Helpful tools for the furniture industry

Room planner: Furniture with imagination

3D room planners are helpful tools for the furniture industry to help buyers get a feel for the furnishings they want. We give an overview and many examples.

Jul 21 2021

The beautiful wardrobe would look good here in the living room – wouldn't it? Before furnishing a room and buying furniture, people like to imagine how it might look. But this is difficult or even impossible with just a tape measure and imagination. 

3D room planners promise to help: with them you can quickly try out different variations, place the furniture in different places or try out colours for walls and floors. In the meantime, there is a large selection of excellent room planners and more and more consumers are using them. Some furniture companies like Ikea offer such tools themselves and combine planning with the compilation of a shopping list. 

Furniture retailers offer their customers to place virtual furniture in real surroundings © Pixabay

Home24 uses virtual design option 

One example of how a 3D planner can be directly integrated is Home24: via the app of this online retailer, around 200 of the products can be virtually placed in a room. The magic word for this is augmented reality – in which the real, physical world is supplemented with virtual elements. In this case, you can place the chair, the sofa or the chest of drawers exactly where the good thing should be later. 

You select the piece of furniture and can place it in the real environment via your smartphone. Home24 offers in its app that only those products are displayed in a search for which this function is available. Westwing also offers a room planner called WestwingNow, which can be used to create one's own plans on a PC or Mac computer and (after registration) can also be saved.  

How else can furniture companies benefit from such room planners? There are programmes that can be integrated into an online shop, for example. Well-known is the software Roomle, which, among other things, enables the online configuration of product variants. It can also be integrated into existing ERP and CAD/CAM systems. 

Alternatives to Roomle for professionals such as architects or for traders or online platforms include Cedreo (quite elaborate renderings possible) and Pcon.roomplanner. For many of these solutions there are monthly flat rates, which can be an alternative to buying expensive software, especially for young online platforms.  

Large selection of 3D room planners 

However, 3D room planners that can be used independently of specific providers are also becoming increasingly popular with buyers. The technology is advancing rapidly: on the one hand, the end devices are getting better and better; among other things, they have very good cameras and can process data quickly. On the other hand, the planning software is becoming more and more sophisticated - but in some cases the room planners are already overloaded with functionality.  

In principle, a distinction can be made between three types of 3D room planners:  

The first variant are programmes that are installed on the computer. Some of them can be used free of charge (at least for private users), others are chargeable. The biggest advantage is that the planned rooms can easily be saved so that they can be changed later. In most cases, the data can be saved locally and does not have to be uploaded anywhere. For users who are sensitive about data protection, this is certainly the best option. 

Apps for smartphones or tablets must also be downloaded first, after which you can start planning. Most of them are available for iOS (i.e. iPhone, iPad) and Android. Some room planners are available both as desktop programmes and in an app version.  

The third option is room planners that can be used directly on the internet without an extra programme or app, i.e. via the web browser. On the one hand, this saves a certain amount of effort, but on the other hand, the room planners are somewhat limited in their functionalities and saving is only possible by entering the email address. The data is therefore uploaded on the internet.

3D room planners can be used on the computer or also on the smartphone or tablet © Christine Hume / Unsplash

Popular planners in comparison 

So which room planners are available in concrete terms? We have taken a look at a few variants: 

www.homestyler.com: Comprehensive planning tool, but not in German and somewhat confusing due to the variety of design options.  

www.roomsketcher.de is available as a pure internet application or as an app. The basic version is free, but for a tour of the virtually created and furnished rooms you need the paid version. 

www.home.by.me: Quite a clear 3D planner, registration is necessary, the basic version is free. An interesting feature is the option to hand over the planning and virtual furnishing to professionals who will take care of it within a few days.  

www.sweethome3d.com: Programme for downloading or as a web-based planner via the browser: Extensive options, but it takes some time to get the hang of the planning tools and use them properly; a certain affinity for computer work is necessary. Free for private use.

Author: Robert Prazak

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