Nine Cool Apps for All Your Home Decorating Needs
Choosing the perfect paint color. Leveling a shelf. Rendering a 3-D floor plan. Mobile help is on hand for all of those home decorating challenges. Let these apps inspire your next project-or take you all the way to the finish line.
Benjamin Moore Color Capture
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 paint company Benjamin Moore, will instantly match it to one of the company's 3,300-plus paints and generate a strip of color chips, just like the one you'd get at a hardware store. It also saves all your favorite shades for later reference. Identifying colors on the fly-with such accuracy, to boot-saves time, stress (is this the wrong white?), and money on do-overs.
Just like Color Capture, this app 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. The newest version of the app features an augmented reality experience in which users can "paint" 1,500 different colors on their own walls in real time. That last feature will show you how a palette of comparable colors (on walls and trim, for instance) will play together in a space.
If you aren't loyal to a particular brand, the Bluetooth-enabled ColorReader device will measure the precise color of a surface and identify the closest paint match across all major collections, including Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Behr. The corresponding app will also suggest coordinating colors and the pro version lets you see which colors are currently trending among design pros.
This app makes hanging paintings and photos simple. Place your mobile phone 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-you'll 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.
Tape measures are so last century. With this app, you point your phone's camera at the furniture or wall art you're considering, and it 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. You can eliminate the paper trail as you hop between stores and flea markets in search of the perfect end table or wall mirror.
After getting the dimensions of the space you want to decorate, snap a picture of it using this app. Then type all the measurements-furniture, windows, ceiling heights-directly onto the image. When you're out hunting for a new 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.
This app from the design wizards at Houzz is a must have. With more than 16 million high-res images of interiors, it's never been easier to share and annotate your inspiration board. Plus, you can shop over 10 million products, read reviews and see what pieces will look like in your own space using the app's super-handy "View in My Room" 3D feature. DIYers in the "a room is never done" camp will love the constant rearranging possibilities. Consider this a one-stop shop for all things design and styling.
HomeStyler Interior Design
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. 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.
Using 3D augmented reality, the iScape app lets you visualize what your backyard or patio might look like before you break ground. If you aren't exactly sure what look you're going for, the app's shoppable library features thousands of plants, hardscapes, and outdoor living elements to inspire your landscape design. A sun-slider feature shows how shadows will fall over surfaces throughout the day, saving costly mistakes by planting in the wrong spot.