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Updated Living Room: Noor’s Story

Noor is a busy entrepreneur who loves to entertain. But she struggled with an awkward living room layout in her small one-bedroom apartment in Montreal. She wanted to refresh her entertaining space while sticking to a strict budget.

Homeowner: Noor
Location: Montreal, QC
Delivery Lead Time: 2 weeks
Project Purpose: Living room redecorating
Room: 1 living room
Her Style: midcentury modern

Noor’s Apartment

I heard about Furnishr from a friend, and I hoped their designers could help me update my tiny apartment. I’m starting with the living room first and will gradually work through the other rooms. My living room is connected to an open kitchen. It’s quite a small space, but I still want to fit in a couch, a dining table, and seating for guests. I really love having my friends over, but the living room didn’t feel at all welcoming or stylish.

Over the past few months, I had looked at some furniture myself but I couldn’t figure out how to fit it together in a way that made sense for my small layout. Not only is the space small but there are also a balcony door, a fire exit and a large fridge that are limiting the ways I can place the furniture. I needed some professional help and an updated living room.

The sticky situation

I knew my design style already: mid-century modern. I had done some brief research and found some furniture I liked. The furniture I found is from eCommerce websites and local stores near me. Most of the stores offer free shipping. For items from local brick and mortars, however, I would need to pay extra for shipping or find a way to get the items into my apartment myself. All the furniture from my own sources would have cost well over $4k. The shopping and deliveries would also have taken a few of my evenings and weekends away.

Thankfully, Furnishr’s designers were very willing to look at my inspiration images. My first design call was excellent. I shared some of my furniture inspo photos with my designer Karen. I also asked her to keep the cost to under $4k if possible. She asked me for a floor plan of the space. I likely couldn’t get a floor plan of my unit since it is in an old building, so I measured every wall and door of my living room and sent Karen this hand-drawn floor plan.

Hand-drawn floor plan
Floor plan sketch with measurements of the apartment

Furnishr’s design process

Karen used my images as a guide, and she came back with three initial designs for my living room. All the designs are created based on the inspiration photos I shared. The design package prices ranged from $3800 to$5300 USD. The packages on the low range have upholstered pieces in fabric or faux-leather where the package at the highest cost has a leather chair.

Furniture board of the first design package starting at $3800
Furniture board of the second design package at $4200
Furniture board of the third design package at $5300

The live edge coffee table and walnut sideboard she chose really highlight my love for wood textures and the midcentury modern look. They both have a gorgeous shape that makes my room feel so stylish. And I really loved the blue sofa. Not only is it a nice deep blue, but it complements perfectly all the wood tones.

Since I loved some elements from each of the designs, I asked for a revision to mix and match pieces that I like. Here is the final design package that Karen made after we chatted.

Revised design package

Besides the curation of furniture, Furnishr also plans the layout for each room. Karen resized my hand-drawn floor plan so that all the walls are proportional for the living room area and presented a furniture layout for each design.

From the revised design, I can see from the space planner that the dining table and dining chairs I originally wanted might not work well in my space.

Suggested furniture layout for the last design package

I couldn’t decide whether to keep the dining set or not, so I asked Karen to remove the set for now. As a result, the layout changed to have the TV stand and sofa on opposite sides. I can also use the bench as a side table beside the couch. Now, the living area is more spacious and is easier for conversations when I have company.

New furniture layout after removing the dining table and dining chairs

Below is the collection of furniture I decided to purchase in the end. My final design had the jewel-tone couch I really loved, plus my dream wood console as well as several other unique wood pieces that wouldn’t crowd my small room.

Because I didn’t have much space nor budget for accessories, Karen chose only the essential furniture for me for the living room. The luxurious blue couch is meant to be the statement piece for the room. It makes a really great contrast to my parquet floor, the coffee table and the other wood tones in the rest of the design. As a result, I now have an updated living room that feels inviting and there is plenty of room for people to sit and chat!

Number of Items: 5
Total Project Cost: $3k USD

Final design package

Furnishr’s delivery solution

I don’t spend much time at home since my job keeps me very busy. It was wonderful that Furnishr could arrange an early morning delivery. I received the delivery before I went to work for the day, and everything was carried in and set up in two hours by just two movers.

Results

I love my midcentury modern living room! I will be getting a small dining set soon to complement the Furnishr room. Honestly it was so much easier than I thought it would be, and so much more personalized than I expected.

