Ikea’s new virtual design tool removes your furniture and replaces it with Ikea’s

Ikea is launching a new virtual design tool today that can make it easier to imagine what the furniture in your home might look like. Ikea Kreativ’s Scene Scanner feature lets you scan a room using Ikea’s iOS app, erase your existing furniture, and then put virtual furniture in its place. If you don’t want to scan your own home, there are also more than 50 virtual showrooms to place furniture in. Of course, the process is designed to encourage you to order this furniture in real life after browsing the virtual versions.

After playing with a pre-release version of the Ikea Kreativ Scene Scanner app developed by Ingka Group (the largest franchisee of Ikea stores), I can say that the new experience is potentially very useful, even if it is a bit more restrictive than the company’s pitch makes it seem. It is not possible to walk around a virtual piece of furniture in augmented reality as we saw in the previous one Ikea Place app, but Kreativ generally does a better job of accurately portraying its virtual furniture in the context of your home. You can’t skip the tedious process of measuring your rooms to make sure furniture fits, but it’s a fun way to see if an item’s overall design and color scheme will match its surroundings.

The process starts with taking a panoramic shot of the room.
Image: Ikea

Then turn your phone to capture more data.
Image: Ikea

Ikea Kreativ Scene Scanner starts with a somewhat cumbersome scanning process. You take a series of photos of a room to create a panoramic shot, then wave your phone in a figure-eight motion to capture more visual data. This process is only for iPhones for now (you don’t need a model equipped with a lidar sensor — most modern iPhones should work), but an Android version is slated for release this summer. Once the scan is complete, you’ll be left with an image that you can adjust on a desktop directly in the app itself or on Ikea’s website.

Unless you’re furnishing an empty room, the first step with Ikea’s virtual designer is to clear out existing furniture. The effect is very similar to the Magic Eraser tool in Google Pixel 6 Devices, and like Google’s Magic Eraser tool, results can be inconsistent. For example, in the image below, Ikea’s software has failed to understand where my rug should end up after removing the armchair causing it to be darkened, and it’s also struggling to fill in the hidden left side of the TV cabinet.

The completed scan of my living room.
Screenshot: Ikea

And with various furniture removed.
Screenshot: Ikea

Despite some cluttered edges, the empty spaces behave as they should once I start adding virtual furniture to the room. Ikea Kreativ currently includes “thousands” of furniture, rugs, accessories and wall decor, according to spokesperson Kelly Gardiner, and plans are underway to add support over the coming year for additional product categories, such as ceiling-mounted furniture and textiles.

I went with a couple of Laiva bookcases for my living room, which I was able to run through Ikea’s software and move around the space – and I did a good job putting the floor flush with my floor. Most of the time, Ikea’s software showed the bookcase in proportion, although it occasionally cut through several other pieces of furniture in the room. It’s hard to verify that the app has my room’s measurements just right, but they were roughly correct after I verified it with a tape measure.

Virtual furniture seemed more or less in proportion to its surroundings.
Screenshot: Ikea

Ikea Kreativ has the potential to be a useful tool. While just being able to view virtual furniture in a 2D photo may seem limiting, it seemed to provide a much more accurate picture of what it might look like in space. In contrast, Ikea’s older Place app showed virtual furniture at an inconsistent scale in augmented reality, making it hard to imagine how it would fit into its environment.

Ikea Kreativ is now live in the US and a launch in other countries is planned for next year. It is accessible through Ikea’s existing iOS app (required for room scanning) or through its website.

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