The Ikea catalogue can inspire dreams of a design magazine-calibre bedroom, or nightmares of countless hours assembling Billy bookcases with that most reviled of tools, the Allen key.

But the company is “taking the inspiration one step further” for 2013 with its augmented reality catalogue, which gives users access to enhanced content such as interactive features, photo galleries and films.

Using the Ikea Catalogue App on their smartphone or tablet (the app is available for both iPhone and Android users), customers will be able to scan pages marked with a special symbol to view the extra content.

Sweeping a tablet or smartphone over pages with the designated icon, which resembles a mobile phone, allows users to view multiple design ideas for one room before they hit the store, flipping through colours, patterns and furniture options in a split-screen format.

They can also see inside décor pieces that in the catalogue photograph are closed, such as storage cabinets, to get ideas for how to customize them.

This is not Ikea’s first foray into the digital realm, having already made its famous catalogue available in digital form for years.

The catalogue, first introduced in 1951, is also available via the iPhone app, which was introduced in 2009, and the Android app that was unveiled last year.

While the apps have a number of useful features, including the ability to make shopping lists, check stock availability and find special offers, they don’t feature every product the company offers.

The new features were introduced to customers through a preview video posted to YouTube, which boasts that, “Every year, (the catalogue) inspires more and more people around the world to create homes they love. Now, we are taking the inspiration one step further. This year, the Ikea catalogue is alive.”

The company says the 2013 catalogue is scheduled to ship in early August.