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Ikea's augmented reality catalogue takes you inside cabinets

Ikea's next catalogue will feature augmented reality, bringing a host of features to your phone.

Ah, Ikea. The one-way system, the endless queues, the relationship break-ups... Well, now the Swedish flat-pack furniture-monger is about to augment the dour reality of shopping in its stores with its new catalogue.

The 2013 Ikea Catalogue will feature a smart phone icon on certain pages, Gizmodo reports. Wherever you see it, hold your mobile over the page -- providing you've downloaded the Ikea Catalogue app -- and it'll unlock a host of extra features using augmented reality. Very nice.

The function will launch from 31 July, when the catalogue will arrive on customers' doormats, and the app is available on iTunes and Google Play. It does look pretty cool, with videos coming to life when you hold your phone over them. Photo galleries suggest how you could decorate, and it even lets you peek inside cabinets and wardrobes. Anything that helps streamline a trip to the shop itself gets the thumbs-up in my book.

But it doesn't spell the end of the physical catalogue. Linus Karlsson, global chief creative officer of agency McCann, which developed the app, explained to Wired: "If you had a magazine that had 211 million copies in circulation, you just wouldn't end it. That would be crazy."

"A lot of digital stuff becomes very interesting when you mash it up with the tangible items of the real world," added Andreas Dahlqvist, Karlsson's deputy at McCann.

Here's a video of the augmented reality app in action.

Ikea and McCann have been working on the functionality since 2011. How-to videos will be included as well, so if you're wondering just how long that flatpack wardrobe will take to put together, you can find out before you buy.

It doesn't mean you can avoid the shop altogether though. Not all of the company's furniture is available online, so it's likely you'll still have to make the trip. At least there's always the meatballs at the end to look forward to. Eyes on the prize.