Can I use AI to interior design my home? The rise of artificial intelligence design tools, explained

It’s impossible to notice that AI has, seemingly all of a sudden, become a part of our everyday lives, and it’s not without its controversy. The reaction to AI’s emergence in the creative sector particularly seems to split the camp: half viewing it as an opportunity, the other half as a threat.

And it’s not an unfounded concern. We’ve already seen high profile instances where AI design has been used to replace the need for digital artists - Disney using AI for the opening credits of its series Alien Invasion is a big one - but whether these have been as a exploratory idea or a cost-cutting measure it’s not so clear.

It's easy to categorize AI as a replacement for, and a way of undervaluing, creatives in the design industry, but some of the world's biggest studios are reveling in using AI as part of their interior design process.


On the most basic level, there are a number of beginner-friendly "visualizers" that can be used to generate AI images of your home. Interior AI is just one example of a user-friendly AI site, which you use by uploading an image of your room, and picking an interior design style. The generator then creates several examples of your room trained on that style.

When using AI generators like Interior AI, there’s a clear uncanniness in the resulting images - in the ‘Interior Design’ lines blur, the furniture rendered can be abstract and freeform, seemingly random architectural details added and, in some instances, the design is based on what’s already in the room, just reworked into something new.

This room was generated by Interior AI based on an image of an existing bedroom and the prompt “Minimalism”

This bedroom was generated with the same reference image, using the prompt “Maximalism”. The stripes on the source image’s existing bed frame have been pulled through for the bed dressing in both instances.

'Of course the tool isn't perfect yet.' Pieter Levels, the founder of Interior AI tells me. 'Generative AI can be quite unpredictable and still produce artefacts in images, like chairs with three legs, but that unpredictability is also what makes it great at coming up with different ideas. In the near future, the AI models will keep improving to get better quality and fewer artefacts. We’re starting to experiment with generating full 3D interiors with a technology called NeRF,' he adds.

This is, of course, not the limit of AI’s capabilities. “AI designers” are using platforms like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2 to experiment with creating highly detailed imagery with in-depth references to guide AI in the right direction. That’s not to say that the AI isn’t still taking creative licence here, and the same prompt can yield vastly different results within the same image generation.


I think if you asked the everyday interior designer or architect, AI wouldn’t necessarily be something on their radar at all, let alone something they would say they wanted to use. However, when Zaha Hadid, one of the world’s biggest architecture firms, says that they’re actively using AI in almost all of their projects, you can’t help but take this technology a little more seriously. At a round table event held in April, the studio’s principal Patrick Schumacher explained that: “I'm encouraging everybody who's working on competitions and early ideation to see what comes up, and just to have a larger repertoire.”

Juan's prompt for this modern bathroom design was: "Professional interior design photograph of a green tiled bathroom with gold accents, wooden sideboard with sink, skylight, soft diffuse morning light, a few plants, vanity mirror, cotton white towels."


In design, whether architecture, product or interiors, AI hasn’t been received with the same pushback as in sectors like digital design and illustration. For example, at this year’s London Design Biennale, a collection of AI-generated, 3D printed decor pieces were displayed, designed without human input by AI “artist” Ai-Da Robot.

Juan's prompt for this modern kitchen was: "Professional interior design photograph of a medium-sized kitchen in a style that blends English cottage style with Bauhaus, wildflowers, vintage crockery, range cooker, soft mid-morning light."

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