How To Buy The Right Furniture For Your Apartment Straight From Your Phone

Buying new furniture is about so much more than the fun parts of picking a color and style. The far harder — I-hate-shopping-for-new-furniture — part is figuring out if it will go with everything else in your apartment, and if it will fit. After all, no one wants to get a sofa delivered to find out — surprise! — it's far bigger than its designated spot in your living room.

Fortunately, nightmares full of oversized, mismatched furniture are about to be a thing of the past. The latest furniture shopping apps are built with augmented reality (AR), allowing you to see how real furniture will look in your space and even measure each of your walls without breaking out the measuring tape. From Anthropologie, to Overstock and Ikea, outfitting your space in style just got a lot easier.

AR room-decorating and furnishing apps are far from perfect, but they're getting better. Ahead, a look at the ones we're loving now.

Courtesy of Anthropologie.

When I go into an Anthropologie store, I always find myself wishing I could magically transport each of the carefully curated rooms into my own apartment. Now, I almost can. A new AR feature in the Anthro app makes it possible to virtually place pieces of true-to-size furniture in your own apartment, customizing the fabric as you go so you can see whether the piece would fit in.

Houzz's app has a "view in my room" tool that lets you see various lighting fixtures and pieces of furniture in your space. The app isn't as useful as others — it's harder to rotate objects and see them true to size — but you can get a sense of how pieces will look next to others. You can also save an image after adding objects to share with roommates or family members if you're making decisions collectively.

No one's idea of fun involves sitting on the floor, measuring every dimension of a room. Enter PLNAR, a far easier, time-saving solution. Simply open the app and aim the camera at the floor. Once a flat plane is detected you can easily measuring any part of the space you need and, from there, save and share the dimensions with others.

The Overstock app has a wide variety of "3D Categories," including lighting, rugs, and smaller decorative accessories. Find an item you want to see on your wall or floor, and select "view in my room." Once the camera locates a flat surface, the item will appear and you can move around and resize as you please.

The nice thing about Overstock's app is the "create a look" option that shows up along the bottom of the camera screen. This includes other items that the company thinks may go with the one you've selected, so you can easily place those in the space at the same time to see how they look altogether.

Instead of trekking to Ikea and guessing about what may or may not fit in your bedroom, download the Ikea Place app. The app makes it easy to see a massive variety of Ikea product in your space, true to size. The only downside: You'll still need to deal with assembling the furniture yourself — and you'll miss out on the in-store Swedish meatballs.
Zillow Digs

Forget collecting paint swatches or regretting how a color looks once it's actually on your walls. With Zillow Digs, simply take a photo of the room you want to paint. Then, choose from hundreds of Sherwin-Williams colors and tap the wall. You can try out different colors on different walls, paint one wall but not another, and mix and match according to your taste.
Design Home

This app isn't really AR-focused, but if you want to get a better sense of your taste, see how other people decorate, or simply play a game where you're designing rooms to get a feel for it, download Design Home. Pick a design challenge — options vary from decorating a living room in a Hong Kong high rise to one in a modern Danish flat — and choose from real furniture to fill the space. Then, submit your design for other users to vote on and grade their designs, too.

If you see a piece of furniture you like, you can buy it directly from the app.
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