Augmented Reality is hot this year especially after Apple announced ARKit, along with Google’s ARCore. There are a lot of AR apps for furniture and interior designs in 2017. Today I am going to do a review for the top 10 apps in this area. I wish this article can help you to understand how are they doing and which one is best for you if you want to do your interior design or decorating projects.
Houzz is great for design inspirations. It has 5 million high-res home images. Interior designers told me that they use Houzz a lot as a tool to figure out what their clients like. Beside their giant pool of nice images, Houzz is building 3D models for its product on its marketplace where you can see products in your room before buying them on Houzz.
Pros: It has 3D models for some products.
Cons: Not so great user experience.
DecorMatters is a new startup focusing on interior design and decorating. The app enables you to design on a template or a real room background. Users have more freedom of choosing furniture from their familiar brands or stores to try. Moreover, they have inspirations where you can purchase all furniture and decorations directly from the design. It’s really shopping the look. They recently have the AR Ruler feature where you can measure your space to see whether the furniture is going to fit into your space or not.
Pros: More brands and products for users to try (Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Living Spaces, etc.) User experience is great; Easy for mood board as well as scratch design.
Cons: don’t have 3D models, sometimes you have to find the right angle of the furniture.
Homestyle has the similar concept as DecorMatters. Their products have 3D models. However their UX is a little bit hard to use.
Pros: 3D models product.
Cons: Very limited furniture selection; UX is hard to use.
Hutch was doing great during May, but they’ve changed so much since then. I could not tell where their focus is now. It’s really hard to use Hutch to create a design. You have absolutely no control over the furniture position. You will need to wait for 1 hour for your photo to be analyzed in their database before using it as a design background. In all, the experience is terrible.
Pros: Have shadows, and in-app purchase, 3D models.
Cons: Very limited furniture choice. No freedom to choose the furniture position.
It’s more like a community or a game where you can comment or vote on other designs or take some challenges as a game. It’s fun to interact with other designers in the community.
Pros: Have lighting and shading tools.
Cons: Don’t have 3D models; limited furniture choice.
6. IKEA place
Ikea’s concept video has gone viral on YouTube. It’s neat and fun to watch. I tried their app, and it’s easy to use, and the result is not bad. Not sure why App Store reviews are not that good. The only drawback is you only can select limited products and of course only from IKEA.
Pros: High fidelity 3D models; Great UX experience.
Cons: Limited product selection.
Williams-Sonoma purchased Outward for $112 million in cash. I am not sure if the Pottery Barn 3D Room View is all from Outward technology or developed from its own team. In summary, the outcome is not bad, their 3D models have really nice rendered textures. However, I found the UX of the app is a little bit hard to use. They may want to improve on that next.
Pros: Nice 3D models.
Cons: UX is not so good; Limited product selections.
HouseCraft is more like a one-time game thing for me. First of all, it only has 38 furniture products in total. OK. Fine. Plus 13 accessories if that counts. Second, their 3D model quality is not that good compared to IKEA and PotteryBarn. So based on these two points, it’s really fun to play with it a little, but you definitely can’t really do any creative design out of it.
Pros: Nice UI/UX flow. Have fun stuff like tornado and gun effect.
Cons: Very limited product selection. No capability of doing a photo background design.
iStaging is very interesting. It has a few products in 3D model, but not a lot. The fidelity of their models is good. They also have a few designs where you can apply directly to your camera, or view them in VR mode. However, you can’t really create your own design by selecting different furniture on the same scene. You can only view one furniture at one time.
Pros: High fidelity 3D models; VR mode.
Cons: limited products selection & design. Can’t create any design, only view product in AR mode.
SayDuck has limited product inventory too. And I don’t know where their database is, their app is really really slow. Loading a product to your screen takes about several minutes! It would be a much better experience if they can boost their database performance or reducing their model size.
Pros: 3D model; UI is simple.
Cons: Very slow; limited products choice.
Here is a summary of 10 apps:
Let me know if you have different thoughts and experience. Hope you enjoy my summary~