Can Modsy help turn a baby bedroom into a big kid hangout?
Say goodbye to cribs and hello to bunk beds.
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In the age of HGTV, DIY Network, and Etsy, everyone thinks they have an eye for design. We know what couches, art, fabrics, and aesthetics we like and which ones we think are absolute garbage.
The problem most often comes, though, when we’re challenged with executing what we like. What size drapes do you actually need? Will that couch fit through your front door? And why did that paint color look one way on the sample and one way on the wall?
The only time designing is even a little easy is when you’re a parent putting together a room for a new baby. You pick a theme—let’s say it’s animals—and you buy a bunch of animal stuff and some neutral furniture. Once you’ve ticked all the boxes, you can just nest in peace until the little babe arrives.
When babies turn into toddlers who then turn into kids, though, you don’t need the rocker, and the dresser that once perfectly held all their tiny onesies no longer holds all those big kid pajamas. And if you’re anything like we are, you’re also bound to realize that the adorable mid-century modern floor lamp you bought might have worked around a tiny immobile infant, but a toddler alone in a room with anything breakable is a recipe for disaster.
Even for those parents who know they need to update their kids’ rooms, it’s often hard to navigate the sometimes abysmal marketplace of children’s furniture and accessories. If you’re designing for a toddler who likes Paw Patrol, there are a lot of drapes, sheets, and lamps out there for you, but when your kid decides in two years that he likes Lego instead, are you going to have to shell out for a whole new look? What about girls who like pink, but also like skeletons? Or adults with a sleek design aesthetic who just aren’t down with their kids’ rooms having all Mickey Mouse everything?
It can be overwhelming for parents who already have a lot to deal with, especially these days. That’s where Modsy aims to help. The online interior design service claims to match customers with an experienced designer who, using photos and measurements you submit along with mood boards and design quizzes, will redesign your space. If you can give them a budget, attention, and a couple of weeks, they say, they’ll send you a 360-degree rendering of your new room, along with a shopping list and a plan of attack.
It’s an appealing proposal, and one that Reviewed has tackled before from a more design-focused perspective. But what about from a practical, parenting perspective? Could Modsy take our room, home to boy-girl toddler twins growing into big kid beds and wrecking ball-like agility, and make it a space that’s not just cute, but also cohesive? We found out.
How does Modsy work and how much does it cost?
Once you tell Modsy the room you’d like to make, why you’re redesigning the space, and how much existing furniture you have, you’ll be asked to pick a package. The costs seem a little steep: It’s $159 to do one room, $299 for two or more rooms, and $499 for the “luxe” package, which can include a more experienced interior designer or advice on structural or larger scale changes you can make to your space.
Once you’ve ponied up, you’ll be directed to Modsy’s design style quiz, which anyone can actually check out for themselves on the Modsy site. Since we indicated we were doing a kid’s bedroom, our images leaned more toward babies’ rooms and playrooms, but it’s mostly the same thing. When we took the quiz, we ended up with the eerily-spot-on designation of “rustic traveler,” which Modsy says combines rustic, eclectic, and mid-century modern designs, all with a flea market flare.
After that, Modsy hits you with some sample rooms, and you can click on items or rooms you’re particularly hot on. It’s a bit like making a Pinterest board, but one you can actually shop from. Once you’ve chosen enough items there, Modsy asks you for a budget for each item you’ll need. How much are you willing to spend on a chair? A bed? Curtains? Total? We opted for the most affordable windows offered given the hits my family has taken in the pandemic and because, honestly, I’m a little cheap and I love to reuse things. If I can buy a used dresser for half the price of a new one, I’m doing it—especially where kids are concerned.
Finally, you’ll be asked for final notes—we said our kids have a lot of books and that we’d love a place to read, as well as a larger dresser—and pictures and measurements of the room you’re designing. You’ll need to send at least eight different angles, a number of measurements (window to wall, window to floor, door height, etc.), and links or pictures of any furniture or items that you’re especially committed to. We have a Roxy Marj tiger rug we love, so we sent that as an inspiration piece.
Who does the actual designing?
In this case, our designer was a woman introduced to us as just Sarah M. She contacted us the day after we submitted all our info and set up a 15-minute initial video consultation to feel out our needs and vibes, and was very nice. Weirdly, though, she was using a Zoom background for our conversation, meaning we couldn’t see her actual space, which could have been nice for building confidence in the process. She didn’t really show any credentials or references beyond being Modsy approved, either, but she seemed to get what we were going for, and was, truly, a lovely person to work with.
