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Augmented Reality for Interiors

Wayne McMaster

5 September 2013

The furniture industry has not fared well with keeping up with technology. Now AR (Augmented Reality) making waves as a new way of viewing digital information which has been superimposed onto a live view of the physical, real-world environment.


IKEA is trying to take some of the guesswork out of buying new furniture, make interior decorating more fun, efficient, and less wasteful. 'By cutting down on returns, the company can potentially save money and energy in shipping and production costs,' said Peter Wright, Country Marketing Manager, IKEA UK and Ireland. So the company has turned to augmented reality for the solution. When the page is scanned, it brings up extra content, like customization options or pictures of the furniture in use. It does avoid using QR codes, relying instead on image recognition software from Metaio. The augmented reality technology allows for colour accurate and size accurate pieces of virtual furniture to be placed around the house. The Ikea augmented reality app is available for both Android and iOS, but you can check out a video of the app below.

IKEA's 2013 catalog included smartphone integration, but only featured videos and photo galleries that could be accessed via an app by scanning the catalog's pages.

The question remains: Why is it necessary to "scan the catalogue for a piece of furniture"? Why not just have the catalogue built into the app, and browse it on the phone/tablet?


Nine months after IKEA wrangled with this upstart (perhaps because they first called their company IKEA NOW, subsequently renamed themsleve as Furnish) we discover other leading furnitire brands have been keeping their AR use rather quieter than IKEA. Furnish have been developing their AR app for some time now and are keen to let you know on their books they have Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Knoll and Herman Miller.

Image: Furnish App in action | Source:


A leading high-range lighting company Estiluz has been pioneering innovation in its sector. Estiluz's app has been available in the AppStore since 1 May 2012, and has been helping people to choose the right lamps for their rooms ever since. Shoppers use the app to pick a model, position the cursor where they want to put the lamp and in just a second, thanks to 3D technology, they can see what the final result will be with the life sized lamp in place … and there's no need to travel. They can also choose between different finishes and sizes. 

Image: Estiluz App | Source:


Another entrant to the AR market is Sayduck. Sayduck believes the technology has applications beyond the furniture industry. 'Car buyers could whip out their tablets and look at a life-sized car replica without needing to visit a showroom. A company’s salesforce could conduct product demos without lugging heavy items along,' says

And who knows? If wearable computers like Google Glass become ubiquitous, we might see digital decorative pieces hit homes in the future.

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