When we think of all the ways disruptive technologies have changed the world, images of factories or glass office towers usually come to mind. We know for a fact that tech shapes the future of healthcare, education, and manufacturing, but did you know that it also plays a major part in interior design?
There’s something about decorating and remodeling that we perceive as inherently traditional, time-consuming, and expensive, but there are many tech movers and shakers that change the status quo in the interior design industry, making it more exciting, sustainable, affordable, intuitive and consumer-focused.
Ways Technology is Shaping the Future of Interior Design
AR-powered tools help you make measurements and create floor plans
Have you ever spent thousands on a new fancy designer sofa only to discover that it’s too large and chunky for your living room and it looked way different in your head? Or wasted months dreaming of that perfect kitchen layout until the contractor told you that it’s simply not doable because of some specific building requirement that you didn’t even know existed?
Well, all of this could soon change, because the latest generation of interior design apps is all about preventing these misunderstanding and ensuring a smooth planning experience from beginning to end. How exactly do they do that?
AR Spatial Utility Tools
AR spatial utility tools capture and measure your space with nothing more than a smartphone. You can simply open your camera and point the phone a piece and furniture and you’ll see instantly how much distance there is between it and the wall. Let’s say you go online looking for a small side table to place next to your sofa and see a cute one that’s 12 x 30 inches. Will it look just right, will it be too big? Well, now you definitely don’t need to go grab your tape measure, because you can use an AR-powered app and see for yourself how it will fit.
Create a Scale-accurate 3D Model of Your Room
There’s something really exciting about sitting in an empty, non-refurbished room and thinking of all the decorating possibilities. And also something really overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy all the furniture and then struggle to move it around until you get the right combinations. With apps like Hutch, for instance, you can easily create a scale-accurate, 3D model of your room, with all its nooks and crannies, and then experiment with every furniture, artwork, or room color you can think of. It’s almost like designing a house in The Sims, only this time you’ll get to bring it to life, because the items you add can be purchased via the app.
Smart Lights and the End of the Light Switch
Light switches are so common and we’ve used them for so many years that most of us can’t even begin to picture what it would be like to wake up at 3 am without bumping some furniture on the way to turning on the light.
But thanks to the rise of smart lighting, switches could become a thing of the past, because you can control every single bulb in your home with an app on your phone or with a voice assistant. More than turning the light on an off, you can also control the intensity of the light, change the color, and even set the light to increase automatically before you wake up in the morning.
Smart lights are one of the basic components of the smart home, but apart from being functional and eco-friendly, they’re also fun to think of from a design perspective. You won’t have to drill holes and bang nails in every room, nor arrange furniture and decorations so that they don’t cover switches. Decorating becomes a lot easier and full of possibilities. A few decades ago, the only choice you had in terms of customization was a rotary dimmer. Now, you can achieve any lighting combination you can think of.
The Rebirth of the Cool
In an article in The New York Times, Allison Arieff talked about the rebirth of the cool – namely, the evolution of cooling appliances like refrigerators and AC units. If the models that our parents and grandparents relied on were chunky, noisy, and utilitarian, today’s manufacturers aim to deliver high-end performance without compromising on aesthetics and comfort.
Modern cooling appliances are no longer huge, heavy boxes that take up one quarter of the room and give you a feeling of claustrophobia. On the contrary. They’re lighter, sleeker and designed to blend in with existing furniture. In a way, appliances like refrigerators and AC units can double up as décor items and homeowners have a wide variety of colors, shapes and designs to choose from. Do you want to build the perfect smart home and you need a compact, high-tech looking AC unit to fit into a small corner? Hundreds of great models fit that description. Would you rather design a vintage home and the modern design of regular ACs would ruin the mood? Then you can opt for an energy-efficient ceiling fan instead. Similarly, you will find smart fridges with LED displays that show animations with the weather or slideshows of your family pictures. All of these features might sound like they cost a fortune, but things are also changing in the financial department. The latest prices for central AC are getting more and more affordable and even smart appliances are now a premium, but attainable luxury.
3D Printing Opens New Possibilities
3D printing is a revolutionary new technology and some experts say that it could ever trigger the beginning of a new industrial revolution. It speeds up production, helps companies manufacture essential products at a fraction of the cost and, in fields like healthcare and science, 3D printing could literally save lives and push humanity forward. But the implications of interior design aren’t neglectable either. In fact, the widespread adoption of 3D printing in interior design can have some great benefits:
- 3D printing could help companies produce, with minimum resources, unique designs that would otherwise be incredibly difficult to make.
- It could free up designers from the confines of the traditional production process, giving them more creative possibilities and allowing them to experiment with crazy shapes and concepts.
- 3D printing would allow manufacturers to build fast prototypes for their products and get immediate customer feedback.
- 3D printing is environmentally friendly and can reduce the depletion of natural resources such as wood and bamboo.
Bloom, a 3D printed lamp designed by Patrick Jouin.
Thanks to the technologies above, the home of the future can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing without compromising on the environment or requiring too many resources. Although we may not always look at technology from a creative perspective, the latest innovations are changing our interiors and the way we build the perfect home. With each year, it seems that complete home remodeling becomes less a matter of tedious work and more a matter of free personal expression.