Can You Use AI for Home Design Inspiration?

Updated: Apr. 09, 2024

AI can be a powerful source for design and inspiration, but can the average homeowner benefit from it?

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a hot topic at the moment. What exactly is it? Is it safe? Is it taking my job?

We’re still navigating this new software so I can’t answer those questions definitively. But I did a little digging to see if there was some way to use AI to become a better homeowner.

I stumbled upon REimagine Home, an AI home design generator for interior and exterior renderings. It’s owned by the Indian-based AI tech company Styledod, which specializes in real estate virtual home stage and photo editing.

After about five minutes of playing with the software, I was hooked. But while the AI had tremendous capabilities, I did also discover some shortcomings. Here’s what I found.

How the AI Works

@setupspawn Create your dream house! #homedecor #interiordesign #landscaping ♬ original sound – Matty McTech

The first step is creating an account. Then, all you need is one photo. After uploading the photo through the website homepage (it takes a minute or two, depending on file size), you’re given two choices: “Advanced options” or “Surprise me.”

The first time I tried the AI, I opted for “Surprise me” because “Advanced options” seemed intimidating, and I had no idea what I was doing. “Surprise me” was impressive. The AI produced luxurious and over-the-top designs for four renderings, regardless of exterior and interior.

With “Advanced options,” you can adjust the design theme and provide instructions for color palettes and additional features. For a backyard, you can tell the AI you want a large wooden deck and brick fireplace, or a pool with lounge seating. The options are limitless.

I discovered the right design theme is the most important step to a successful rendering. Traditional, minimal and modern were the three that best completed my home. The AI successfully detected the type of room it was and where most of the major features were — landscaping, front door, furniture, lighting, appliances, etc.

What the AI Did Well

After just a few minutes of playing with the tools and learning how the settings operate, the renderings of my home’s exterior were exceptional. The AI successfully determined where new landscaping was needed — around the front steps — and which plants should stay or go. The AI removed the small, annoying shrubs by the front steps, but kept our popular Japanese Maple tree.

The “Surprise me” feature produced large water features far above my budget for the project. However, the advanced options were easy to navigate.

The minimal theme worked especially well for landscaping our home, as neither my wife or I have a green thumb. I uploaded images from multiple angles, and the AI worked well with all the options I provided.

After five or so attempts, I landed on the landscape rendering we’re going to try to recreate on our own. It features new mulch, large boulders and minimal, low-maintenance plants.

What the AI Didn’t Do Well

We recently completed a major kitchen renovation and bathroom renovation, leaving only two rooms for remodel inspiration: the living room and the main bedroom.

I would call the AI renderings a disaster because they essentially did nothing. I tried changing every setting and uploading different images from different angles, and none of the renderings offered any significant changes.

The main element I wanted for our living room, which I requested in the AI instructions box, was an electric fireplace insert underneath the mounted TV. My wife and I build an electric fireplace surround in our previous home and loved it. However, none of the renderings included the fireplace insert, no matter what we wrote in the instructions box.

In general, the only thing the AI box proved it could do was add an additional piece of furniture or replace a light fixture. Major features like storage built-ins, fireplaces, etc. did not work. I tested the AI feature on a stock bathroom image I found online, and the results were also disappointing. It replaced the light fixture with something more modern and added new flooring, but the design was nothing exciting.

I wasn’t sure if this was user error, so I looked around online to see if anyone else was having the same problem. I couldn’t find many examples on social platforms that looked as good as the featured renderings on the REimagine Home web site homepage, but some users had decent bathroom redesigns.

As for the exterior renderings, it took awhile to get the AI to do simple designs. It seemed to default to high-end, expensive designs far outside my budget. The AI also really liked fountains and other water features I didn’t want, and it was difficult to get it to stop incorporating those elements in the designs.

Other AI Choices

REimagine Home is far from the only tool on the block. Many other AI websites do identical or similar tasks:

  • Planner 5D: AI-powered floor plans and interior designs. There’s a pro version available with more complex features.
  • IKEA Place: IKEA’s mobile powered app is more limited because it’s focused on furniture and less on construction. Also, because it’s operated by a for-profit retail company, it encourages you to purchase their products for your home.
  • roomGPT: This is probably the most similar option to REimagine Home. It offers same basic functions while 100% free and open sourced.

Concerns About Web Security

AI is still in its infancy, and it’s unclear how safe many of these websites and tools are. For my protection, I took the following safety measures on the REimagine Home website:

  • I created a new, one-time email address just for this account and a unique password I’ve never used before.
  • Before taking photos of the exterior of my home, I removed the address number plaque next to the front door. I’m unsure if that made a difference with open sources like Google Maps, and my county’s property appraiser already possessing images of my home’s exterior. But it was a small step for a little extra safety.
  • I also removed any personal images and items from interior rooms before taking a photo.

Would I Recommend REimagine Home?

Yes. I would suggest taking the basic safety steps listed above, but recommend this website for anyone looking for inspiration to spruce up their home. That includes renters.

While renters are obviously limited in the work they can do, the interior design AIs did make recommendations for new furniture, accessories and layout that can benefit anyone.

Bottom line: This website is far better for landscaping than interior design. But if you have some time to play with the settings, you can come up with the design you’re looking for.