These Innovative Apps Help You Visualize Furniture in Your Home Before You Buy It

Use them to avoid regrettable home decor purchases.

Photo: IKEA

Have you ever bought an expensive sofa, only to bring it home and realize it doesn't fit in your living room? Or maybe you've ordered an area rug online and then discovered it looks like a bathmat in your spacious bedroom? Even if you measure carefully before purchasing, it can be difficult to visualize how a piece will work in your space, both in size and style. Luckily, several companies have developed augmented reality apps that let you see a product from their site in your home before you buy it.

Most of these apps work in a similar way: Using the camera on your phone, the app can place a selected product into your space on-screen. The products will (ideally) populate to scale, so you can quickly see how the piece would fit. The days of shopping for home decor by trial and error are officially over.


It's no surprise that IKEA was one of the first companies to jump onboard the augmented reality bandwagon, creating an app specifically for visualizing furniture in your home. In the app store, look for "IKEA Place." (Note: This is separate from the IKEA Store app.)

Then, simply choose an IKEA product, press the checkmark, and the item will appear on the screen. Use the touchscreen to move the item around the room and place it where you want it.

Bonus: If you spot a piece of furniture in the real world and wonder if there's something similar at IKEA, the app has a visual search functionality. Click the border icon in the bottom left corner and adjust the border around the item you want to search for. Within seconds, the app will pull up IKEA doppelgangers of that chair or sofa you're admiring.


Thanks to an update this spring, the Houzz app's AR functionality is now more advanced than ever. So advanced, in fact, that it even lets you place tile to scale on a kitchen backsplash or a bathroom floor. After selecting a tile, the "View in My Room" 3D tool will ask you to mark the border of the space you want to tile. After marking the perimeter, the tile will populate to scale in your space. Even better: It automatically calculates how many tiles you'll need to complete the project, so you buy the right amount.


As you shop in the Target app, keep an eye peeled for the AR symbol. (Only certain items can be viewed in AR.) Press the button, allow the app to access your camera, and the item will appear to scale in your space. To shop all of the AR-enabled items, type "See It in Your Space" into the search bar.

Pro tip: This function is particularly helpful for finding the right-size faux Christmas tree.


When shopping for an item on the Wayfair app, look for the "View in Room" button. The camera on your phone will quickly pop the item into your home so you can decide if the style and color of the piece work in the room. In testing the feature, the items don't always appear to scale. For now, we'd recommend this feature to make determinations about style, but double-check the dimensions on the product description before purchasing.

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