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Decorating apps let you virtually arrange new furniture

International

Washington - If you were a fan of "The Sims" video game in 2000, you'll be happy to know that a former developer of the game works for Houzz, a platform for home renovation and design.

Sally Huang, leader of visual technologies for Houzz Labs, is part of a team of former video game designers who recently launched View In My Room 3D, an augmented reality feature added to the existing iPhone and iPad app. The feature will be available soon for Android devices.

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"The 3D version allows you to rotate 360° and to move items around a room," says Huang. "We have more than 300,000 pieces of furniture and decorating products in 3D and we're adding more all the time. The 3D models have extra texture and look more realistic, so it's easier for people to see what things look like."

The View In My Room app is integrated with the Houzz site so users can send items to their idea book or shop for the products by clicking on them.

Augmented reality and virtual reality have become mainstream now that consumers can buy their own goggles for less than $20 at Walmart and Target. Interior designers caught on quickly to the benefit of using these technologies to showcase architectural features, furniture and accessories and to allow consumers to get a feel for how these items will look in person.

Read also: 'E-decorators' draw cost-conscious clients

Planner 5D, an app that has been used by more than 18 million homeowners, architects and renovation experts, offers another option for people to virtually design their own space. Users enter their room dimensions into the app to create a floor plan and then choose furniture from linked catalogues such as Ikea and then virtually move the furniture around to see how it will look with 2-D and 3-D augmented reality.

Virtual reality is also an option if you have VR goggles which let you virtually step inside the room and walk around. Planned 5D can be used on a browser, iPhone, iPad or Android device. The virtual reality feature is available only on its Android app.

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