Over the past year I’ve often been asked by colleagues and clients whether I think artificial intelligence (AI) will impact interior architecture and design. Only a soothsayer can really try to predict the future, but here’s my take on where we are today and what it means for our profession. I’ll leave you to judge whether this was written by me or created by artificial intelligence!
There’s no doubt that some AI-powered tools will help interior designers as well as amplify the features of modern technology such as sketch rendering, or enhancing Augmented Reality experiences by enabling object recognition, natural language processing, and real-time data analysis, making interior design technology more interactive and context-aware. Everything from generating design ideas to automating tasks is also being pushed forward not only in the world of interior design, but across most industries – although it’s not as straightforward as it first appears.
These are my thoughts on the real pros and cons of using AI in the interior design industry:
1. Pros of AI in Interior Design
The biggest pro is increased efficiency: AI can automate many of the time-consuming tasks involved in interior design, such as creating floor plans, 3D models, and renderings. This frees up designers to focus on more creative aspects of the job, such as developing concepts and selecting materials. At present, these tools, from traditional CAD to advanced 3D imagery, are only as good as the data given to them but the availability of affordable, accurate LiDAR, laser scanners and rangefinders has started to open the way to faster, accurate planning.
Improved personalization: AI can help designers create more personalized designs for their clients. By analyzing data about the client’s needs, preferences, and lifestyle, AI-powered tools can generate design ideas that are tailored to the individual – presuming, of course, that the right data is presented.
Greater creativity: AI could help designers to generate design ideas and possibilities. For example, AI can be used to generate design options that would be difficult or impractical to create manually, or may simply have not been considered. An interior designer could quickly explore mood boards that might otherwise take a long time to assemble. This could lead to more innovative and creative designs.
Reduced costs: AI can help to reduce the cost of interior design services. By automating tasks and streamlining the design process, AI could make interior design more affordable to a wider range of clients.
2. Cons of AI in Interior Design
Unfortunately, like many human “achievements” many of the pros beget cons:
Lack of creativity: While AI can be a valuable tool for generating design ideas, it is important to remember that AI can never be a replacement for human creativity. AI-generated designs can sometimes be unoriginal or derivative – AI thrives on collective information from what has come before, making originality impossible. It is important for designers to carefully review and edit AI-generated designs to ensure that they are unique and reflect the client’s vision.
Bias: AI algorithms are trained on data, and if that data is biased, the AI will be biased as well. This means that AI-generated designs could potentially reflect the biases of the data they were trained on. The very function of AI is to collect new information and add it to existing information to grow results. This can be a huge resource if you want to know what is trending or fashionable, but equally just as big a blocker for anything innovative.
Loss of control: When designers use AI to create designs, they may feel like they are losing control over the design process. This is because AI algorithms are complex and can be difficult to understand. It is important for designers to understand how the AI tools they are using work, so that they can maintain control over the design process.
Lack of emotion: The feeling of a design, the preferences of a client and connectivity of a space to its surroundings are almost impossible to program into AI. Trained interior designers will use knowledge of architecture, design, art, furniture, history and even sociology to create rooms that deliberately foster an emotional response based on more than dimensions and current trends.
3. How to Use AI Effectively in Interior Design
To use AI effectively in interior design, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:
Use AI as a tool, not a replacement for human creativity: AI can be a valuable tool for generating design concepts and automating tasks, but it is important to remember that AI is not a replacement for human creativity. Designers need to carefully review and edit AI-generated designs to ensure that they are unique and reflect the client’s vision.
Be aware of bias: AI algorithms are trained on data, and if that data is biased, the AI will be biased as well. It is important for designers to be aware of this potential bias and to take steps to mitigate it. Try to find AI tools that have been trained on a diverse set of data, otherwise every project will end up looking like a Californian lounge.
Maintain control over the design process: Designers should understand how the AI tools they are using work so that they can maintain control over the design process. Don’t be afraid to override the AI’s suggestions if necessary. Take the image above created with Dall-E of a Christian Liaigre inspired Bathroom as an example: When I was working on the Studio Hinton Interior Design Services section, I had the idea to source some of the imagery from AI image tools. In the end, I found the technology just wasn’t quite there yet. Christian Liaigre is one of the interior designer world’s most renowned leader’s in the design industry and I admire his outstanding work; however, I’m certain that unlike this DALL-E AI inspired image his style, the actual interior designer would know not to place a sink between a window and a bathtub.
4. Examples of AI in Interior Design
Here are a few examples of how AI is already being used in interior design:
AI-powered design tools: There are several AI-powered platforms available that can help designers with everything from generating floor plans to creating 3D models and renderings. Most tools will automate many of the time-consuming tasks giving you time to focus on more creative aspects of the job. My recommendation; take the time to thoroughly assess any design aid as they’re not cheap and some aren’t very user friendly, so take a lot of learning to use confidently. I’ve included some examples at the end of AI interior design products I’ve looked into using.
AI-powered furniture and décor selection: AI can also be used to help designers select furniture pieces and décor for their clients. AI-powered tools can analyze the client’s needs, preferences, and budget to generate a list of recommended furniture and décor items. This can help designers to save time and to create more personalized designs for their clients. Beware of bias in these tools as they can be linked to a limited number of suppliers or wholesalers.
AI-powered virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR): VR and AR can be used to create immersive and interactive design experiences for clients. AI can be used to power these VR and AR experiences, making them more realistic and informative.
AI a powerful tool to aid interior designers
AI can be a powerful tool to improve the efficiency, personalization, creativity, and affordability of interior design. However, it is important to keep in mind the potential drawbacks of AI, such as bias and lack of creativity. By using AI effectively, interior designers are creating more innovative and personalized designs for their clients and I will certainly be interested in finding ways to integrate the numerous available AI technology into my work.
If you’re interested and want to learn more about ai products for interior design, take a look at some of the ai tools in this non-exhaustive list that are changing the way interior designers work: