Use augmented reality to decorate your house with these apps

Don't just imagine how that new couch will look in your living room, see it with AR.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
3 min read
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I'm one of those people who thinks long and hard before I make any decorating decisions. Along the way, I've discovered a variety of apps that can make choices a lot easier because they help you visualize your new space without changing anything in real life using augmented reality.

Here are some of my favorite apps for this task, mostly because they are incredibly easy to use, even for someone with no decorating or tech experience.

Watch this: What is AR and how does it differ from virtual reality?

Choose paint colors

Before you decide on a paint color, you can try it out in your room without touching a paintbrush. The right app can show you exactly what your walls would look like with a fresh coat of paint. 


The Project Color app helped me find a paint color that matched my roses.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Major paint brands like Behr and Sherwin-Williams offer apps like this (read more about them here), but Project Color by the Home Depot, on iOS or Android, lets you try out a wide range of colors that aren't brand specific. None of these apps are perfect, and most are a little glitchy, but they can still give you a feel for what your room will look like with a new coat of paint.

With the Home Depot app, tap Live View, then the Plus button. Choose the color you want from the options that pop up, point your camera at a well-lit wall and tap the area you want to paint on the screen. The color will fill a bit of the wall area so you can take a photo and compare it to other colors.

You can also use the app to match colors from pillows, furniture and other objects with just a snapshot. Tap the area of the photo you want to color match and the app will show you some options.

Read more: Easy, inexpensive ways to redecorate your home

Get help with furniture and design feature placement

Want to know if a chair will look good in your room, or if a new door arch will add the spice your room needs? There are apps that can show you. 

The Wayfair app lets you see potential new furniture in your actual room using augmented reality. Just pick whatever item you're thinking of buying (or as close to it as you can find) and tap the View in Room 3D option below the product photo. Point the camera wherever you are thinking of placing the furniture in the room and a life-size version will appear in that spot.


The Wayfair app lets you place furniture in your space so you can see how it will look.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

It's not perfect, often showing the item a bit larger than it actually is, but you can get a good idea of what your room would look like with that piece of furniture in it.

You can use this app for free no matter if you're planning to purchase from Wayfair or not. Similarly, Houzz offers an app that lets you virtually place new furniture items in your space to see how they will look.

If you want to get a little more in-depth with your planning, the Planner 5D app lets you build your entire house in 2D and 3D and add details like new windows, arches, doors and more. You can also use Google Cardboard VR goggles to see your new space in virtual reality. 

This app was super easy for me to use, even though I know nothing about building models. It asks you simple questions about your home and your style, then builds the room automatically. You can change it to look more like your home with a few taps on the screen.

3 color sensor gadgets to take the pain out of paint matching

How to choose the right paint color for your home