Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

AI design apps made my new apartment look weird

AI design apps made my new apartment look weird

When I moved into a new studio apartment last year, it was my chance to live out my DIY YouTube girl dreams and create to my heart’s content. But it turned out to be harder than I thought. Since I couldn’t afford a real designer, I decided to try some of the AI-based generative design apps I’ve seen floating around the internet.

AI-based design tools started appearing around the time ChatGPT came on the scene. They come in different flavors, from platforms where you upload a photo and write a request for the AI ​​to overlay a new image to ones that suggest new styles to try.

One of the images we asked AI applications to redesign.
Photo by Emilia David / The Verge

The second photo I uploaded shows a corner of my living room.
Photo by Emilia David / The Verge

I decided to try a few AI chatbots (ChatGPT and Gemini), a retail-based AI assistant from Ikea, and three design apps (Spacely AI, Decoratly, and RoomGPT). I uploaded photos of my apartment to platforms and wrote two prompts for those who had a prompt box: “Give me a storage solution for this area” and “Turn this image into a mid-century modern living room “.

Here are brief summaries of how each fared.

My chat with ChatGPT about redesigning my apartment.
Screenshot: ChatGPT

ChatGPT and Gemini weren’t (obviously) made explicitly for design, so the most I expected was some suggestions and maybe an edit of the photo with some information about the elements he chose.

I got something of what I hoped for. Both ChatGPT and Gemini gave me storage suggestions, with ChatGPT telling me what materials I should look for to keep the room mid-century modern. No chatbot was able to change my photo or generate its own living room designs in the style I chose.

ChatGPT can be used for free for a limited number of messages; otherwise, it costs $20 per month. Gemini is free, but the advanced version with improved AI models costs $19.99 with a Google One subscription.

The Ikea chatbot gave me some furniture ideas.
Screenshot: Ikea

Ikea created a customized version of ChatGPT last February so shoppers could ask questions about furnishing their living spaces and get suggestions on styles and furniture. I uploaded a photo of a corner of my living room, which of course showed a cluttered pile of workout stuff, vinyl records, a bookshelf, and just general range, and checked out her suggestions.

To store my yoga mat (and a travel pillow it mistook for a yoga mat), the Ikea chatbot suggested I get a storage rack and other “decorative items.” (He also suggested I add a bookshelf, even though there was already one in my photo.)

As expected, after suggesting storage solutions, Ikea wanted me to buy their products, so I gave them rough measurements of the space and told them I’d like items that evoke a feeling mid-century modern, but with dark wood. He replied with photos of the items and told me where to find them. However, it still felt more like a search tool than a design app.

The better option is probably Ikea’s non-ChatGPT mobile app, which uses augmented reality to help you imagine what your space would look like by overlaying the product on your home.

Custom GPT from Ikea is free in the OpenGPT Store.

Spacely did a good job, but for some reason, it turned my lemon into a blue egg.
Screenshot: Spacely AI

One of the most recommended AI-powered design platforms on social media is Spacely AI. After uploading a photo or choosing from a template, users can redesign a space, furnish an empty room, or edit a photo via text prompts.

I asked Spacely to reimagine my space in a mid-century modern design with mostly wooden furniture. Spacely is more customizable than other platforms, allowing me to control how much its model follows my requests (like preferred style, color palette, etc.). However, customization options are very limited in the free version; if you want to do more than try, you’ll need to choose a paid plan.

Spacely had a basic understanding of what I wanted, but the images it generated didn’t really meet my mandate. For example, I happened to upload a photo that included two plastic containers and a lemon, and the AI ​​generator turned the two objects into…decorative objects, I guess. Plastic containers have become wooden cylinders, and the lemon is either a stone fruit or rotten. (Unfortunately, it’s still normal for funny things to appear in AI-generated images.)

Spacely AI Pro costs $20.75 per month for an annual plan or $39 for a monthly subscription for unlimited prompts, watermark-free photos, and high-resolution downloads.

Decoratly’s approach to designing my apartment felt closer to a real room with a distinct style.
Screenshot: Decoratly

Decoratly also transforms photos into a specific style. It is very limited for free users; before I subscribed, I could just upload my photo and hit the quick redesign button to generate a generic design filled with black and white furniture and zero character.

When I upgraded to a Pro account, I was able to use Decoratly’s “Build a Prompt” feature and its image filter, which allows you to give instructions on what you want the app to create. Unlike other AI prompt generators I’ve tried, Decoratly didn’t let me write my own prompts. Instead, I had to choose from a prepared set of words to describe the style, color, material, and texture I wanted to see in the transformed photo.

I chose the words “mid-century modern,” “dark,” “gray,” “wood,” “metal,” “smooth” and “neutral” for my room. The new photo it created felt closer to a real camera with a distinct style than the ones we’ve gotten with the other apps, though some of its choices could be odd — like placing some sort of of table above the cylinder, turned my electric fan. in the. He also put my monstera plant in a tiny pot that would have fallen over in five seconds.

Decoratly costs $12/month for unlimited designs and additional features. A 24-hour ($3) and seven-day ($6) trial is available.

Trying RoomGPT added a blur filter to my apartment.
Screenshot: RoomGPT

Of the dedicated AI design platforms we tried, RoomGPT was the most disappointing.

I felt the app did minimal in redesigning my space. He changed a few elements to fit the brief – for example adding a sofa to a room that didn’t have one – but he also removed my TV and media console and never transformed the room to fit the style which I wanted.

RoomGPT runs on a credit system, where each render is a credit. The free version offers two free credits. After that, there are three paid tiers based on the number of credits or room designs: $9 for 30 room designs; $19 for 100 designs; and $29 for 200 credits.

Expecting better

In short, none of the AI ​​apps I tried really helped me design my place. The most they did was show me the types of furniture that might fit the vibe I was going for, which I could have done with a quick Google search anyway. None of them were able to discover a new style for my space or really reimagine my apartment. As with other things, AI isn’t really ready to design our living spaces.

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