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Is This the Future of Furniture Shopping?

TechIs This the Future of Furniture Shopping?

Tech start-up Modsy wants to disrupt the interior design and e-commerce space. Will they really revolutionize the way we decorate?

You know that sinking feeling. It's Saturday, you've been furniture shopping for hours, and now you're trying to visualize how that $5,000 sofa from Design Within Reach will look in your living room. Will it fit? Is the color right? Will this stand up to wear and tear from your pet or toddler? Is there a similar, less expensive version out there that you don't about?

The new website Modsy is hoping to help. Straight out of Silicon Valley (of course), it's the brainchild of a Google Ventures partner with a background in 3-D modeling and gaming who wants to disrupt the interior design world. Modsy uses bleeding edge technology to create a redesigned space complete with VR rendering, new furniture and accessories that match your style and preferred colors, budget, storage needs, and kid and pet situations. If you love the console from CB2 featured in your living room, you can buy directly from the site. Or switch the product out and browse similar options from more than 100 retailers, including Room + Board, RH, Design Within Reach, and West Elm.

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As the recent owner of a new apartment, I took Modsy for a test drive. First, I took a quiz to determine my style profile (will you be an industrial visionary or mod visionary like me?). Next, I chose some furniture, rugs, and other accessories Modsy thought I'd like based on my style profile. Then, I entered my zip code, what I needed help with (moving to a new space), and type of home (modern apartment). So far, so good, and pretty fun and easy.

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Then, I chose the room I wanted to start with (living room and office) and which design package. For $199, you can try the base service for two designs of a room. The next tier runs $299 per room and includes phone or email consultations with the Modsy style team, plus a 10% discount on any furniture purchased through Modsy. The highest level will set you back $1,800 per room, but you get hands-on interior design help from one of the Modsy vetted interior designers. And yes, there are other sites like Decorist, Laurel and Wolf, Homepolish and Havenly that connect consumers with remote interior designers, but none give users the ability to control the design process or switch out furniture in such a realistic way.

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Now that it's time to design: stand in the center of your room, snap photos towards each corner, and then, from each corner, take four more photos towards the center, give dimensions, and ta-da. You get to play house and see what your home would look like with virtually staged furniture. The best part by far are the VR features (please check this out on mobile!) for my living room and study. So this is what my apartment could look like!

I also loved scrolling through hundreds of possible replacements for items currently in my designs. There's currently no other site that curates so many options for the home. That being said, even though it's easy to buy directly from Modsy, would I really want to purchase a sofa or chair without sitting in it? The answer's no for me, but maybe not for everyone.

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My one complaint is I really wanted the ability to move, say, the sofa from one wall to another (see images above) without emailing my style consultant. Currently, when you do replace the jute rug from Pottery Barn with sisal from Restoration Hardware, you have to wait 48 hours for the Modsy team to manually update the design. The company says they are working to automate that in the future.

While Modsy is being targeted to people wanting to update their current space and moving into a new space, I felt like this would be most useful for those trying to picture what an empty space could be filled with. Is the site perfect? No, but will it help hoards of people unable to transpose what they see in showrooms or online to their homes. One small step for mankind; one giant leap for interior design.

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