Some people have the ability to walk into a furniture store and pick out various pieces of housewares that appear seemingly mismatched but somehow work perfectly together when placed in a room. I am not one of those people. I moved in June and decided that after years of having a sloppily put together 20-something’s apartment, I was ready for something that felt more composed and intentional. If I wanted to fake being an adult, at the very least I could try to have an adult-looking apartment, right?
Trying to stretch as much of my budget as possible, I first tried a few free services for modeling my soon-to-be home. Some light Googling led me to Roomstyler, a 3D rendering tool for mocking up rooms and furnishing them with select furniture pieces from a catalog. This seemed like a good start for envisioning how we could lay out some of the items that would make the move with us.
I got so tired of scrolling through options that I just plopped a couple of items in there to visualize the space. Eventually, I felt embarrassed by the duckling I’d created. The room looked as if I was trying to re-create a West Elm showroom by memory using only stuff I can get from a local Walmart. I had to move on.
Choosing the wall colors and floor felt surprisingly zen until I got to the furniture layout portion. While you can choose any color under the sun to virtually paint your room, the furniture selection tool is super clunky to use. A search for sectionals offered up hundreds of results, but filtering by color suddenly slimmed the results down to one or two options, even though there were clearly pieces that fit what I wanted when I didn’t clarify color choice.
Before moving in, I took photos of the unit (old tenant’s things and all) and measured all the walls and windows. The tool lets you click and drag walls around to fit any irregularly shaped rooms, or specify wall length and height. You may not find exact matches for your home materials but you can get pretty close. There were no options for steel floors that I could find, for example, but dark grey brick replicated the feel.
I applaud the folks working with AR to create interesting use cases, like on-location work training. But kitschy applications like this are just… not very fun to use? Holding my arm out for minutes on end gets tiring fast, especially when you have to browse through thousands of items just to find the one thing that might work in your space.