Today’s Most Innovative Company: Ikea Uses Augmented Reality To Show How Furniture Fits In a Room

No more imagining. Ikea’s app will preview 3-D renderings of furniture in real time.

While shopping for such durable goods is best done in person, wandering through the abyss of an Ikea store can be confusing, since shoppers often don’t know how a couch or table will fit in a room, instead having to rely on memory and imagination. Complementing the Swedish furniture maker’s 2014 catalog, the iOS and Android apps were updated Thursday with an AR feature that lets users visualize in real time how furniture would look in a given room–furnishing inspiration, if you will.


“While the hard copy is still relevant, allowing readers to tear out pages to create collages of the things they like, it’s also exciting to interact, throughout the year wherever you are, with a catalog when it becomes a mobile piece with a digital component,” Leontyne Green Sykes, chief marketing officer at Ikea North America told Fast Company, adding that the augmented reality was a feature “desired by our users since we launched the app last year.”

The app, downloaded by 8.5 million users in 2012, uses the sensors of mobile devices to give 360- and 180-degree views of rooms and 3-D furniture renderings. While this clever use of augmented reality could help boost user engagement (and ultimately sales) for Ikea, a company historically focused on bringing convenience to consumers, the renderings, for now, are limited to a select number of items, not the whole catalog.

Perhaps we’ll see Ikea on next year’s list of Most Innovative Companies?

[Image: Flickr user OiMax]

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.