It can be difficult to predict the future. Technology is set to play a huge role in the future of interior design. But which technologies? And how might we use them?
While late to the party of industries that have been significantly disrupted by technology, interior design is finally catching up. The traditional in-person client-designer relationship is no longer the leading industry norm. Innovative platforms that use technology to execute interior design are elevating the process without depriving the individuals of any sought-after personal touches.
New technologies are showing a lot of promise for the future of interior design. It’ll certainly involve healthy doses of 3D printing, both augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and mobile apps.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
VR is ideal for interior designers as it allows them to walk their clients through a room they’ve created, or show them hundreds of different wallpaper designs. The technological future is making VR a more of a reality now than ever before.
On the downside, VR technology is still expensive, and requires a very powerful computer to process. More accessible at the moment is VR’s younger cousin, Augmented Reality (AR).
While AR can’t stimulate total immersion into a virtual world created by software, it can fuse together the virtual and real world by placing virtual features over the actual ones.
Where Virtual Reality simulates total immersion into a virtual world created entirely by software, Augmented Reality fuses the virtual world and the real world, often by overlaying virtual features on top of actual ones. AR requires much simpler technology than VR – you can download an app on your smartphone or tablet – and is consequently being used by designers and stylists today.
With the interior design industry undergoing a technological revolution, exploring applications for 3D printing would be a smart move for interior designers. Creating complex models is vastly simplified, as is sharing custom-made art pieces directly to the client, removing the need for shipping.
The advancement in 3D printing is shaping the interior world to such an extent that some believe we are on the cusp of another industrial revolution. Where it used to be costly and cumbersome, today 3D printing is efficient and exciting. Interior designers can quickly demonstrate their designs and allow their clients to touch and feel their ideas in miniature form. With 3D printing, the time between idea conception and its implementation is drastically reduced.
Today, 3D printing is still some way off widespread commercial use – current printers are selling for upwards of £500 – so it has yet to reach its full potential. But once the technology has been refined and prices start to drop, the 3D printing revolution will be here, and here to stay.
Hutch, an LA-based virtual design app, allows users to take a photo of a space and try different products and styles in order to see it virtually decorated. Download the app, snap a photo, let it process the room, then users can swipe through different style categories and essentially drag-and-drop different items to see it in place.
After uploading a photo of a room, users are able to choose from a variety of themes like, tribal influence, electric chic, or even Venice boho. With a simple swipe right, they can then see different arrangements of the furniture. The key is that they can see it live, not merely visualise it in their heads.
As technology continues to advance and our phones become more powerful, it is only a matter of time before all of this becomes even more in-depth and accessible. There will always be a need for contractors and designers, but these kind of apps are helping bridge the gap between contractor and customer.