Interior decorating without the guessing
Whether searching for a special piece to complete a room or decorating your whole home, these tech tools stimulate creativity and help get the job done
My family practically lived outdoors this summer – even on those 30-plus days – but the cooler temperatures and earlier sunsets will soon see us spending more time indoors. And when we get there, we might be in for a rude awakening.
We’ve lived in our house for over a decade now but, with three young children, decorating has consistently been knocked down the priority list. This is especially true when it comes to replacing our sofas, which our children treat as trampolines and storage for Cheerios.
Have you found yourself looking around your home and not being able to recall the last time you updated your decor? Perhaps your grown children recently moved out (congratulations!) and you’re looking to downsize to one of the beautiful new condo developments around town. Or maybe you have rental properties in desperate need of upgrades.
Some of the most difficult things to shop for are home furnishings. Yes, you can take measurements and double-check against an item’s description on a website, but that won’t let you imagine how the piece will look in your home.
Let’s take a look at two tech tools to help you with everything from finding a new dresser to designing a room or even an entire house.
Whether or not you’re a fan of furniture in a box, the good people at Ikea have an app that makes choosing a piece of furniture easier than actually assembling it. Ikea Place is an augmented reality app that lets you see exactly how a particular style of dresser will look in your bedroom.
Augmented reality allows developers to build applications that layer digital objects (like that dresser) into an image using your smartphone’s camera. This is the same technology that powered Pokémon Go and had people walking around town (and into poles) looking for digital Pokémon hiding around the region.
Ikea Place is simple to use. First, you open the app and select an item from their catalogue – sofas, chairs, desks – even lamps and other lighting fixtures.
Once you’ve made your selection, the app asks you to aim the camera of your smartphone where you’d like to place the item. Ikea Place scans the area and then drops the item into its virtual place in your room.
Using your smartphone’s touchscreen, you can easily move and rotate the item to find the perfect spot – and see exactly how the item will fit with your existing furniture or decor. Now if there was only an app to help you assemble the furniture.
You can download Ikea Place for free in the Apple App Store. The app is available for iPhones and iPads running iOS 11.0 or later. Ikea Place isn’t currently available for Android devices, although you can download the Ikea Catalogue app for browsing.
There are times when you need to do more than add a new bookshelf or dresser. When the time comes to decorate a whole room or even an entire home, Torontobased Furnishr is here to help.
Started in 2016, Furnishr is a service that takes you from a blank canvas to fully assembled furniture and decor. Furnishr helps everyone from relocating professionals, Airbnb hosts and cottage owners to international students.
You can either take a short quiz to define your style profile and let Furnishr tailor the room for you or book an appointment with a Furnishr designer to get your style choices.
The quiz allows you to determine which design concepts you like, guiding you through a range from modern to classic and anything in between. After identifying your colour and texture preferences and your taste in fashion, Furnishr helps identify your home furnishing style. The team works with you to make sure each piece fits perfectly in the room. You can either provide room dimensions during the ordering phase or upload a floor plan of the rooms you want designed.
Once Furnishr has your style choices, you’ll receive a design proposal to review. You can make changes to the proposal -from choosing different artwork to selecting an alternate bed frame. The Furnishr team then readies the items for your room or rooms while you prepare your home for the delivery.
“The whole process takes two to three weeks,” says Karen Lau, lead designer at Furnishr. “Furnishr then delivers, assembles and decorates in under two hours per room.”
You can explore options for your design project by visiting furnishr.com.
Alex Kinsella has been part of Waterloo Region’s tech community since 2004 and is always looking for the next great gadget (or tacos, if it’s Tuesday). Find him on Twitter at @alexkinsella