This weekend my girlfriend and I received a bulk supercarrier shipment from Ikea with furniture galore for our new flat, then she went away, leaving me to do all the construction work.
I set to assembling, finding most of the building very easy, until I started to realise that some of my preliminary measurements were a bit off. You see, I think it’s all very easy to measure up for the dimensions of a piece of furniture, but actually visualizing an item in 3D space is not as easy.
The result, ultimately, is that we can’t even swing a kitten in the living room because of a gargantuan impending-white coffee table that’s blocking the fireplace out like some kind of Swedish eclipse.
If ONLY there was some way to help people out with this. If ONLY someone came up with a free, easy to use mobile app for visualizing furniture in your home.
Oh, wait, thanks IKEA! Just a week too late.
The augmented reality app, available on Android and iOS, virtually places items from its catalogue around the room, and to help you figure out if they’re the right size, fit, colour and style.
This is the next step in interiors shopping for the smartphone generation.
Augmented reality (AR) superimposes computer generated 3D images on top of a real image (for example, your living room) using the camera on your mobile or tablet.
I’ve yet to try it, and it is a little late now, but this kind of software could be incredibly popular and useful in the near future.
Research has shown that many of us choose furniture in a hasty fashion, and it costs us dear when we buy the wrong-sized items for our rooms. Yep, that’ll be me. Over 70% don’t really know how big their homes are.
"Not only are we in the dark about the size of our properties, we get in a muddle about measuring up," says Howard Carter at Ikea, who commissioned the study.
This is a frustration close to home.
The new app allows you to see the items in your own space, in 3D, at their true scale, with no measuring tape.
Currently, only 90 products can be seen in 3D, but this could expand to whole roomsets. And of course, other brands will follow.
"Augmented reality addresses the ‘unknown’ between seeing furniture you like and paying for it," says Mattias Jöngard at Ikea. "It gives you a sense of whether that bed will actually look good next to your grandmother’s old chest of drawers, and so it helps you make better decisions."