How long does Modsy take?
Once we met with Sarah, it took about three days for her to get back to us with initial layouts. She proposed two options, one of which included the idea of using a dresser as a shared nightstand. It’s something we’d seen and loved, and something that solved one of our issues. She recommended one of the layouts, and asked for feedback. We agreed with her layout choice, but said we’d also love to see how it would look as our kids’ toddler beds turned into twin beds.
Six days later, she hit me back with two actual, in-color designs, and, honestly, we just about cried. The images were great, and also took me on a bit of a journey as a parent. This was my little shrimps’ existing room, but pulled together and styled as if they were big kids. I had big kids! The rooms were colorful, like I wanted, and perfect for their (and my) aesthetic. All the options addressed our issues, and she provided pictures of what the rooms would look like with both cribs and twin beds. There were things I didn’t love—she threw a playhouse in there, and we like to read on the floor as a family at night—but I sent back notes and she addressed them with new, updated designs three days later. All in all, with revisions, the whole process took about three weeks, from taking the quizzes to landing on designs.
What did we love about Modsy?
We liked working with our Modsy designer and feel like she really got what we were going for. She seemed to have fun with the project, and the result was picture perfect.
Beyond that, Modsy was incredibly easy. If you’re busy, design-inept, or just overwhelmed, you could have a whole room designed, ordered, and thrown together in about a month depending on how fast USPS is working. The company works with brand partners like Crate and Barrel, so every item a designer chooses is available for purchase. Modsy also barrages you with coupons once your design is complete, offering percentages off items, percentages off certain amounts spent with their partners, and so on.
What’s not great about Modsy?
So, about those brand partners: They’re not Ikea, Target, and all the other budget furniture places a lot of us might be used to shopping. They work with a number of companies that make great items, like West Elm, Joybird, and Anthropologie, but since we’re designing a young kids’ room, we didn’t love that the first designs that Sarah sent over featured a $2,000 dresser that, while wildly cute, probably wasn’t the best choice given inevitable juice spills, sticker murals, and 24-hour flu bugs. It’s one of the things we asked to be changed in the revision, and to Sarah’s credit, she made the change and gave us more affordable options in the $600 range.
We get it—we’ve done some shopping, and dressers are expensive—but it was kind of a hard pill to swallow. Honestly, we’d probably use the measurements of the dresser she chose and start looking for something comparable elsewhere online, or on resale sites and apps.
In that same vein, the initial budget we set for the project according to Modsy was $2,080 to $4,300. We know that we had a lot of asks, and that for twins, you need two beds, two adorable rainbow blankets to throw at the foot of those beds, two baskets for all their junk, and so on, but the actual design came in at about $5,000, which doesn’t really take our budget parameters into account.
If we move forward with the design, we wouldn’t have to purchase all of the items Sarah included, like stuffed animals and artwork—we could use our existing items there—but that initial sticker shock was a little jarring, especially considering we’ve never really redone a whole room head to toe like that before. Some of the items Sarah picked, though, like the peacock-colored Crate and Barrel twin beds and rainbow swag tassels, have now become items we absolutely can’t live without for our kids’ new room, and we will be ordering them, period. (Sorry, credit cards!)
Was Modsy worth it?
Ultimately, the service that Modsy provides is a valuable one. It takes what can be overwhelming in design—the concepting, the design, and the purchasing—and takes it out of your hands. It might seem weird to hire a designer you’ve literally never met and know basically nothing about, but ours was personable and lovely and, frankly, we didn’t know any designers to begin with. Her experienced touch honed our slightly scattershot “rustic traveler” vibe into an adorable space perfect for the next stage of our kids’ lives, and we didn’t even have to drag said kids into dozens of furniture stores to get there. And while we might not end up ordering every single piece our Modsy designer chose, using the service seems worth it both for the direction we’ve received and the key pieces we’ve been shown.
Perhaps more importantly, though, using Modsy showed us the reality of something we already knew: That our kids were getting bigger. We knew that it was time for big kid beds and maybe some updated furniture, but seeing Sarah’s design made the fact that our two kiddos were growing up truly hit home. When we saw the pictures, we knew they’d love that room, and that, in some sense, it’s what we owe them as parents. As our kids get bigger, they need a space where they can grow, learn, and be at peace, and maybe Modsy is what can help us make that a reality.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.