By Deanna Kane
From space planning to visualizing one-of-a-kind pieces, there are a plethora of apps to help design your home. Creating a dream home can be overwhelming, so use your smartphone to help simplify the experience. These home design apps take the burden out of preparation and selection, so you can enjoy the creative process.
The Houzz app separates the pros from the amateurs. Houzz is a canvas to begin gathering professional design ideas to ignite your own creative process. View similar spaces to yours, to help visualize your home’s potential.
“The best part about Houzz is you don’t have to filter out DIY projects; everything is posted by professionals,” says Eileen McGee Wetzel, interior designer with Story Hill Renovations.
If your toolbox is scarce, don’t skip the most important step of hanging pictures— ensuring they hang level. This straightforward app will turn your phone into a level, resulting in a straight wall of frames.
There’s no need for a tape measure when you download this digital measuring app. Take a photo of any room or item, and the app will show you the exact measurements.
“Understanding how furniture will fit in a space is crucial. Using a measuring app means you don’t have to pass up a one-of-a-kind piece at a flea market or antique store, because you are afraid it would be too large or small,” says Cynthia Wilson of Cynthia B. Wilson Interior Design.
Benjamin Moore’s app lets you take a picture of any color that inspires you—the lake on a sunny day, a dusty rose hydrangea, fabric from your grandmother’s vintage dress—and you will instantly receive its color match from Benjamin Moore’s 3,300 paint colors.
“Color Capture encourages you to take a chance with a color you might have previously ruled out,” says Wilson.
Art.com (iOS only; Free)
While creating a gallery wall looks straightforward, there can be a painstaking amount of measuring and arranging before you commit to hammering in nails. This app lets you create your “dream gallery wall,” and perfect the layout to avoid patching up the aftermath of measurement miscalculations.
“Gallery walls are still strong, but getting them started is sometimes a challenge. This app lets you lay out the gallery wall virtually before you hammer in the nails. You can also purchase prints directly in the app,” says McGee Wetzel.
Chairish (iOS only; Free)
If you’re looking for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, explore vintage treasures in the Chairish app. Once you’ve found the piece you can’t live without, use its “View in Your Space” feature to see it in your own home. (Pro tip: Double-check the seller’s ZIP code to avoid astronomical shipping fees.)
Eliminate any lingering scale or style doubts with this app’s three-dimensional functionality. Before making any expensive electrical mistakes, view how the statement chandelier you’ve been eyeing will look in your foyer, or avoid costly return shipping costs by determining if a set of island stools will work in your kitchen.
“This app is an easy-to-use tool to help visualize your ideas. You can take a photo of your space and try out wall colors, décor items, furniture and more,” says McGee Wetzel.
Hutch was developed with the idea to “allow anyone to discover their inner interior designer.” Select the room you would like to design, your preferred style and budget, and Hutch will create a photo-like rendering of a sample room with shoppable decor items. You have the ability to edit the room to best match your taste, including changing the paint color, furniture and art selections. If you are happy with the design, add the pieces to your shopping cart and purchase them directly through the app.
With the plethora of apps available at your fingertips, there is still no replacement for visualizing the item in your home. Scale is the most important element for creating a cohesive space.
“It’s imperative to double-check measurements when purchasing items online. Use blue tape or stack boxes to thoroughly understand how large or small an item is for the room,” says Wilson.
With the number of resources available to purchase furniture online only, the comfort factor can be a gamble. Wilson offers some tips to make sure the pieces that look perfect online provide the level of comfort and durability you need in a long-term piece of furniture.
“A trick is to look at the item’s weight. If something is very light, I would be worried,” says Wilson. “A dining room chair could be wonderfully upholstered and look great in photos, but you could find draping a coat on the chair causes it to fall backwards. Make sure you’re purchasing solid pieces.”
Wilson also advises that every piece you purchase online should come with a warranty.
While downloading a curated selection of home design apps can make designing your home infinitely easier, there is ultimately no substitution to seeing a color, fabric or texture in real life.
“The digital world is different than reality; you should never rely 100 percent on a digital image to make a design decision,” says McGee Wetzel. “Always find a physical sample and bring it home to see what it looks like with your lighting. When in doubt, hire a professional to assist with space planning.”
If you’re looking to keep your design experience digital but still want a closer level of guidance, e-design is a smart middle ground.
“Some interior designers have entered the digital game by offering e-design. This is a great way to get professional advice, then execute the design yourself,” says McGee Wetzel.
The Lakeshore Living publications are published by Nei-Turner Media Group, a full-service agency located in Lake Geneva, WI. Our four publications cover the picturesque lake communities of Lake Geneva, Madison, Lake Country and Northwoods.
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