is so cool.

    • Beverly Fisher says...

      Please contact me if you would like some assistance. I work on landscape design in a similar manner.

    • Jill says...

      Yes! I need this!!!

    • Lex says...

      I second Tilly! Their process is super convenient and affordable.

  54. sc says...

    Wow I can’t believe how nice this looks!!

  55. Kim says...

    I like most of the furniture in #1, but prefer the configuration (and dining room table) of #2. I’d prefer not to have the sofa splitting up the room, though. It’s always nice to walk into a place and not immediately see the TV.

  56. Christine says...

    Just an FYI, companies like these are good for offering customers options, but not always so great to work for.
    https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Modsy/reviews

    Like Uber, Seamless, etc., if it seems lower cost than it should be, it’s because the gig economy underpays it’s employee.

    But aside from that, I like option 1 better.

    • Blandine says...

      Thank you for sharing. The gig economy is really worrying.

    • Mary W says...

      Wow! Thanks for the heads up.

    • Ellen says...

      Good to know…

  57. M says...

    #2! The couch facing the window is important. E

  58. Kara says...

    I like layout #1 better, but I like alllll of the chairs in #2 better.

  59. Beth says...

    Love #1 so much!

  60. Christine Hart says...

    I love the pair of abstract paintings in #2. Source please!!

  61. charity says...

    #1

  62. Jenny says...

    I prefer the layout of #1 – I think the couch positioning is more open and inviting and flows better. And I adore the tv stand! I think if you swap out the dining room chairs in #1 with the chairs from #2 (or something similar) it would be a winner!

  63. Sarah T says...

    I love the layout of one but replace with the dining table and chairs of number two. What a sweet program!

    • Jeanne says...

      Second this vote. #1 has better flow but prefer the style and color of the #2 dining chairs.

    • Agree!

  64. Stella says...

    Soooooo disappointed they don’t offer their service to international customers! I live in Europe and would have LOVED their help!!

  65. Laura says...

    #2! I like the blue tones and I think this one does a better job of dividing the space between living and dining.

  66. Kathy says...

    That rug is too small for the dining room – you need room to pull the chairs out and push them back in without any legs going off the rug. Surprised Modsy would do that, seems like a super basic consideration.

    • LP says...

      Agreed! Almost as jarring as not putting a rug under it at all. Rugs save furniture and living spaces from looking unfinished/unmoored.

    • TG says...

      According to what rules? Design should be fluid and personal.

    • Sarah says...

      The smaller sized rug also caught my eye— but also think skipping the rug would be fine! A dining room rug isn’t always practical, in my opinion.

    • Meg says...

      This is SOO personal! I think a rug under the dining table is just super disgusting!! Sorry!

  67. Jeannie says...

    I’ve used Modsy and loved it! I recommend it to people all the time… if you look at the designs on your phone, they have a cool feature where you can stand in the middle of your (actual) room and “see” your design while you move your phone around… it’s pretty cool!

  68. Kristin says...

    I am a residential architect and it’s great to see an inexpensive service that helps people layout their furniture! You would be surprised at how many people have trouble with this (it’s the number one thing friends ask for my advice on). Nice job, Modsy. Good looking renderings, too!

    I prefer option 1. The room doesn’t function as well with the sectional dividing the living space into two, smaller areas.

  69. #1 all the way!

    That’s a really great service. Can’t believe the price.

    So worth it, even if you’re a professional designer.

  70. Kimberly Spencer says...

    At first, I thought this was a before and after. Having said that, my choice is obviously #2.
    If you do go with #1, I think the white chairs are too small/look out of place. :-) Otherwise, beautiful!

    • Lucy says...

      #1 is brighter and more inviting, and the layout works better.