VR in Home Design

Virtual Reality (VR) has become one of the leading trends in recent years. There is no doubt this technology will dominate the market in the coming years. Real estate agents, designers and people who plan to remodel their houses, apartments or offices can all find an ideal solution in VR. What options do we have for utilizing VR in home design, and how does it work? This and other questions will be covered in our article.

In contrast to AR (augmented reality), in which we can observe a house or apartment model added to a real-world environment through the device screen (iPhone, iPad, Android devices) or AR glasses, VR allows you to do a deep dive into the virtual model world.

How can you get such a model? You can get a virtual model of a real house or apartment with the help of special 360-degree cameras like GoPro MAX, Samsung Gear 360, Nikon KeyMission 360, Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K, Ricoh THETA V or Insta360 Titan. Their prices range from $270 to $500, but if you are ready to invest heavily, there are many more expensive solutions on the market. In most cases, though, a standard phone camera that supports shooting 360° images may do the job. Why pay more?


Image Source: https://gopro.com/en/us/shop/cameras/max/CHDHZ-202-master.html

This variant is ideal for realtors and people who want to sell or lease their property. Having prepared the sequence of 360° images, a house or an apartment can be viewed by a potential customer without the need for a personal visit to the property. There are many websites that can be used for showcasing the VR model, including Kuula and Facebook 360, among others.

The main disadvantage of this, however, is that you are unable to remodel the house in VR view, unless you actually move the furniture or paint the walls, then repeat the scanning process. You will be working with a photo as opposed to an editable model.

Live Home 3D
Home Design Software
iPhone / iPad

Is it possible to create an editable virtual model? Sure, interior design apps like Live Home 3D can help you with this task, but we will revisit this later in this article, once we review the special headsets you may need for viewing virtual models.

What Devices Can Be Used for Watching a Virtual Model of the House?

Of course, the model can be seen on the screen of practically any device, but it is more fun to use a special device to immerse yourself fully into the world of VR, and there are plenty of headsets that can help you do that. We’ll start with the big players and finish with the less expensive options.

Meta Quest 2

Meta Quest 2 VR headset.
Image Source: https://store.facebook.com/quest/products/quest-2/

Meta Quest 2 (previously Oculus Quest) is the headset that started the current hysteria. First developed by Palmer Luckey, it was later bought by Facebook, which invested in it massively. Prices range from $400 for the 128 GB model to $500 for the 256 GB model.

This model works successfully at a resolution of 1832×1920 pixels per eye with an 89° field of view (FOV). And, what’s more, it tracks the movement of both your head and body and translates it into VR with highly realistic precision. No external sensors are required.

HTC Vive Cosmos

HTC Vive Cosmos, Virtual Reality headset by HTC
Image Source: https://www.vive.com/product/vive-cosmos/overview/

VIVE Cosmos offers the ultimate experience but comes with a hefty price tag of $699 plus approximately $130 for the controllers. The device has a 110-degree field of view (FOV) and is equipped with the incredible RGB LCD screens, each offering a per-eye resolution of 1440×1700 (2880×1700 combined resolution). VIVE Cosmos supports Vive Wireless Adapter, so it is probably the most powerful solution if you want to go wireless. Its main purpose is game play, but this headset can be easily used to explore the models uploaded to such services as SketchFab™ or Gravity Sketch.

Microsoft HoloLens 2

Microsoft Hololens 2 VR headset
Image Source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens

This is an ideal solution if you plan to combine VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) into something called MR (mixed reality). It works without any cables as it comes with a built-in Windows 10 system. It runs on batteries, has great tech specs and includes all the latest innovations from Microsoft, including AI (artificial intelligence). However, the price is not cheap─$3,500 for the device only, which could prove to be a great obstacle if you are on a budget. And this is the cheapest device from the HoloLens product line. More about Microsoft HoloLens 2.

There is also PlayStation® VR, which is compatible with the PlayStation 4 or 5 home video game console. At a price of $349, it has become one of the best-selling VR headsets.

Are There Less Expensive Alternatives?

Yes, there are. Phone-based VR headsets could be a nice budget-friendly solution if you do not need expensive devices. As the name implies, these headsets work mostly as a holder for your smartphone. All you need to do is record 360º videos or panorama images of your house and upload them to your phone─quite simple.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard by Google

Google Cardboard is the easiest and least expensive way to try virtual reality as it is just a piece of folded cardboard with some inexpensive embedded plastic lenses. Priced from $10 to $20, this is the king of all budget headsets.

There are many other headsets on the market, but we discussed only the most popular ones.

How Can I Create an Editable VR Model?

Apps like Live Home 3D allow you to create virtual models on Windows 10 or later, Macs, iPhone and iPad devices. These models allow unlimited modifications and can be exported to 360° images and videos. The app’s rich toolset allows you to create a virtual model of a house, apartment or office, regardless of the complexity.

A model created in such a way also has a distinct advantage: it can be saved in one of the supported formats (say, FBX or OBJ) and uploaded to such services as Trimble 3D Warehouse™ or Sketchfab™. The latter is especially interesting if you want to see a 3D model of the house in VR (virtual reality) using a VR headset (such as the Meta Quest 2, HTC Vive Cosmos or Microsoft HoloLens 2) or a WebVR browser.

VR technology can be really useful and is constantly developing, and we hope you enjoy using it in your life.

Live Home 3D allows using VR in Home Design
Revised: February 2023

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