Ikea Expands Its Augmented Reality App, Lets You Fill an Entire Room With Virtual Swedish Furniture

Photo: Ikea

Augmented reality might one day be a crucial piece of technology, but for now, the best use we’ve found for putting virtual objects in real scenes is previewing how new furniture might look in your living room. Of course, Ikea is just fine with that, and the company just updated its Place app so users can try multiple pieces of Swedish decor in a room, instead of just one at a time.

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Navigating Ikea’s giant warehouse mazes has generated endless fodder for hack comedians, so in 2017 it introduced its Place augmented reality app that allowed customers try out various pieces from Ikea’s seasonal collections in their home, without having to actually set foot inside the store. But the app was limited to testing just a single piece of furniture or decor item at a time, so if you wanted to furnish an entire room at Ikea, you still had to make the trek to an actual store and navigate its sprawling showrooms.

Today’s update to the iOS version of the Place app (the update for Android is “...planned for the near future”) includes new features like a feed showing off “curated collections and product announcements,” a wish list so you can remember what you wanted to actually buy, and an easier-to-digest privacy policy. But the real reason to update is the new multi-placement option allowing users to test several of Ikea’s offerings at the same time in augmented reality, as well as the room sets option which is essentially the same thing but with collections that Ikea has pre-assembled for users.

It’s an improvement that promises to make the Ikea experience marginally better, but what we’d really like to see is the company finally introduce instruction manuals that also work through augmented reality so those black and white illustrations become a little easier to understand when your brain is exhausted after a long day navigating Ikea’s cavernous warehouses.

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