What Do VR & AR Mean For Home Design?

AR VR - home design

Virtual and augmented reality are becoming fairly major technologies, even if it’s happening somewhat slowly. They’re being used in all kinds of different aspects of modern society, and lately it’s become clear that these include home design and decorating.

The basic principle is actually fairly simple: VR and AR can help us to inexpensively and conveniently gauge our space, as well as get visual previews of different designs so as to plan more effectively. But what does this actually mean, more specifically?

It’s tough to say exactly, but using some existing examples and extrapolating from popular mixed reality experiences, we have some ideas.

Space Can Be Measured

If someone put you in a brand new, unfurnished home and asked you to measure a room so that you could accurately stock it with furniture and decorations (or even carpeting or wallpaper), what would you do? Chances are you’d reach for a tape measure, and perhaps a notepad with which to sketch out a design and record the measurements. Perhaps you’ll need a ladder to accurately measure the distance from floor to ceiling, as well. This is more or less how measurement has always worked, but it no longer needs to be so involved.

Now, AR programs can turn your phone into a virtual measuring tape such that you never need a physical measuring tape or ruler again. This isn’t the sort of thing we tend to imagine using AR or VR for, but because of the technology’s ability to recognize and relate to space, it is also capable of measuring that space. There are now a few different apps that are capable of recording a room’s accurate dimensions simply from a quick scan.

Furniture Can Be Sampled

This is likely the “main” way that mixed reality is going to change home design, and it’s certainly the thing that’s getting the most attention. Almost the very moment that popular smart phones gained access to AR-developed apps, we started to see programs from furniture and decorating companies, taking advantage of the technology. The idea is simply that by aiming your phone’s camera at open space you can then look at different furniture items in that space, and see what looks good and what doesn’t. It’s a much more convenient way to sift through options, and certainly beats the heavy lifting involved with sampling actual furniture.

Gardens Can Be Arranged

This is something that’s led to fewer early examples, but as mentioned we can extrapolate somewhat from existing, popular uses for mixed reality. And of all things it’s an arcade slot machine that has been turned into a virtual reality game that comes to mind here. Gonzo’s Quest is a hit game set in Peru in which symbols are carved into stone blocking the hero’s path from the lush surroundings and distant temples full of riches. It’s a fairly simple game, but with a majority of VR content focused on more modern or futuristic environments, the lushness of the setting stands out. Even in an animated sense, nature makes an impression in the game.

If that’s the case with a game that isn’t really even trying to make a point with its nature, just imagine what would happen if a developer really turned his attention toward a gardening AR or VR app? We could see ultra-realistic plant life and even garden props arranged however we’d like, either in general or in an exact simulation of a yard. Basically it could be the outdoor version of the furniture sampling concept, though perhaps with more variety and detail.

Art Can Be Tested

This is more or less just like the furniture concept, though it’s worth noting that mixed reality is already having a strong effect on the art world. It’s actually being put to use in museums, either to allow people to tour from a distance or to flash helpful information about paintings as people look at them in person. Given the existing connection, it seems like only a matter of time before a whole collection of apps allow us to visualize different pieces of art on our own walls. Given how thoroughly art can pull a room together, this can only be a good thing!

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