December 1, 2023
Independent Apply Design Review: Pros, Cons, Competitors
Apply Design is a Tel-Aviv, Israel-based startup offering a DIY virtual staging software. They were part of Silicon Valley’s famous accelerator program Y Combinator in their summer 2022 batch. Having only launched in 2022 many REALTORs aren’t familiar with them even though they offer an outstanding virtual staging service. You can find out more about the company on their website or in their YC demo day video. Their mission is to build websites for realtors that virtually stage properties based on the buyer persona to fit their property lifestyle and furniture choices.
Services, Pricing & Quality
In this section we will take a closer look at the different services Apply Design offers, what they cost as well as the quality and how they compare to the competition.
DIY virtual staging
Apply Design started by offering a do it yourself browser based virtual staging software. You upload an image and are then offered a library of furniture items that you can choose from and can then manually place these furniture items into the picture. It’s the user’s job to make sure that the perspectives make sense and that the sizes of the different objects in relation to the camera point of view are correct. This takes quite a bit of practice so for the first few photos you should expect to spend a few hours to get to know the software and understand how to best use it.
Even once you know how to use the software, the results might not look as good as they could, as the software requires you to have an eye for design to come up with a good furnishing of the space and an appropriate selection of furniture items. Apply Design also offers prepackaged furniture sets to mitigate this issue but in our experience this seldomly is enough guidance to guarantee a good result from a design perspective.
While choosing furniture and placing the different items you should consider the potential buyer personas to make sure that the layout and style matches with their expectations.
Getting started with Apply Design is fairly simple: Once you have created an account which you need to verify with your phone number for you can upload your first image:
Apply Design supports 2D as well as 360 images. Once you have uploaded your first image it takes about 10 minutes for the software to analyze the room and understand the camera perspective.
Once this process is completed you can select furniture on the left hand side of the screen and drag and drop it onto the image on the right. You can move items to the left and right side, turn them 360 degrees or increase/decrease their size to move them to the background or foreground. Once you’re satisfied with the results you can click the render button in the top right corner and another 10 minutes later you can see the beautifully staged image.
As you can see the image looks quite realistic albeit not perfectly. E.g. The bed seems to be “inside” the wall behind it and the brown leather stool seems to be floating a bit. With more experience you can certainly reduce these artifacts but that requires a certain amount of time investment.
Apply Designs pricing for their DIY staging is quite simple: you pay one coin per 2d photo and 2 coins for each 360 photo. One coin is $10 but if you buy 10 coins or more it comes down to $8 and once you buy 20 coins or more it’s just $7 per coin. Coins never expire so it might make sense to buy more at once to benefit from their bulk discount.
Besides their DIY staging Apply Design recently also introduced “Auto staging”. This means that their software analyzes the room and automatically spits out a draft of where to place furniture. You can either just tell the software to pick any furniture based on the selected room type or you can even say which specific furniture bundle you would like to have added in the photo.
You then just need to go in and adjust this draft using their DIY staging interface to make the details more realistic or fix any errors such as items in front of a door that the software might have made while placing the furniture.
Apply Design’s auto staging isn’t perfect but definitely makes the staging process a lot faster compared to placing all the items from scratch in an empty room. Unfortunately their auto staging costs an extra 0.5 credit per image. This means that if you just want to get one image staged it would cost you $15 with auto staging. That’s the same price that some of the virtual staging designer services charge who do everything for you. In this case you have to decide between the tradeoff of getting results within the hour with Apply Design’s auto staging but having to spend time adjusting the furniture versus ordering with a done for you service that has 24 hours turnaround time but usually gives you better results and requires less of your time.
Example images after auto staging by Apply Design with minor adjustments
If you compare the results from Apply Designs auto staging with the results by other virtual staging companies you will see that they are pretty similar although their software had issues using the space in the living room in a sensible manner.
Example images after virtual staging by Stuccco
If you’re looking to reduce cost you should take a look at Virtual Staging AI. They offer AI based virtual staging in 10 seconds and only charge $1 per photo.
Example images after virtual staging by Virtual Staging AI
Virtual Staging AI is super easy to use: just upload a picture, select a room type and furniture style and 10 seconds later you get the staged result.
You can read our full market overview of the best virtual staging companies here which includes these three example images staged by all of the different companies we tried.
When you’re looking to list a property with existing furniture in it that may be outdated or if the property has a lot of junk in it, it might be worth it to use an item removal service like Apply Design’s one-click item removal service.
It’s just a box you have to click when uploading your image that tells their software to remove the furniture before you either manually add new furniture or let their auto staging place the furniture for you.
Since their item removal is free (you just need to pay for the virtual staging) it’s a good option if you want to use their service anyways to virtually stage your images. If you’re looking for a standalone item removal service other companies offer it cheaper such as Virtual Staging AI with an AI solution for $1 per image or BoxBrownie where a human designer does the item removal for $4 - $8 per picture.
Online Reviews about Apply Design
Apply Design has an excellent rating of 4.8 out of 5 based on 61 reviews on Trustpilot and they also boast a 5 out of 5 rating on Facebook based on 20 people’s opinion.
One thing you should do before ordering with Apply Design is search for coupon codes online and see which ones are still active as there are quite a few 15% discounts available.
Apply Design Customer Support
Apply Design doesn’t offer phone support but you can reach out to them via email or use the chatbot that’s available for logged in users and answers questions based on their FAQ.
Advantages of Apply Design
- Quick 20 minutes turnaround time
- Fairly realistic results
- Item removal included
Disadvantages of Apply Design
- Takes time to learn how to use the software
- Limited support options
- Almost as expensive as done for you virtual staging by designers
Best Apply Design alternatives
Our best recommendations for Apply Design alternatives are the following:
Stuccco: If you’re looking for more realistic results and want a done for you service we recommend Stuccco. Their virtual staging is between $23 and $29 so a bit more expensive than Apply Design’s but in return it’s completely hands off and the results look hyperrealistic.
Virtual Staging AI: If on the other hand you're looking to cut costs and go for a cheaper and faster solution we recommend you to take a look at Virtual Staging AI. They offer a free trial that gives you the actual result with a watermark and you only need to commit if you like the result but thanks to their fast 10 second turnaround time and cheapest price on the market of just $1 per image their offer can be quite compelling.
Styldod: If you’re looking to spend right around what Apply Design charges but want it done by a designer for you we recommend Styldod.
No credit card or signup required.