Yes, you read that right. It’s my turn to talk about the hottest topic in the world right now – artificial intelligence (AKA machine learning). Some people are terrified of it, while others are embracing it wholeheartedly, and interior designers and homeowners alike are weighing out the pros and cons of incorporating it into interior design and the success of their home remodels.

robot picking curtains

Look at this image – can you imagine this world? Personally, don’t think we need to worry about robots choosing our curtains (though creating the image for it was interesting in MidJourney!) – But I have seen some pretty cool stuff happening with interior design and AI. As a former marketer, I find the whole concept of automation fascinating. And as a designer who loves blending creativity with systems and processes, I really think that AI has the potential to become a surprisingly helpful partner in the design process. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the relationship between interior design and AI, what it means for our future spaces, and how it will ultimately impact how you work with an interior designer. 

AI is all the rage right now, and so are these 2024 interior design trends. Check out the latest and greatest for the upcoming year.

Why I Love the Interior Design and AI Partnership

As I experiment with AI, I like to think of it as a contract design assistant to help me with aspects of my work – ‘someone’ to bounce ideas off of, work through mass ideas, and define a scope.

Brainstorming

The initial stages of interior design involve a lot of brainstorming and conceptualization. If I’m stuck on ideas for my latest project, AI can step in to give me actual data-driven insights. This technology can analyze current trends, client preferences, and even the functionality of a space to offer solutions that might be different from the way I have usually done things.

Not only does this brainstorming support accelerate the process, but it also provides designers with a broader palette of ideas and inspirations to choose from. It basically gives you access to a brainstorming partner who’s read every design magazine and visited every art gallery in the world in seconds.

Visualization

From what I’ve seen, AI shines at bringing ideas to life that may not have seen the light of day before. Advanced AI software can generate fairly impressive visualizations to support an idea that is not readily available for reference. These simulations can reflect intricate details, such as how natural light would interact with the interiors at different times of the day or how different materials and textures would look in a space. This level of detail helps to better understand and connect with the design, allowing for more informed decision-making.

It is important to note here that I would not use AI (at least not yet), to substitute client renderings. As many people know, AI is not perfect and there are strange things that appear in the images, even with the best of prompts. Therefore, they can be misleading and inaccurate in size, scale, and detail. However, the creation of a digital image for reference saves hours searching Google and Pinterest, and can be used to supplement technical drawings and the perspective sketches we create for clients. 

See more below on these limitations.

AI entryway option 1
(Option 1)
AI entryway option 2
(Option 2)

Customization

One of AI’s biggest contributions to interior design is its ability to tailor designs based on client preferences. AI algorithms can analyze data from a variety of sources – including previous projects, client feedback, and trends – to understand individual client tastes and needs. For example, AI can suggest design modifications based on a family’s daily routine or recommend materials and layouts that are sustainable to align with a client’s environmental values. These insights paired with the experience and creativity of a designer’s mind make for a truly personal and unique home.

Current Capabilities (& Limitations) of AI in Interior Design

When we talk about the role of AI in interior design, we need to have a clear-eyed view of what AI can currently do and where it still has room to grow. 

Measuring Spaces & Utilities

There’s no denying that AI has made strides in understanding spatial dimensions and layouts. Overall, some AI tools are already fairly decent in helping map out a room and give a pretty good sense of how different elements can fit together. 

However, when it comes to the nitty-gritty, like exact measurements or the nuances of natural light at different times of the day in that specific home, AI has some catching up to do and has not quite replaced the trained eye and a measuring tape just yet.

Precision

Precision is the foundation of interior design. A centimetre off here, a shade lighter there, can impact an entire project outcome. AI is learning this language of details, but at this point, it seems like it’s more or less just really good at the theory stuff. Current AI tools can suggest and simulate, but they often lack the subtlety and finesse that come with years of human experience in the field.

Personalization

AI is a GREAT tool for offering ideas based on personal preferences and even past choices. BUT (and it’s a big one), creating a home that hugs requires a deep understanding of behaviour and lifestyle nuances – something that AI simply cannot fully grasp. 

AI moodboard

A designer’s intuition, experience, and empathy play a major role in translating a client’s vision and emotions into a tangible design. While AI can provide data-backed suggestions and solutions, it lacks the ability to perceive the subtle emotional cues and personal stories that often drive the design process. This human element is irreplaceable and is what truly transforms a space into a ‘home’ that has character and soul. That’s why it’s important for designers to use AI as a tool to enhance their vision – not replace it. 

Collaboration

The collaborative nature of AI tools allows for a pretty seamless fusion of technology and human creativity. 

But AI can only analyze and suggest based on the info it’s been fed, which means its output is only as good as its input. This can lead to a certain level of predictability or even repetition in design suggestions, which can end up stifling “human” creativity and innovation.

We’re at a stage where AI can dazzle us with big-picture concepts, but there is definitely a gap between AI’s potential and its current practical applications in interior design. 

3 Tips For Using AI in Interior Design

Let’s get one thing straight – AI isn’t going anywhere. Some people are fighting it. I am not one of them. 

Instead, I’ve made the choice to learn how to incorporate it into my design workflow. 

Tip #1: Start Small

To save my sanity from getting wildly overwhelmed, I’m not diving into every flashy new AI toy too quickly. I’m dipping my toes slowly but surely, playing around to see what I like and what I don’t.

If you’re interested in them, I recommend integrating AI tools gradually into your design process. Begin with tasks like colour scheme generation or furniture layout suggestions to get a feel for its capabilities.

Tip #2: Focus on Inputs

The more information you provide AI, the more accurate its suggestions will be. Invest time in inputting comprehensive details about the project and client preferences.

Tip #3: Combine AI Insights with Human Expertise

AI 2D rendering

Use AI-generated ideas as a starting point, not the final say. Combine and build upon these suggestions with your expertise and creativity to tailor the final design. AI is smart, but it doesn’t have your experience. 

The Future of Interior Design and AI

While AI in interior design is a powerful tool, it’s not all-knowing. It’s more like an assistant that can offer valuable insights and ideas, but one that still needs the guidance, expertise, and touch of a human-experienced designer.

Looking forward, I envision a future where designers and AI collaborate seamlessly, each playing to their strengths – the AI sifts through global trends and data to offer insights and suggestions, while the designer brings in intuition, experience, and personal touch. This partnership could lead to more innovative, sustainable, and personalized design solutions to reflect a diverse range of tastes and styles.

(Personally… I can’t wait for AI to master mapping a room with every detail and measurement, and auto-drafting floor plans right into my preferred software… Hello! Can you hear me?!)

The potential for AI is huge, especially as the systems become more accurate, efficient, and attuned to human preferences. AI will NEVER replace human ingenuity, at least in my opinion, but it may be the ‘other half’ we all wish we could clone. Designers can harness its capabilities to help create homes that are more ‘us’ than ever before – and that’s pretty cool if you ask me. 

Looking for an expert human to help you with your next design project? Get in touch with Unshelf Design today.