Ever wanted to go for some bold home renovations, but were afraid to commit? 

Nobody wants to drop thousands on something like a new backsplash only to regret it after the fact—and nobody wants a pushy salesperson at a showroom to talk them into it, either. Enter Primer, a new app that launched yesterday from co-founders Russ Maschmeyer and Adam Debreczeni. (Maschmeyer’s name may be familiar to readers of PRINT from the Don’t Fear the Internet project he created with his wife, Jessica Hische.)

 

 

Primer uses augmented reality to allow you to apply virtual paint, tile and wallpaper to your home, going miles beyond the tiny swatches of yore. The app boasts a clean and simple user experience: Place your phone against the wall that needs a makeover, tap “Place Swatch,” and then step back and cycle through a bevy of options from the app’s curated selection of partners.

As for said partners, the Primer team had three key values in mind when developing the app: authenticity (“we want to help you build relationships with the people who make the stuff you buy”), quality (“we want to highlight craft and care for customer experience wherever we find it”) and sustainability (“we champion environmentally conscious brands and we’re proud members of the Good Future Design Alliance.”)

So far, that has manifested in relationships with artist and surface designer Kate Zaremba; eco-friendly paint and wallpaper purveyor Farrow & Ball; textile and wallpaper company Elworthy Studio; artisanal tile supplier clé tile; and boutique home goods outfitter Hygge & West

It’s worth noting that Primer takes a more nuanced approach than some AR home improvement apps we’ve tested, modifying the visuals and compensating in real time for the brightness and color cast of the room. (Much to the delight of anyone who has ever swelled with joy at a swatch under the blinding lights of a big box hardware store, only to discover an all-new hue when they returned home with $200 worth of paint.)

And with COVID-19 keeping us at home—and daydreaming of what we could do to our homes—it  couldn’t have come at a better time, pushy salespeople be damned.

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