Ikea is launching a new virtual design tool today that can make it easier to imagine how its furniture might look in your home. Ikea Kreativ’s Scene Scanner feature lets you scan a room using Ikea’s iOS app, erase your existing furniture, and then place virtual furniture in its place. If you don’t want to scan your own home, there are also over 50 virtual showrooms to place furniture in. Naturally, the process is designed to encourage you to order this furniture for real after browsing the virtual versions.

After playing around with a pre-release version of the Ikea Kreativ Scene Scanner app developed by Ingka Group (Ikea’s largest store franchisee), I can say that the new experience is potentially very useful, even if it’s a little more restrictive than the company’s pitch makes it seem. There’s no ability to walk around a virtual piece of furniture in augmented reality like we saw with the previous Ikea Place app, but Kreativ does a better job overall of showing its virtual furniture accurately in the context of your home. It won’t let you skip the tedious process of measuring your rooms to make sure furniture will fit, but it’s a nice way of seeing if an item’s overall design and color scheme will match its surroundings.

The process starts with taking a panoramic shot of the room.
Image: Ikea

Then you rotate your phone to capture more data.
Image: Ikea

Ikea Kreativ Scene Scanner starts with a slightly cumbersome scanning process. You take a series of photos of a room to construct a panoramic shot and then wave your phone around in a figure-eight motion to capture more visual data. This process is for iPhones only for now (you don’t need a model equipped with a lidar sensor — most modern iPhones should work), but an Android version is planned for release this summer. Once the scan is complete, you’re left with an image to either tweak directly in the app itself or on Ikea’s website on a desktop.

Unless you’re furnishing an empty room, the first step with Ikea’s virtual designer is to empty out existing furniture. The effect is very similar to the Magic Eraser tool found in Google’s Pixel 6 devices, and much like Google’s Magic Eraser tool, the results can be inconsistent. In the image below, for example, Ikea’s software hasn’t understood where my rug should end after deleting the armchair obscuring it, and it also has trouble filling in the concealed left side of the TV cabinet.

The completed scan of my living room.
Screenshot: Ikea

And with various furniture deleted.
Screenshot: Ikea

In spite of some messy edges, the empty spaces behave as they should once I start adding virtual furniture to the room. Ikea Kreativ currently includes “thousands” of items of furniture, rugs, accessories, and wall decor, according to spokesperson Kelly Gardiner, and there are plans to add support for additional product categories like ceiling-mounted furniture and textiles over the coming year.

I went with a pair of Laiva bookcases for my living room, which Ikea’s software allowed me to rotate and move around the space — and did a good job placing level with my floor. For the most part, Ikea’s software showed the bookcase in proportion, although it occasionally clipped through various other bits of furniture in the room. It’s hard to verify whether the app got the dimensions of my room exactly right, but they were roughly correct after I verified it with a measuring tape.

Virtual furniture appeared more or less in proportion with its surroundings.
Screenshot: Ikea

Ikea Kreativ has the potential to be a helpful little tool. Although only being able to view virtual furniture on a 2D photo seems restrictive, it seemed to give a far more accurate impression of how it might actually look in the space. In contrast, Ikea’s older Place app showed virtual furniture at an inconsistent scale in augmented reality, making it hard to imagine how it might fit into its surroundings.

Ikea Kreativ is live now in the US, and a launch in other countries is planned for next year. It can be accessed via Ikea’s existing iOS app (required for room scanning) or via its website.


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