By: Sara Kotarski
Have you ever purchased a large piece of furniture just to find out that it doesn’t fit in the space you intended? Or spent hundreds of dollars on a new sofa to discover that the color juuust isn’t right? Well some furniture retailers, including IKEA, Wayfair, Pottery Barn, and more, have a solution for you.
Over the past few years, a new technology has been introduced that is changing the way we design and decorate our homes. According to Dictionary.com, Augmented Reality (AR) is “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view”. Apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Pokémon Go have had great success integrating augmented reality into their platforms, and now furniture retailers and manufacturers are climbing onboard.
One example of this new, AR technology is the IKEA Place app. IKEA Place uses your cell phone’s camera and a large catalog of 3D furniture models to help you digitally furnish your home before spending a dime. All furniture models are true to scale (down to the millimeter) and photorealistic. You can walk completely around each furniture item, and even view all available fabric and color options up close.
Apps like IKEA Place take the guesswork out of furniture shopping. They allow you to “try on” different furniture options in your own home before making a commitment. Michael Valdsgaard, Senior VP of Digital Development at Inter IKEA Systems, says “We found through our research that some customers weren’t confident about buying, so this aimed at making that experience easier for them”.
Right now, it seems like augmented reality has just found its place in residential design through furniture retailers, but I can’t help but wonder if commercial furniture firms will follow suite. If so, this could be a great tool for commercial Interior Designers to show clients real life, 360 degree views of proposed designs. It’s fun, interactive, and offers a level of visualization that some people just can’t envision on their own.