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7 Cool Apps for All Your Home Decorating Needs

Nailing the perfect paint color. Leveling a shelf. Rendering a 3-D floor plan. Yep, there are cool apps for all of those challenges. Home decorating is getting some mobile love, so let these seven apps inspire your next project -- or take you all the way to the finish line.

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner
PAINT IT: Take a photo, then touch anywhere on the screen to find a matching Benjamin Moore paint.

Best Hue Finders

Benjamin Moore Color Capture

How it works: When you spot a color that’s just perfect for that bathroom redo -- a vivid flower at the farmers’ market, say, or an evocative blue-gray sky—snap a photo with your phone. When you touch the hue in the image, this app created by Benjamin Moore will instantly match it to one of the company’s 3,500-plus paints and generate a strip of color chips, just like one you’d get at a hardware store. It also saves all your favorite shades for later reference.

 

Why it’s great: Identifying colors on the fly -- with such accuracy, to boot -- saves time, stress (is this the wrong white?!), and money on do-overs.

 

Specs: Free; iOS and Android

 

ColorSnap Visualizer

How it works: Just like Color Capture, this version from Sherwin-Williams uses its brand’s paints exclusively. After the app pairs your image with an identical hue, it shows you the color in both day and evening light, and lets you “paint” a living-room scene with several shades you might consider using together.

 

Why it’s great: That last feature will show you how a palette of comparable colors (on walls and trim, for instance) will play together in a space.

 

Specs: Free; iOS only

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner
HANG IT: Stash the iHandy Level in your back pocket.<br>MEASURE IT: Store your home’s every dimension in one spot (on your device or in the cloud).

Cool Measuring Tools

iHandy Level

How it works: Place your mobile along the top of the frame as you would a standard level; after a quick calibration, this digital version uses sensors embedded in the phone to assess whether the surface is straight.

 

Why it’s great: Never hang another crooked picture! Testers at technology-product review site CNET found the level to be consistently accurate within one degree. It’s also pretty, with a wood-grain background, giving it an old-school toolbox feel.

 

Specs: Free; iOS only

 

EasyMeasure

How it works: Tape measures are so last century. With this app, you point your phone’s camera at the furniture or wall art you’re considering. The app uses the lens’s tilt angle and height to calculate the item’s size, and lets you save the dimensions so you can compare it to other pieces you’re looking at.

 

Why it’s great: You can eliminate the paper trail as you hop between stores and flea markets in search of the perfect end table or wall mirror.

 

Specs: $2.99; iOS and Android

 

Clever Design Aids

Photo Measures

How it works: After getting the dimensions of the space you want to decorate, snap a picture of it. Then type all the measurements -- furniture, windows, ceiling heights -- directly onto the image.

 

Why it’s great: When you’re out hunting for the ultimate rug or light fixture, you’ll have all your pertinent home details on hand. Combine this app with EasyMeasure and you’ll always know what will work -- and what won’t.

 

Specs: $6.99; iOS only

 

Mark on Call

How it works: Created by interior designer Mark Lewison, this app lets you set up digital floor plans, then move furniture around with two fingers (rather than three people) to determine the best layout.

 

Why it’s great: DIYers in the “a room is never done” camp will love the constant rearranging possibilities. You can also take photos of design elements such as flooring, curtains, or fabrics and plug those in.

 

Specs: $2.99; iOS only

 

Homestyler Interior Design

How it works: Design a room in three dimensions with this high-tech app, devised by the company behind drafting software AutoCAD. After entering the measurements, you’ll begin building out your 3-D room with window treatments, accessories, and more, all available in the app’s huge library of real-life products from brands like Crate & Barrel, ABC Carpet & Home, and Kohler.

 

Why it’s great: It’s fun and all about inspiration: When you’re not sure how to jazz up your entryway, for instance, you can take items for a test drive -- without spending a dime. And a swipe of your finger removes a piece you’re not loving. If only redecorating were as easy in real life.

 

Specs: Free; iOS and Android

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