From augmented reality to virtual reality, to artificial intelligence, discover the impact of smart technology on interior design, and how to personalize and optimize home spaces.
Hey everyone! Have you ever spent hours scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram, dreaming of the perfect home? A space that’s not only stylish and beautiful, but also super-tech and personalized to your unique taste? One that caters to your personal needs and can actually think about how to do so, a home that “cares about you”? Yes, I have too.
In today’s fast-paced and tech-driven world, our homes have become more important than ever as a sanctuary from the chaos of the outside world. And smart technology is transforming our homes too. From augmented reality tools that allow you to visualize a new couch in your living room, to virtual reality experiences that transport you to a completely different space, to artificial intelligence that can make personalized design recommendations based on your preferences and habits, technology is revolutionizing the way we design and experience our homes.
So let’s explore the exciting ways that technology is impacting interior design, and the potential it holds for creating personalized and optimized home spaces that truly reflect our individual lifestyles and tastes. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to dive into the world of tech-savvy interior design!
1. Internet of Things (IoT)
With IoT, interior design is no longer just about aesthetics. It’s about creating a smart, connected home that responds to your needs and makes your life easier. It’s about personalized home automation. With IoT, you can customize your home automation system to fit your needs. You can set up personalized scenes that adjust your lighting, temperature, and entertainment systems based on your habits and preferences. Here are some examples:
Smart Lighting: With IoT, intelligent lighting can be controlled remotely using a smartphone or voice commands (available on Amazon too!). This means that you can turn your lights on or off even when you’re not at home.
Temperature Control: Smart thermostats can learn your preferences and adjust accordingly. Controlled remotely, they let you turn your heating on before you get home.
Security: Smart home security systems use sensors to detect unusual activity, and send alerts to your smartphone.
Entertainment: Control your home entertainment system from your smartphone or voice commands. This is hardly new though, most of us already have smart TVs at home. What’s next is merging more functions from your smartphone, adding AR/VR, ultra-high definition TV, etc.
Voice Assistants: Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can control many smart devices in your home, including lighting, thermostats, and security systems.
Automated Window Coverings: With automated blinds and curtains, you can open or close them remotely using your smartphone or voice commands. This can help regulate the amount of sunlight and heat that enters your home, also helping with energy efficiency.
Smart Kitchen Appliances: Smart ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers can be controlled remotely. So like you can preheat your oven or check your fridge’s contents from your smartphone. Soon connected devices will be able to tell you your grocery list too I guess!
Home Energy Monitoring: IoT sensors can monitor your energy consumption and provide insights into how you can save energy and reduce your bills.
Mood Lighting: With smart lighting systems, you can adjust the color and intensity of your lights to create different moods and ambiances in your home
2. High-Tech Apps
As with anything else, these days there are plenty of high-tech apps for home decor and interior design. Keep track of budgets, control your house (home automation), provide virtual consultations with professional designers. Here are some popular ones to try:
RoomSketcher: This app allows users to create 3D models of their home and experiment with different furniture arrangements and decor styles.
MagicPlan app: Add photos of your home and this app will create room plans for you to plan your designs on. Super helpful for renovations or decorating.
ColorSnap: For those who struggle with color choices, the ColorSnap app by Sherwin-Williams allows users to take a photo of any color they like and receive a selection of paint colors that match. Artfully Walls: This app lets users experiment with different art and photo displays on their walls before making any holes.
Nest: Smart home technology is also becoming increasingly popular. The app Nest, for example, you can control your thermostat and A/C from your smartphone.
Philips Hue: This app lets you control your lighting and set the mood with customizable colors and dimming options.
Midjourney: AI art generator or text-to-image tool Midjourney is among the many you can use. It can paint whatever you can imagine. With this app, you can create realistic images of your interior dreams to ideate your home, discuss with your family or decorator.
With so many high-tech apps available for home decor and interior design, it’s easier than ever to create the perfect space. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, guidance, or practical tools, there’s an app out there that can help.
