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The best home improvement apps

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Are you looking to start a home remodeling project? Help is only a smartphone away — and we don’t mean for calling contractors. Welcome to the world of home improvement apps. 

Available for phones and tablets, these apps are specifically geared toward answering basic or complex questions, scouting out resources, and helping you complete nearly any type of project. If you’re working on a simple DIY effort, like hanging pictures and shelves, you can find apps that help you measure the wall space you needed and visualize the new fixtures on your walls. If it’s a more ambitious carpentry job, you can find apps that will help you estimate the amount of wood required or locate lumber for the cheapest price in your area.

Here are some of the main home improvement apps you’ll want to have on hand.

Home improvement apps for construction and repairs

  • iHandy Level: An essential part of hanging any frame or building a straight dresser, shelf, or table is checking to see whether your project is level. Mess up the leveling, and you’ll go crazy coping with a crooked picture or slanted piece of furniture. Avoid digging out your old traditional lever by employing the balance sensors in your phone through the iHandy Level. It works for furnishings, picture alignment, angle measurement, slope, verticality, inclination and even roof pitch calculation.
  • Handyman Calculator: Never ponder the amount of material you need for a project or fret over the conversion of centimeters to yards again. Handyman Calculator runs the conversions and calculations for you. Simply enter the info you know, run the calculator, and get your results. Not only can you tote up materials, you can also track invoices, time spent and manage to-do lists.
  • RoomScan Pro: RoomScan Pro is a paid app that allows you to use your phone to scan your home and measure the spatial relationship of walls to give you an accurate digital blueprint of your place. You can touch your phone against walls, scan the floor and add walls and get precise measurements.Pull it out when you head to the home improvement store so you know exactly how much carpet to order or what length curtain rods you need for the master bedroom.

Home improvement apps for planning and inspiration

  • Home Design 3D: This interior design app lets you to completely design and remodel your house in three dimensions. You can design a floor plan in 2D or 3D, furnish and decorate and visualize and visit your creation. In addition to being available for your smartphone, this program can be used on tablets and your desktop, if you want to see your dream designs on an even larger screen.
  • Build.com: Visualize home improvement products with 3D models that let you see how items will fit and function in your space. You can even see how light fixtures will appear on a wall, how a ceiling fan will appear on a ceiling and what kind of sink or toilet will go well in your new bathroom. This app also allows you to connect live with project experts to obtain free advice and help finding any products you may need.
  • Magicplan: This app, which is largely aimed at construction pros, allows users to create floor plans by scanning a room in up to 30 seconds and build up complete floor plans in minutes. You’ll also get extra features like sketches,  material and cost estimation, 3D models and virtual tours.

Home improvement apps for painting and redecorating

  • Pantone Studio: The Pantone app allows users to build and create color palettes that can be tested on 3D-rendered materials and designs. The app provides color palette tips and access to more than 10,000 color hues.
  • Home Harmony: Uncertain about the hues for your home or room? The Home Harmony app allows you to virtually try out different tones. Simply upload photos of your space and the app shows you what it would look like in an endless selection of colors. The app also includes filters that show what the space would look like in different types of lighting such as fluorescent or LED. In addition to testing paint colors, you can also order paint directly from the app.
  • Primer: Primer is an augmented reality app which takes your paint swatch experience up a notch. Using the app you can digitally impose paint, tile and wallpaper from curated brands directly onto your wall. You can also use the app to share photo and video previews of your space with others.

Home improvement apps for shopping

  • Chairish: Named the “#1 Can’t Live Without Decorating App” by Architectural Digest, Chairish is a shopping platform aimed at those who enjoy buying and furnishing with vintage or antique pieces.   The app also lists new artisanal pieces. There’s also a “View Your Space” feature that allows for instantly visualizing what the items will look like in your home.
  • AllModern: The AllModern app allows you to shop for furniture and decor and also provides tracking and sale notifications. If you’re not ready to make a purchase, you can use the app to save items you’re interested in and even share them with friends or family. 
  • Home Depot: You can use the big box retailer’s app to search products in local stores and online. There’s also an augmented reality feature in the app that allows you to see products in your home before buying them. Other helpful features include the ability to create a shopping list, track your order and chat with a live Home Depot associate.

Home improvement apps for finding professionals

  • Thumbtack: The Thumbtack app connects users with skilled pros of every type from essential home services such as electricians, plumbers, handymen and roofers to outdoor maintenance providers. Thumbtack also provides cost and project guides.
  • Handy: From tv mounting and picture hanging to furniture moving and electrical projects, Handy can connect you with the appropriate professional. All the professionals listed on the platform have been vetted and screened. You can also use the app to pay for the services provided.
  • Angi: One of the best-known platforms for connecting with contractors (it used to be Angie’s List), the Angi app includes professionals for nearly every type of project from drywall, electrical and flooring to HVAC installation and carpet cleaning. It allows you to video and message with pros and even pay for projects through the app. 

Home improvement apps for design inspiration

If you’re looking for inspiration, design apps can give you a push in the right direction, acting as handy assistants for plotting your interior design.

  • Pinterest is a resource that’s totally free and chock full of style inspiration. From organization to choosing paint colors, you’ll find everything you need and the links back to blogs where you can access tutorials for getting the job done.
  • Houzz is equal parts inspiration gallery and home improvement encyclopedia. This app contains thousands of articles and tutorials that show you how to complete projects on your own and connects you to professionals who can take your design and make it real. Houzz has visualization tools so you can “install” furniture virtually before you make the big committment to a new couch or bed.

Home improvement apps from furniture stores

Many specialty furniture stores now have apps that allow you to visualize their wares in your new space, using a sort of software called augmented reality. 

  • Wayfair’s 3D View in Room app feature is a great tool whether you’re redoing an entire room, furnishing a whole house or searching for a great deal. You can see life-sized versions of products, arrange furniture and design your ideal space with the Room Planner tool and in addition, iron out your personal style with the app.
  • IKEA Place uses augmented reality compatible with being able to virtually place IKEA products in your space. You’ll get 3D and true-to-scale models of everything from couches and overstuffed chairs to lamps and side tables. IKEA Place can give you a spot-on impression of the furniture’s size, design and functionality in your home.

Next steps with home improvement apps

When you’ve got a list of home improvement projects to work on, stock your phone or tablet with a convenient toolbox of apps. Whether you’re DIY-ing it or just trying to educate yourself, you’ll find them useful.

Getting the best financing can make remodeling more feasible. Consider taking out a loan on the equity in your home to pay for the project. And yes, there are apps for that too.

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