Ikea today introduces a new virtual design tool that can make it easier to imagine what its furniture might look like in your home. The Ikea Kreativ Scene Scanner feature allows you to scan a room using the Ikea iOS app, erase existing furniture, and then place virtual furniture in its place. If you don’t want to scan your own home, there are also over 50 virtual showrooms where you can place your furniture. Of course, the process is there to encourage ordering of this furniture really after going through the virtual versions.
After playing around with the pre-release version of the Ikea Kreativ Scene Scanner app developed by Ingka Group (Ikea’s biggest franchisee), I can say that the new experience is potentially very useful, even if it’s a bit more restrictive than the company’s offering makes it seem. There is no way to walk around virtual furniture in augmented reality as we saw in the previous Ikea Place app, but Kreativ does better by showing its virtual furniture exactly in the context of your home. It won’t let you bypass the tedious process of measuring rooms to make sure the furniture will match, but it’s a good way to check that the overall design and color scheme of the item will match the surroundings.
The Ikea Kreativ scene scanner starts with a somewhat cumbersome scanning process. You take a series of photos of the room to build a panoramic shot, then wave your phone in octal motion to capture more visual data. For now, this process only applies to iPhones (you don’t need a model equipped with a lidar sensor – most modern iPhones should work), but an Android version is scheduled to launch this summer. After the scan is complete, an image remains, which you can adjust either directly in the application itself or on the Ikea website on your computer.
Unless you are furnishing an empty room, the first step with the Ikea virtual designer is to empty the existing furniture. The effect is very similar to the Magic Eraser tool found in Google Pixel 6 devices, and like Google’s Magic Eraser tool, the results can be inconsistent. For example, in the image below, Ikea’s software does not understand where my rug should end after removing the armchair covering it, and also has trouble filling the hidden left side of the TV cabinet.
Despite some edge mess, the voids behave as they should when I start adding virtual furniture to the room. According to spokesman Kelly Gardiner, Ikea Kreativ now includes “thousands” of furniture, rugs, accessories and wall decorations, and plans to add support for additional product categories such as ceiling furniture and textiles in the coming year.
I went with a pair of Laiva shelves to my living room which Ikea’s software allowed me to rotate and navigate through the space – and did a good job of positioning it level with my floor. For the most part, Ikea’s software showed the bookshelf in proportion, although it sometimes cut across various other pieces of furniture in the room. It’s hard to verify that the app accurately reflected the dimensions of my room, but they were roughly correct after I checked it with a tape measure.
Ikea Kreativ has the potential to be a helpful little tool. While the ability to view virtual furniture only in a 2D photo seems to be limiting, it seemed to give a much more accurate impression of how it might actually look in space. In turn, the older Place Ikea application showed virtual furniture on an inconsistent scale in augmented reality, which made it difficult to imagine how it could fit into the environment.
Ikea Kreativ is now live in the US, with a premiere in other countries next year. It can be accessed through the existing Ikea iOS app (required for Room Scan) or through its website.