2. Augmented Reality (AR)
Who hasn’t struggled to visualize how a new piece of furniture or decor would fit into their home? Or found it hard to visualize how a new color or pattern would look on our walls? Even designers like myself sometimes find it hard to visualize space.
As a homeowner or renter, it can be challenging to envision how a new design element will impact your space, and the fear of making a mistake can hold us back from taking design risks. Mistakes are costly, afterall! But thanks to augmented reality (AR), now there’s a superb way to experiment with different design options without committing to anything.
AR is a technology that overlays virtual elements onto the real world, creating a mixed-reality experience. In interior design, AR allows you to simply use your smartphone or tablet to place virtual furniture, decor, and other design elements in your actual space, giving you a realistic preview of how they would look and fit. This smart technology is already available for designers and homeowners alike to visualize. You can experiment with different design options before making a purchase or committing to a design direction.
For example, imagine you’re considering a new sectional sofa for your living room, but you’re not sure if it will fit the space or match your existing decor. So with AR, you can use an app to place a virtual model of the sofa in your actual living room, adjusting its size, color, and orientation to see how it looks from all angles. You can even walk around the virtual sofa to get a sense of how it will impact the flow of your space. This allows you to experiment with different design options and make more informed decisions about your purchase.
While AR allows you to reduce the risk of design mistakes and costly returns, the quality of AR technology can vary, and virtual elements may not always blend seamlessly with the real world. Also, AR can only provide a visual preview of a design, without taking into account other factors like lighting, texture, and scale.
Still, when it comes to interiors, visuals are everything. Well, at least, they matter quite a lot. AR is a game-changer in the world of interior design, allowing us to experiment with different design options and make more informed decisions about our spaces.
AR Apps for Interior Design
So here are some AR interior design apps that will help you transform your interior design experience:
IKEA Place: This popular app from the Swedish furniture retailer allows you to place virtual furniture and decor in your actual space. Add your lamps and rugs, and get a realistic preview of how it would look and fit. Sounds like fun!
Houzz: An interior décor shopping app, Houzz features a variety of AR tools, including the ability to preview furniture and decor, experiment with different paint colors, and even visualize entire room makeovers. Now that’s the perf way to plan your home renovation.
Homestyler: This app, according to their website, helps you, “create your entire house from scratch.” It allows you to take a photo of your space, create 3d views, add and rearrange virtual furniture and decor to see how it would look in your actual rooms.
Amikasa: This app offers a variety of 3D room models that you can customize with virtual furniture and decor to create a realistic preview of your design.
Roomle: This app allows you to design entire room layouts, experiment with different furniture and decor options, and even create 3D floor plans.
Dulux Visualizer: This app lets you try out different paint shades on your walls using AR. Finding the perfect color of paint for your walls just became easier.
These are just a few examples of the many AR interior design apps I have found (and even used some). Whether you’re looking to experiment with different design options or create a full 3D model of your space, there’s sure to be an app out there that can help you bring your vision to life.
3. Virtual Reality (VR)
You may have already heard of Virtual reality (VR) games. But this tech is not just for timepass things. It actually has a real potential to revolutionize the way we create and experience spaces. Unlike augmented reality (AR), which overlays virtual objects onto the real world, VR creates an entirely digital environment that users can interact with using specialized headsets and controllers.
In interior design, VR is being used to create immersive and interactive experiences for clients, allowing them to explore and customize their future spaces in a way that was never before possible. Designers can use VR to simulate different lighting conditions, textures, and spatial arrangements, giving a realistic preview of how your space will look and feel before the construction work begins.
For example, a client can use a VR headset to walk through a virtual model of their future living room, experiment with different furniture arrangements, and even adjust the lighting and color scheme to their liking. This kind of interactive experience allows clients to feel more involved in the design process, leading to a greater sense of satisfaction with the final result.
However, while that sounds like fun, and even really useful, not everyone has access to the expensive hardware and software required to create and experience VR environments. If you’ve ever made a digital 3D model, you’d know how time-consuming it can be, and even frustrating at times. Additionally, while VR can simulate many aspects of a space, it can’t replicate the physical experience of actually being in that space. Digital models can be slightly off with textures, lighting, etc. if they are not designed carefully. So definitely, I’d recommend that if you’re thinking of using VR for interior design, make sure to balance its use with real-world testing and experimentation.
