One of the things I love to do with Sketchup is interior design. It’s a great tool to help you visualize what new furniture will look like in a room, and it helps you plan out the rearrangement of existing furniture. You can move the whole room around with a few clicks, instead of throwing your back out or scratching your floors. And as a bonus, I can get my wife to agree on a layout in Sketchup so I only have to physically move the furniture around once.
Modeling from an IKEA catalog.
More and more companies like GE Appliances and Kohler co. are having their products modeled and uploaded to the 3D warehouse. This makes it incredibly easy to incorporate well known products into your model while being reassured that the models are an accurate representation of the real thing. But until IKEA and other companies out there jump on board, we are left to search the 3D warehouse and hope someone else has modeled what we are looking for, or just model it ourselves.
But that’s half the fun, right? That’s why we’re all here, to learn more about how to model in Sketchup. I’ve found a way to model anything you want in the IKEA catalog and see how it will look in your room, before deciding to purchase it. There are actually quite a few resources right under your nose that can help you create a fairly accurate model of IKEA furniture.
Step by step video tutorial
Resources for modeling
1. Product Dimensions If you look at a product in either the catalog or on the website, you’ll see they list the dimensions of the item. By using those dimensions you can get a lot of information about the size and proportions of the item your trying to model. It won’t tell you the sizes of each part that makes up the product, but it will give you the overall “volume” or “footprint”. Which in this case can be very helpful.
2. Images This is kinda obvious, but look at the picture of the product you’re trying to model. But don’t just stick with the picture of the item near the description. Look for those big pictures that feature an entire room full of furniture so you can see it from a different perspective.
You can also do an image search on Google for that product. There are many people who love to take pictures and post them online whenever they get new furniture or rearrange. You will probably find many images of the furniture you’re trying to model from many different perspectives.
3. Assembly instructions On the IKEA website, you will find some pretty detailed PDF assembly instructions for most of their furniture. Inside you’ll notice they show each part individually as it’s being assembled. It really gives you a good idea of the size of the part, and how it connects to the other pieces.
4. Measure in person Ok, this somewhat defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to do here, but if you really wanted to be perfect and get a true representation in your model, nothing beats going to the store and whipping out a tape measure. Don’t feel silly about it either, I see people doing it all the time. This would be the best way to get the most accurate dimensions for your model. For most purposes though, it is overkill. It all depends on the level of precision you are going for. It’s totally up to you.
Creating your Sketchup model
Once you’ve gathered all the information about the piece of furniture you want to model, you’re ready to start modeling.
The first thing to do is to create a box that matches the dimensions that were listed for that product. You can use that box to reference from when you’re modeling. Then, just start building it, one piece at a time. Reference your pictures and the assembly instructions often to estimate the dimensions of each part. Just remember that it’s not critical to be 100% accurate, you are just using this model to visualize how the space is going to look.
Once you’ve created the model, use the Photomatch tool to superimpose your model on top of a photo. You can then move the model around in different positions to see if you like the way it looks.
The end result is pretty cool. You can even take multiple pictures and photo match those to the same model too. And obviously, you could do this with anything, not just IKEA furniture. It’s just easier with IKEA because of the extra resources you get that help you create the model. For a step by step tutorial, watch the video above.