It mostly began with Pinterest and inspiration boards where we non-interior designers were encouraged to collect online images of fabrics, accessories and furniture that we’d love to have in our homes.
By archiving images in this way it allowed us to fit them together in our imaginations to see if they’d work as a whole. At the same time it provided interior and home ware designers/ buyers with an insight into what ‘the man/woman in the street’ was lusting after that season.
Today it’s far more sophisticated. Now the consumer can actually fit those items of furniture, fabric patterns, and tiles etc into a 3D virtual room to work out not just how they look together, but whether it all works in a spatial fashion too.
How virtual and augmented reality fits into your own home
Then there is augmented reality where you can see what a particular sofa or sideboard looks like in your own room by ‘planting’ in there on the screen of your Smart phone or iPad. Certainly, one app which allows you to do this is iStaging. Simply move that sofa or vase around until you find the perfect spot for it. Yes, it’s all a long way from the launch of that first social media images changing site back in 2010.
Google (Cardboard), Microsoft (Hololens), and Samsung (Oculus) are going big down the virtual reality for interior design route. They’re allowing viewers to create an imaginative world that feels real to them. One such example of where virtual reality meets augmented reality is in interior design shop Oka’s online virtual cushion arranger. Accessed on the company’s website, this device allows viewers to try out a combination of cushions to see how they’ll look as a whole before they are tempted to head for the online checkout.
Arranging cushions on a virtual couch
Admittedly cushions aren’t the most expensive interior item we can buy (although some of them can prove pretty costly these days), however if we’re going for a cushion grouping then it’s easy to get the co-ordination of colours, patterns and sizes disastrously wrong. Or at least it was until the company gave us a virtual couch on which we could select and place our cushion selections at will and while sitting on our couch sipping a coffee with This Morning on in the background.
Image via Oka.com
Same with the Dulux Visualizer App which will change the colour of your walls for you courtesy of augmented reality. What we love about this app is that if you’re out and spot a colour on a wall, cushion, book etc then point your phone at it and the app will find the closest Dulux shade.
Some virtual reality apps are so advanced that, after asking the user about their preferences, they can provide 3D room interiors filled with items they’d like. In this way it’s a little like having the advice of a virtual interior designer at their finger tips.
When interior design gets a little ‘heady’
The there is virtual reality and the headset, allowing you to look around a room with 360 degree vision. In fact, you can stroll through that very interior with your virtual headset. IKEA have their walk-through virtual kitchen showroom while M&S gave visitors to their pop-up events a chance to design their own rooms.
All we need now is for the early adopters to be sated so that the rest of us can afford the headsets.