With 3D printing, companies and artists are now free to manufacture for design, and that’s changing up the landscape of home decor.
Most home products are designed for manufacturing, meaning they’re created to be easily and economically produced. But now that a single machine—the 3D printer—can make an entire product, the limits of design have stretched.
3D printing has already made an imprint on the home design industry, from ready-made products to digital designs that customers can print on their own. These range from items as small as Christmas ornaments to actual furniture, like couches and tables. If your home decor style leans toward off-beat, modern, or eclectic, 3D printed products can make unique pieces for your home, as well as interesting conversation starters. Here are some of the most exciting and useful home products to emerge in the 3D printing market.
The mass production and distribution of wide-format 3D printed products is still in the works, but for a pretty penny you can get eye-catching, one-of-a-kind furniture pieces direct from designers. Dirk Vander Kooij is a Dutch designer and craftsman who mixes technology with hand-crafting techniques. He built his own 3D printer and believes that manufacturing unique, quality products is preferable by far to mass production. Drawn, a 3D printing boutique, got started with the vision of locally producing custom-made furniture. Additive manufacturing allows artists to make products without huge investments in manufacturing or wasted materials.
While 3D printed furniture may not be on the table for everyone, stunning decor is available for any budget. Shapeways’ offerings range from toothbrush stands to the Aqueduct Mini Planters and Polygon Lampshade pictured above. Shapeways also has a 3D printing service that allows you to upload or create a design and have the product shipped to your door. Most 3D products share a smooth, lightweight, intricate look that pairs well with both eclectic and sleek home decor.
Exotic-looking vases and ottomans are fun, but how is 3D printing changing home design on a larger scale? While 3D-printed houses may still be out of reach for homeowners, the technology has already enhanced convenience and freedom to customize. For example, you can get your house plans printed in 3D, which will allow you to see your home in a 360 angle before making the biggest investment of your life. This can improve communication between the homeowners and the contractor, on top of providing a chance to tweak undesirable features before they’re set in stone.
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Additionally, 3D scanning and printing services will soon become a part of our shopping and home improvement experience. Lowe’s Innovation Labs has already brought 3D printing to one of their stores, making items such as door handles, cabinet knobs, and light switch plates available. The technology will soon allow us to easily replace broken, missing, and rare parts, as well as parts that are no longer in production.
Perhaps the greatest good that 3D printing will do for the home design industry is allow for less wasteful construction. In the future, home construction will be fast, affordable, and less wasteful thanks to this visionary technology.
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.