Insider Guide: Angela Scanlon on why Virtual Reality is the Future of Home Design

May 10, 2019 / Insider Guides

First there was Alexa, easing busy lives in the home; now VR can actually design your dream home for you. Madeleine Bourne speaks to presenter Angela Scanlon about how VR can revolutionise the way we design our homes, as seen in her new BBC series, Your Home Made Perfect, with help from the show’s architect, Laura Jane Clark

The prospect of technology governing certain areas of our lives, especially our home, can often induce fear of hyper-surveillance in modern society. However, smart technology has redefined the way we run our homes, with smart speakers such as Alexa dominating the home technology market. In 2018 an estimated 10% of homeowners in the UK owned one such device, assisting them with everything from choosing the correct playlist for ambient dinner-party music to the life admin of setting alarms and reminders.

So, despite fears of technological infiltration, smart technology can actually bring a sense of ease and comfort to our lives, protecting our home’s tranquil haven from the hustle and bustle of outside life. Now there’s new technology available to tackle perhaps the largest challenge a homeowner can face: the design of their dream property. In her new BBC series, Your Home Made Perfect, Angela Scanlon delves into the previously uncharted territory of VR’s support in home design. Along with star architect Laura Jane Clark, Angela speaks to ELLE Decoration about the translation of the visual dream into actuality.


How has VR redefined the interior design process?


Angela: VR is a total game changer. So many of us aren’t visually minded and this stops people from being bold and taking unnecessary risks. VR lets people know exactly what they’ll end up with, both in terms of layout and understanding how [natural] lighting moves throughout the course of the day.

Laura Jane: VR showcases the drama and impact of your design, vistas and views through the layout, which the homeowner rarely gets to see until a build is at plaster finish. It can then give the homeowner a fantastic base to really experiment with colour, texture and style in a way that would have only previously been possible in the architect’s head.


Does VR endanger the finished design by imagining unattainable concepts?


Angela: I think the build always exceeds expectations. Although the VR is ‘photoreal’, you don’t get the details that come with actually living in a space and filling it with your own human touches. For the homeowner, I believe it takes away the anxiety of the unknown, allowing them to enjoy the design process more.

Without VR, how should a homeowner go about creating their perfect space?


Laura Jane: First, gather your influences on paper; a handful of images that you absolutely, completely love – anything from found objects to textures – which can be played around with and scribbled and drawn on. Like VR, these will give a foundation for creating your own vision and style. No matter what the interior zeitgeist is, if you pick images that you truly love, the end result will stand the test of time. Then, have a go at doing a hand sketch of the space from one angle. I always hand sketch my designs – it’s a great way to see how the space works.


Is VR the future of home design?


Laura Jane: Incorporating VR into Your Home Made Perfect means you don’t need to wait to see the finished design. Elements that may not make it into the finished build can really be explored and explained in detail without a single screw or sheet of play being cut. It is totally unlike any British property show on TV.

Your Home Made Perfect airs on Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC2.