A web platform that facilitates accessible and affordable furniture exchanges around New York City.

Student Project: Entrepeneurship Course, MFA in Design for Social Innovation

Team: Pragya Mishra, Mafe Perez, Jenny Emmons, Cova Abril Paredes

Role: Research, design strategy, wireframing

Year: September – December 2014


NYC is a city of frequent movers. At any given moment, someone in the city is trying to get rid of a piece of good quality furniture. More often than not it winds up in the trash, due to lack of time to manage disposal or security concerns over existing platforms like Craigslist – and so hundreds of thousands of tons of perfectly usable furniture winds up in New York landfills every year.

At the same time, there are thousands of New Yorkers on a budget that are looking for affordable, accessible, trustworthy, unique furniture. Bring urban nomads ourselves, we saw an opportunity to promote sustainability and low cost of living by connecting the groups.


We found revealed interesting differences between male and female users in procurement habits, priorities and decision making. Budget, hygiene, mobility, time and space constraints were all factors in keeping people from furniture exchange.  Interest in personalization and variety was a common theme, however the biggest pain points regardless of age and gender were delivery and transport, trust and security on both ends of the supply chain.

People didn’t want to keep shopping at IKEA and then throwing away the furniture, but there was too much risk and hassle in using low accountability, unmonitored services such as Craigslist especially when they require an additional investment in transport.

We realized our MVP is in a one stop shop service for furniture exchange with a simple and friendly user interface and personalization features, connecting movers with people who want to get rid of or procure furniture.


We interviewed young New Yorkers about their furniture procurement, disposal and moving experiences in the city, as well as building superintendents, movers and repurpose businesses such as Build It Green!. We also did a competitive analysis of existing platforms.

We then identified pain points, needs and opportunities for each audience, and designed a rough interface for a web platform that addresses the gaps we found in the current solutions.


In November 2014 we took our idea to the ProtoHack hackathon where we built and pitched a prototype for our service. The design included features such as one shopping cart for all transactions across multiple suppliers, connecting accredited movers in a booking system for instant booking without price quotes, floorplans to see what furniture would look like in a room, and matching suppliers with customers by their respective timelines for disposal and procurement. We got very positive feedback on the design and a high score for the intuitive flow of the app.

Here are some of the judges' comments:

"Great idea facilitating the transportation - that really helps you stand out from Craigslist"

"Absolutely love the web design - would think mobile would be a key part of it for uploading pictures of furniture and what not - seriously great desktop design".