I Had My Living Room Designed From Scratch During Quarantine
Using the online service Havenly, my new living room was virtually designed from a blank slate — and then I got to put the whole damn thing together with my bare hands!
Hi, I'm Mike! Like most of you, I've been stuck at home since March. But perhaps unlike you, I moved into a new apartment on Friday the 13th of March (lol) — basically the moment before California was thrust into a state of lockdown.
The bad news was that I owned literally no furniture for my new living room. I had lived with a close friend for years prior to this and used her furniture. The good news is that I saw it as an opportunity to start fresh!
Through word of mouth, I heard about a website called Havenly that pairs you with an expert to virtually design your space for you. So I decided to take the plunge and embark on a home makeover journey!
Honestly, Havenly's Instagram alone convinced me I was in good hands.
I was matched with an amazing designer named Ella. She was a total sweetheart and made it clear that this would be a true collaboration. She wasn't just going to sweep in and tell me it was her way or the highway.
After taking a style quiz (see below), realizing I apparently love the mid-century modern aesthetic, and cobbling together a Pinterest board of inspo for Ella, we were cooking with gas.
The first possible direction was Warm Patterns. Definitely the most vibrant and warm palette, with boho textures and modern furniture.
The next option was Cozy Mid-Century Modern. It would use soft gray tones, a neutral palette, and be generally "classic."
The third option was Soft Blues. It would use pops of blues, cozy textures, and give off "breath of fresh air" vibes.
Now the real specific decisions started. Ella gave me options for all the furniture we could include in the room — including alternative styles at different price points.
With this new information, Ella compiled together these renderings of what my space would look like.
With this layout completed, it was time to take the plunge and open my wallet. Havenly made it pretty easy to order, because they coordinate with all the different vendors, and all I had to do was submit one order online (a millennial's dream).
That month was DEF the biggest credit card bill I've ever had. But I chose to look at all this new furniture as an "investment"! (Parents love to say shit like that, but I tried to embrace it.)
Before too long, it was time to annoy my neighbors with giant packages outside my door! All the vendors were doing no contact delivery for safety purposes, so I got my exercise dragging these boxes into my apartment.
The dining room table was the first item for me to assemble. Not too difficult! Just awkward for one person to maneuver.
The china cabinet was another story. I was determined to have a space to store my grandmother's china that was passed down to me, but I had no idea what a journey it would be to assemble.
After a very late night and a very long day, it was assembled. And you know what? I was marvelously proud of myself.
Next up was a beautiful mid-century modern TV stand. But like all good things, there was no immediate gratification here either.
But the middle of the night is a wild time, and who am I to question the arrival of the elusive nymph known as "motivation"?!
BLAM! Look at me go. I'm unstoppable.
Unrelated: if there's anything this design experience has taught me, it's that one should never underestimate the power of throw blankets.
The first pair of curtains that arrived were too short, because I never measured the height of the windows. Oops ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Fortunately, it was easy to exchange the curtains for a longer set that were no longer crop top length!
I was very excited for my new couch to arrive, especially since I'd splurged for a sectional with a pull-out bed. A bed for all the guests I'll be able to have...a year from now. :( :(
I also took a trip to a local plant nursery (which are deemed essential businesses — who knew?!) to spice up the space even more. See the results for yourself!
So after this experience, what are my takeaways?
• The prices for actually signing up for a Havenly makeover are more reasonable than I expected (as of this date of publication: $79 to update an existing space, $129 for a complete makeover or blank canvas). I for sure thought hiring an interior designer would be thousands and thousands of dollars alone, so I was pretty pumped to hear this.
• Your designer will work with you to find a plan that works for your budget. Just don't forget about shipping prices! Those are the ones that snuck up on me.
• It's truly a collaborative process! You should never feel pressured to go in a direction that you don't love. I was able to workshop my design with Ella until it got to a place where I was obsessed with it.
• Be prepared for a lot of furniture assembly. In times where there isn't a devastating worldwide pandemic, many vendors offer an option of assembly if you pay extra. That isn't happening anytime soon, but hey! It feels great to put something together with your bare hands.
• Have a friend you trust on call to help with heavy lifting. Don't be cocky like me and attempt it all yourself.
• Enjoy the birth of your beautiful new space! If this is something you decide to invest in, it's a wonderful distraction and a great creative outlet to keep you from spiraling about the state of the world.
As one last bonus: Havenly sent over this 3D rendering of my space. If you lied and told me it was a photo, I would 100% believe you.
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