Buying a new piece of furniture is never easy, especially when deciding how it will fit into a room. Augmented reality offers a viable solution to this problem, with the release of an app by furniture maker IKEA.

Users browsing the physical 2014 product catalogue can simply place the book on the ground, scan the relevant page and have a 3D model appear within the phone or tablet screen. Users can then move the object around, and change the viewing angle through the device.

Manipulation is simple, and doesn’t require complex computer programs, cutting out physical AR cards or other measures. To view virtual furniture, a smart phone and the catalogue are all that’s needed.

Interestingly, the application doesn’t use any new type of augmented reality technology, and simply builds upon what’s been done before. The standout benefit is the way IKEA is using the technology – this has real-world applications.

IKEA has been working with augmented reality for a number of years, in partnership with creative agency McCann. In 2012, the global Deputy Chief Creative Officer of the company, Andreas Dahlqvist, spoke to, explaining how the technology presents a number of new possibilities in terms of digital furniture.

“A lot digital stuff becomes very interesting when you mash it up with the tangible items of the real world,” said Mr Dahlqvist, speaking to

This type of augmented reality technology will likely grow exponentially over the next few years, as companies like IKEA explore the various applications. Obviously, certain industries can make better use of the tech, and retail especially is likely to be a key area of development.

Visualising new television sets, outdoor furniture and decorative objects in the home before purchase will no doubt influence purchasing decisions over the next few years.

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