Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ikea Bathroom Planner Tool

There's something about bathrooms. Okay, there's something about bathrooms when you're a clean freak. I was raised to be aware of germs and to differentiate between "clean" and "dirty". Now that I'm older, some of it has gone out the window, and some of it has stuck around. All you need to know is that I consider the bathroom to be a germ zone and a room to be used for "business" only. That means that I don't bother with bathroom storage or furniture.

A few months back, I found a fairly cheap, good looking, and probably very useful shelf designed to be placed over a toilet. Looking at the website, it may be the US$ 59.99 MOLGER, but I remember something slightly different. Regardless, toilet + $60 + furniture = money down the toilet for me. All of this probably explains why the bathroom section of Ikea is the one part I consistently pass through while barely slowing down. Regardless, here is a quick look at the Ikea Bathroom Planner Tool.

Ikea Bathroom Planner Tool

Where is it?
I found this tool on the and .ca websites last week when doing random browsing. It's probably available on the websites of other countries, but I didn't bother checking. I found a link to it on the homepage of the website near the bottom under "Planning Tools".
Full disclosure: I spent about half an hour playing with this tool and my unfamiliarity with Ikea's line of bathroom furniture was not helpful.

After clicking on the link, I was taken to a new webpage and given a very short set of instructions that disappeared after about 10 seconds. In its place, the tool appeared. The instructions essentially told me to choose a template/combination, customize it, then to save and print it. Unlike the GALANT planning tool I looked at last week, this one appeared to be 2D only. I essentially got one wall to put up mirrors, lights, cabinets, and whatever onto it. The sink could be further customized.

The tool loaded very quickly on my desktop computer. I'm running a fairly up to date Internet Explorer 10 browser and everything loaded within 30 seconds using high-speed, cable internet. The Adobe prompt asking me if it's okay to save something on my computer suggested that the tool was Flash based. Right-clicking seemed to confirm this as the menu had a line for "About Adobe Flash Player". Under this same menu was the title of the program: "BATHROOM - 1.0".

Options were available to open, save, print, and start over. And I noticed a running total of the cost of everything that was put into the bathroom.

Getting Started
There was a "How It Works" link in the top left corner of the screen that opened up a short video showing how to use the tool. It told me to click on a combination, click on a tab to customize it, how to use various buttons to add and remove things, customizing, etc.

I gave it a shot and managed to create a simple bathroom complete with cabinets and sink. by using the pop-up menus and dragging and dropping. All items should have been out of the Ikea catalogue. There appeared to be a snap feature to help align items. "Proper" placement of items onto the board was made easier with a visual aid in the form of greyed out items; that is, items that couldn't be placed in a certain location were greyed out. For example, sinks couldn't be placed near the ceiling and cabinets couldn't be placed on top of each other.

And while the tool forced me to choose a template to customize, nothing stopped me from deleting everything and starting from scratch. However, it seemed like the choice of template controlled the type of sink I could add. For example, choosing a GODMORGON combination didn't let me put in a LILLANGEN sink.

The planning tool allowed me to select from a range of sink and cabinet combinations, faucets, cabinets and shelves, and mirrors and lighting. Various items could also be added in different available colors. The most customizable item was the sink with an entire menu to choose the cabinet, sink, and faucet. Even the walls and floors could be customized by color and material (e.g. tiles or plastic, paint, etc.).

Unfortunately, not being familiar with the bathroom product line, I can't say how complete the list of available products was.

This was an okay planning tool. Being restricted to only one wall probably wouldn't help too much for planning out an entire bathroom. It seemed more like a "bathroom around the sink only" tool. Since the only other items in a bathroom would probably be the toilet and tub, the one wall restriction may not be too big an issue. Chances are that there will be updates in the future. Wonder when Ikea will introduce a toilet and tub line...

It's free. Try it?

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