Let’s explore the role of Virtual Reality in home design.
Would you consider yourself a “visual” person? Can you turn what you see on paper into a 3-dimensional space in your mind’s eye?
Many of my clients tell me they can’t visualize their new home. As we are designing the floor plan in 2-dimensions, they continue to struggle to really KNOW how the home is going to feel in real life.
They struggle to make decisions.
I, in turn, have to not only be skilled in home design and designing in my CAD program, but I also need to be able to paint a verbal image for my clients.
In the past, the clients really had to trust me and the other building professionals they would be working with.
Until now. Read on to learn more about how I’m using Virtual Reality to help my clients make better design decisions, be more confident in their home design, and actually go from nervous to excited about building their new home. We’ll also discuss some of the challenges that arise from using VR in the home design process.
VIRTUAL REALITY IN HOME DESIGN - HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are many different CAD (computer-aided drafting) software programs out there. I began using SoftPlan nearly 25 years ago – shortly after graduating with my BS degree (read more about how I started with and stay with SoftPlan here). But it has only recently had the VR capabilities added to it.
VR in SoftPlan uses the Meta (Facebook) headset, the Oculus Quest. For the clients, it’s as simple as:
- Obtaining the 3D viewing file URL link from their designer (SoftPlan user)
- Signing into their Oculus headset
- Opening up the browser
- Typing in (or pasting) the URL in the search/address bar, and
- Once the model opens up, clicking on the VR button inside the headset.
A "GAME-CHANGER" - HOW VIRTUAL REALITY AIDS IN THE HOME DESIGN
These are the exact words my clients told me the first time they “walked” through their home design. They went from nervous and apprehensive to excited and confident in the home design we had created together.
For my clients, they are able to walk through the spaces and rooms in their new home design concept to get a sense for how they will feel and, to some degree, function as well. Clients can better determine the following:
- Do they like the overall room size and shape?
- How do they feel about the window sizes, styles, and placement?
- Does the furniture they envision fit in the space the way they hope it will
- What ISN’T working the way they thought it would?
Of course, each individual will find different benefits. Overall, the use of VR technology can help homeowners make better informed decisions, avoid costly changes during or after construction, and better understand some of the more complex design features that can’t be depicted on a 2D floor plan, but can only be seen in 3D.
CHALLENGES TO USING VIRTUAL REALITY IN YOUR HOME DESIGN PROCESS
While the benefits of utilizing virtual reality in the home design process seem brilliant and inspiring, there are some downsides to consider:
- Homeowners can spend TOO MUCH TIME reviewing their design options and never coming to a solid decision. This can extend the design time far beyond a typical design timeline.
- Adding in all of the construction details to the 3D model can be very time consuming for the designer. As stated above, not all of the construction information is visible (or even necessary) in the 2D floor plan version (like what size and style of baseboards or casing will be selected and installed).
- The cost to include VR capabilities can increase the cost of the floor plan services (see #1 and #2 above).
- Homeowners may rely TOO HEAVILY on the VR 3D model and be disappointed or frustrated when the finished product isn’t EXACTLY as it was in the 3D model. They can stop using any imagination that may still be required as finished selections are being made.
As with any new advancements in technology, proper evaluation of the benefits AND challenges they present is recommended.
If you think designing with the aid of VR technology is right for you, or if you have questions about what it entails, feel free to leave a comment below. Or, reach out to us via email, DMs, or on any of our social media platforms @domanihomedesign.
Interested in designing dream homes for dream clients? Learn more at www.squarefootsuperhero.com or @squarefootsuperhero on IG, FB, Pinterest, and YouTube.