So you can avoid regrettable home decor purchases. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated July 12, 2019
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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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 really visualize how a piece will work in your space, both in term of size and style. To avoid these common annoyances of home decor shopping, several companies have developed augmented reality apps that let you see a product 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 into your space. The days of shopping home decor by trial and error are officially over.

IKEA

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 have found a piece of furniture you like out in the real world and are curious if there's something similar at IKEA, the app has a visual search functionality. Click the border icon in the bottom left corner, than adjust the border around the item you want to search for. Seconds later, the app will pull up IKEA doppelgangers of that chair or sofa you're admiring.

Houzz

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're looking to tile. After marking the perimeter, the tile will populate to-scale in your space. Even better: it automatically calculates how much tile you'll need to complete the project, so you can be sure you're buying the right amount.

Target

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

Pro tip: During the holidays, I've found this function particularly helpful for finding the right-size faux Christmas tree.

Wayfair

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