Overall, though, VR is an exciting new tool for interior designers, offering the potential to create more immersive and personalized spaces than ever before. Whether you’re a professional designer or just someone looking to spruce up your home, it’s worth keeping an eye on the ways in which VR is shaping the future of interior design.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is a hot topic nowadays, with the popularity of tools like ChatGPT, AI art generators and what not. Of course, AI is also changing the game in the world of interior design.
At its core, AI is a technology that uses algorithms and machine learning to process large amounts of data and make predictions or decisions based on that information. In the world of interiors, AI is being used to analyze data on consumer preferences, predict design trends, and even make personalized recommendations for individual clients.
One of the most exciting applications of AI in interior design is the use of predictive analytics. By analyzing data on consumer behavior and design trends, AI algorithms can predict which colors, patterns, and textures will be popular in the future.
As someone who analyses fashion, design, and interior trends every year, trend forecasting is hugely time-consuming (plus you really need an eye to spot trends), so AI can make this process faster and easier. This allows designers to stay ahead of the curve and create spaces that are both stylish and timeless (or timely, ha!).
Of course, interior designers can also use AI to personalize the design process for individual clients. By analyzing data on a client’s preferences and lifestyle, AI algorithms can make recommendations on everything from color schemes to furniture arrangements. This not only streamlines the design process, but also ensures that the end result is tailored specifically to the client’s needs and tastes.
However, as with any smart technology, there are limitations to AI in the design process. AI algorithms are only as good as the data they are trained on, so if the data is biased or incomplete, the predictions and recommendations may not be accurate. Additionally, there is always a risk that AI will replace human creativity and intuition in the design process. Design is a very personal process, and interiors are a very intimate thing. So many designers and creatives fear that relying on AI for this work can reduce that human touch, which makes interior design so special.
All things said and done though, AI is an exciting development and can change the way we approach design.
5. Integration of AR, VR, and AI
Now let’s come to the best part – how all this tech comes together to make interiors more fun and awesomer than ever before! The integration of AI, AR, and VR in the interior design process can offer a more seamless and efficient experience for both designers and clients. With AI, designers can analyze data and predict trends, which can inform their design decisions and recommendations. AR and VR can be used to visualize and experiment with different design options, allowing clients to experience and interact with the design in a more immersive way.
Some design firms are using AR and VR to create virtual showrooms, allowing clients to visualize and interact with different design options before making any final decisions. However, while the possibilities of these technologies being used together are there, it’s still so new that we’re yet to see many of the use cases.
I believe we can expect to see even more sophisticated tools and platforms. Designers will be able to offer more customized and efficient services, while clients will have more control and input into the design process. Ultimately, these technologies will help us create functional, beautiful, and personalized spaces that meet our evolving needs and lifestyles.
The potential impact of these technologies is major. In the future of interior design, like every other field, technology plays a crucial role in creating better, more intuitive experiences for designers and clients. I just hope designers keep up with the tech to stay relevant, otherwise the tech overlords and large corporations will just take all the fun away from the design.
So what new technologies are you most excited to see in the world of home interiors? How do you wish to use these tools to create your dream home? Have you used any of the apps I mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below!
Shilpa Ahuja is a designer and editor of Decorisk Magazine. She has worked in hotel interiors at The Park Hotels, India, and has completed several home interior design projects as a freelancer.
She completed her Masters in Design Studies (MDesS) degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She also has a Bachelor degree in Architecture (B.Arch) from Chandigarh College of Architecture. Her work has been published in Indian Design & Interior magazine and exhibited at Harvard University and at Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh.
Shilpa is also the Editor-in-Chief of Shilpa Ahuja Digital Media, which includes ShilpaAhuja.com, one of India’s most-read digital fashion magazines. Originally from Chandigarh, she is currently based in Chennai, and can be reached at [email protected].