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

Grand Magazine - - HOME DÉCOR - ALEX KIN­SELLA

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 fur­

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



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