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Ikea's augmented reality app enables virtual redecorating

New app for mobile devices combines with a catalogue to place tables and chairs in your front room
  • @jjvincent

Ikea have re-invented the Bible of the Scandinavian design sensibility that is their annual catalogue, launching a new augmented reality that lets users see how potential purchases look in the home.

The catalogue is a massive undertaking, with WSJ reporting a print run last year of 208 million – double the amount of Bibles that come off the press in the same time period.

2014’s edition will contain more than 12,000 products spread across 300 pages, with readers able to scan items and then use their phones or tablets to see how they look (life-size) in the room, with the physical catalogue used as a marker for where the object is placed.

Ikea hopes that the addition to the catalogue will help customers see how products fit into their homes though the new innovation could potentially discourage customers. Looking round aspirational and picture-perfect showrooms can be much more enticing than your own home.

Not that such perfection might ever exist – many of the living rooms and kitchens depicted in Ikea’s catalogue aren’t themselves real but computer creations; created from scratch to show off sofas and tables in the best light.