Generative AI Helps Designers and Architects Work Smarter, Not Harder

While artificial intelligence can't replace the human brain, tools like Midjourney are supercharging the home design process.
Young female architect/designer working on blueprints, using laptop and tablet to help with design work

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These days, there's no shortage of news about artificial intelligence. Some industries are dominated by praise and excitement for how AI can make life easier, while other professional sectors lament the loss of jobs and human touch. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle, and the world of home design is no exception.

So, what does AI have to do with home design? And how might it shape the future of interiors? Experts offer insights on how AI is streamlining their workflows and expanding their creative potential.

Generative AI 101

Generative AI is the term for any artificial intelligence that can come up with new text or images in response to human prompts. You've likely heard of ChatGPT, a text-based generative AI. Type in a prompt such as, "Write an email that explains biophilic design," and ChatGPT will spit out a message complete with a subject line, greeting, description of the design style and a signoff.

There are many uses for ChatGPT, but designers are more interested in images than text. Imagine coming up with a cool theme for a bedroom or a fun concept for a new type of sofa. If you can describe it in words, a generative AI tool like Midjourney or DALL-E can create an image. For interior designers, that's like having a talented robo-artist available at all times.

"With AI apps like Midjourney, you can just type in what you're thinking, and the machine does all the work for you," says Annilee B. Waterman, a Dallas-based artist, interior designer and certified professional building designer. "It pulls in all the information that could have taken you hours to hunt down on the internet and quickly creates custom, unique images that you own and can use anywhere."

The True Story of an AI-Designed Sink

"I was recently given the opportunity to collaborate with Midjourney's artificial intelligence bot to design the world's first AI sink, named AILA," explains Leslie Carothers of Savour Partnership, a digital marketing consultancy at the forefront of educating home and design professionals on how to use Midjourney AI.

Earlier this summer, luxury kitchen and bath product brand Thompson emailed Carothers with an idea: If she could design a sink with AI, Thompson would create it in the real world. Thrilled with the idea, she got to work. Designing the sink and getting the green light for production by Thompson's copper artisans took less than two weeks. Now in production, the copper sink will eventually be unveiled in February 2024 at the National Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas.

"I predict these types of collaborations will become the new normal once manufacturers see and understand how fast Midjourney makes the product ideation process," says Carothers. "I also predict that any manufacturer who offers custom capabilities like Thompson does will have many more designers and retailers wanting to use Midjourney to create and then offer bespoke products to their clients and customers on their own websites."

Looking to the Future

For many real estate professionals, AI still looks like a wild frontier—a creative sandbox more than a reliable trade tool. But AI is quickly going mainstream. Specifics are hard to predict, but it's almost inevitable that AI-assisted designs will become more prevalent in interiors and architecture in the next decade.

"I predict AI will be used by almost everyone as part of their home design conceptualization process," says Carothers.

Still, Waterman emphasizes that AI is a tool—it’s designed to be used by professionals, not replace them. She says AI is great for quickly showcasing ideas, but it can’t design in a vacuum. And while AI can generate a blueprint, Carothers reminds that it cannot build the product or room or home or cover practicalities like material durability or HVAC.

"AI cannot deliver on the most important factor for most consumers who want a well-designed home: the human connection to make sure that all the issues that come up in the execution process are resolved in as stress-free a manner as possible," says Carothers.

AI Tools for Real Estate Professionals

Artificial intelligence isn't going away anytime soon. Here are some tools that might help streamline your work as a real estate professional:

  • Epique AI. Designed specifically for real estate businesses, Epique AI can help you quickly generate new realtor biographies for your website, real estate newsletter copy, inspirational quotes for your Instagram page, and more.
  • Virtual Staging AI. Attractive staging for listings is easier than ever with Virtual Staging AI, which automatically adds furniture and decor to your uploaded photos of empty rooms.
  • RealityNinja AI Listing Description Generator. Accelerate the process of writing listing descriptions with RealityNinja's AI, which creates multiple description options after you input a property's basic information (such as square footage, location, and key features).