Virtual reality headsets for room makeovers to be trialled by John Lewis to 'help customers make braver choices'

John Lewis & Partners is to trial a new virtual reality shopping experience, allowing shoppers to visualise new homeware before buying

Virtual reality: john lewis & partners virtual reality experience shopping
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

There can't be anyone who hasn't experienced the disappointment of discovering, as soon as it's placed in situ, that the sofa/mirror/soft furnishings they were absolutely convinced would complete their interior scheme, just doesn't cut the mustard (*picturing Kelly Hoppen looking at yet another neutral-coloured sofa, thinking 'Why did I do that?'). Or perhaps you always find yourself playing it safe with – you guessed it – neutrals, because you just don't have the confidence to go for anything braver? You, according to John Lewis & Partners' latest initiative, need virtual reality home shopping.

You've likely heard of virtual reality in regards to gaming, which might leave you wondering how it could possibly be applied to homeware shopping. Well, put simply, this new technology is designed to help customers better visualise their space and make more informed decisions about what will and, more importantly, won't work in their homes.

Guided by John Lewis partners in three trial shops – Kingston, Cambridge and Horsham – willing customers will be able to put the dimensions, doors and windows of the room they want to update into an iPad via an app; after that, they can drop in John Lewis products to see how their room transformations would look in their home – a perfect first step for those lacking confidence when it comes to trying out new colours and styles.

Next stop? You can use the virtual reality app to change the colour of the walls and floors. After that, you can view the finished room either on an iPad, as a 3D room set in augmented reality, or wear a virtual reality headset to ‘walk around’ the room. Afterwards, if you still need a little time to think about it, you can sign up to have your new space – and shoppable links to the products you fell in love with in-store – emailed to you, for ease.

Speaking about this new venture, Caitlin Price, John Lewis Head of Buying for Furniture and Flooring says, 'Designing a new look for a room can be a lot of fun and a chance to express our personalities. However, customers tell us that uncertainty about what new products will look like in their home can make the decision making hard, and in many cases people revert to the safer tones of grey or beige furnishings. 

'This new technology will enable customers to be braver in their choices, and test technology that architects and interior designers have been using to visualise their designs.'

We're all for seeing people break the mould when it comes to fulfilling their interiors ambitions, and this virtual reality shopping experience from John Lewis & Partners is a step in the right direction. We can't wait to see how the trial unfolds, and give it a go ourselves in the not too distant future.

Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to pursue another career, but still loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.