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The Bona Floor Design App

"See" Your Hardwood Floors Already In Place

Publisher's Comments

Part of the problem in doing a home makeover is visualizing what it would look like with the changes already in place. Thanks to technology, we're getting closer to being able to do just that.

Bona is a company that makes wood floor care products. My own hardwood floors have a Bona top finish on them and they've held up nicely since installation several years ago.

To help you visualize what your floor might look like in hardwood, Bona introduced an app for the iPad and iPad Mini. It essentially overlays an image of a hardwood floor on a picture you take of your existing floor.

I gave the new app a try because these visualization tools can be very helpful if they're done well. Here's the result of my experiment with it.

My Test Drive

The app is free so you simply need to head to the App Store, search for it by name (it'll come up if you just type "bona" in the search field) and tap the install button. Once it's downloaded and open you have the option of taking a picture of your floor within the app or using an existing photo from your iPad camera roll (the place where all your iPad photos reside).

I found it easier to take a photo of the floor with the iPad first and then call up that photo from the camera roll with the app. That's because if you have to back out of the app for some reason you lose your picture and have to retake it. If you use a photo that's already in your iPad camera roll you can just reload it in the app.

Image Courtesy of Bona / Apple

I took photos of two areas in my home; one that's currently carpeted and another that already has hardwood floors. I used the latter because it represents an area that had distinct, uncluttered boundaries. The carpeted area has more intricacies and took more time and diligence to prep as you'll see in just a bit.

The premise behind this tool is that it replaces the floor area in the photo with an image of a hardwood floor. It's up to you however to "tell" the app where the floor is in the photo. There are two ways to do this -- using a brush tool or by outlining the area with points. This is probably the trickiest part of the whole process. You can be as meticulous or haphazard as you like; the results of your coloring aptitude will determine how well the superimposed hardwood floor will render.

The photos below show the coloring/outlining exercise for my existing hardwood floor. After fiddling with both methods I found the brush ("coloring") tool to be easier to use, particularly in photos with more details and outlines. The tool works by moving your finger across the screen. Wherever your finger moves the screen turns red as if you had red paint on your fingertip.

Here's the "coloring" effort in process (keep in mind that the hardwood floor you see there is my existing flooring). The picture below that shows the completed process.

A handy feature is the pan and zoom tool which allows you to enlarge the picture sufficiently to color into some tight areas. I used it pretty frequently to get into smaller areas of the photo.

When you're through outlining or coloring you get to choose the type of hardwood floor you want. The downside here is that this app only lets you choose between either White Oak or Red Oak. Between those two you have a variety of stain colors to choose from.

The next series of photos below shows the results of my first experiment. You'll notice that the direction of the floor in the first picure below is at an angle with respect to the walls. You can change the orientation using a right/left angle tool which rotates the floor a few degrees with each tap. You can also change the scale of the floor to better match the scale of the other items in the image.

This next photo is the final result. All in all I think it turned out pretty well given that it's designed to give you a visual representation of what your floor could look like.

My next experiment was the carpeted area in my family room. The test here was to see how intricate I could get with the coloring process in a space that has more details. You'll see that in this room there's a coffee table with wrought iron legs and there's also a guitar leaning against the couch. In order for the superimposed floor to show under the table I had to color in between the legs.

Here's a shot of the coloring effort in process followed by the final product. It took me about 10 minutes to complete.

The last picture below shows the final result with a hardwood floor applied. Not a bad render if you ask me. The only real drawback to the final product is that it doesn't provide any shadow effects and gives you a relatively "flat" appearance of a floor. Look back at the original photo and you'll see the deep shadows under the chair and coffee table. These are missing in the rendered wood floor.

The Verdict

For a free app it's a pretty nice way of getting a good idea what your floor will look like in hardwood. Obviously you have to be an iPad owner to use this app and the results are only as good as your coloring or outlining skills.

If you want a relatively easy way to visualize your floor with a new hardwood design this app is worth a download. When you're done, you can simply delete it to free up space on your iPad.

You can download it in the App Store on your iPad or from the iTunes store.

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While you're here you might want to know a little bit more about your choices in hardwood flooring...

Choosing a Wood Floor

Birch Flooring Makes A Nice Choice

Reclaimed Wood - Get A Floor With A History

Wide Planks Give A Nod To The Old World

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