Midcentury modern living room with blue sofa, live edge coffee table and walnut sideboard

I was worried that I would be sold a generic layout, but it wasn’t like that at all. My designer Karen was very responsive and enthusiastic about my vision. They were happy to get feedback from me about revising their designs.

The customer experience was great! It felt like such a gift for myself to have someone else deliver and set up my new updated living room. I am especially grateful that Furnishr went the extra mile to arrange a special delivery time for my convenience. Thank you Furnishr!

Midcentury modern living room with blue sofa and live edge coffee table


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Airbnb Furnishing Design Tips Furnishing 101

How to Make Small Spaces Look Bigger

Although small rooms may seem cozy and fun, they can sometimes feel suffocating. But there are some easy ways to make small spaces look bigger, if you’re willing to do the work. 

As you fill your home with more belongings, storage space becomes an uncommon commodity. Trinkets begin to pile up on all your surfaces, and books get left out. We’ve all been there! Even a little bit of mess can make a small space feel extra closed-in.

Just one or two items left out can leave your space feeling cluttered, especially if your space was small to begin with. We get it, not everyone has the luxury of having extra square footage. 

However, rather than settling for a dysfunctional space, there are three easy ways you can make small spaces look bigger.

You can also feel free to check out our 8 tips for furnishing small spaces. We’re pretty passionate about this topic, so don’t be shy with your questions!

a clean and minimalist living room with inset TV, rug, coffee table, and dark couch with cream throw cushions

Small Room Design Ideas

Whether you live in a house or a small apartment complex, there are some easy tips and tricks that experts use to create the illusion of a bigger and more spacious home. You can be this by choosing the right furniture, artwork, and ornaments. Ready to get started? Here’s how you can make small spaces look bigger. Just like the experts.

1. Use statement furniture that is multi- purpose

  • Low and high: A sofa with low arms can make the room feel bigger. It allows you an overall view of the room from multiple angles. This also creates a sense of movement in the space.
  • Select furniture with a “wow” factor: The “wow” comes from small elements such as materials used, accents, details, and patterns. This enables you to style a room that reflects your personality. Have fun and show off your individuality!
  • Multi-purpose functionality: Selecting furniture with a dual purpose allows flexibility. It also removes the need for excess furniture. This can improve overall traffic flow, so that you do not have to worry about weaving and navigating through too many pieces of furniture.
  • Show off some leg: Forget skirted sofas or boxy chairs. Instead, opt for height and sleek lines with visible chair legs. This creates air flow, helps reflect light, and creates a sense of space. 
  • Avoid small furnishings: Multiple pieces of small furniture can reduce the flow of movement in the living room. Large sofas that fill the room give the illusion of space whilst maximizing comfort.

A small living room with a light gray color scheme and minimal furnishings.

2. The ABC of artwork for small spaces.

  • Arrange smaller artworks or photographs in a group together to replicate a single piece.
  • Bold, oversized artwork can draw the eye upwards, becoming the focal point of the room and give the appearance of a bigger space. 
  • Colors can help create unity. Coordinate your art colors with your soft furnishings like cushions and throw rugs.

A wall featuring lots of small pieces of artwork and a hat, all in the tan color scheme.

3. Ornaments styled right.

  • Larger ornaments provide more impact, creating a sleek and modern sense of style. As a result, rooms appear clean, crisp, brighter and bigger.
  • Reduce the number of ornaments on your shelves by only displaying a few of your favorites. By keeping a few pieces of furniture or a few shelves clear of ornaments, the number of ornaments is reduced. Your small space will appear less cluttered
  • Excess ornaments can be kept in boxes or in a cupboard and rotated every season for a fresh look, allowing you to still enjoy the benefits of those treasured belongings.
  • Place items on furniture with less use. This reduces breakage and increases functionality and comfort. You don’t want a guest to knock over a favorite statue with their feet on the coffee table.
  • Add depth with items of varying heights and in groups of two or three

Here are a few additional small-space decorating tips, too:

  1. How to decorate a small living room
  2. How to decorate a VERY small bedroom

A small space living room with color coordinated throw cushions and a small coffee table with plant and ashtray.

> Comment below if you enjoyed learning how to make your small spaces look bigger! And let us know what topics you would like our designers to write about next. If you’re on a home design roll, then go read our next article on how to make your living space more functional.