The best home improvement apps

Key takeaways

  • There are apps for just about every aspect of the home improvement process — including design or room refurbishing.

  • Some of the mobile apps are free to download but will charge a monthly or a one-time fee to use some of its features.

  • Most of the apps provide a one-stop experience to help guide users through the many phases of finding, hiring and paying contractors.

Are you looking to start a home remodeling project? Once you’ve figured out how you’re going to pay for it, the hard part is getting started. Thankfully, 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 home improvement project.

Home improvement apps for construction and repairs

While not a replacement for your toolbox, these apps can help you if you’re in a pinch.

  • Stanley 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 end up with a crooked picture or slanted piece of furniture. The Stanley level app is more convenient than a traditional level and it works for furnishings, alignment, angle measurements and more.

  • 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. To get precise measurements, all you need to do is touch your phone against walls or scan the floor. 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

If you have an idea for what you want your space to look like but need to visualize it, check out these apps to help you kickstart the design process. You can also use an online interior design service if you want a more comprehensive experience and don’t mind spending a bit more.

  • Home Design 3D: This interior design app lets you completely design and remodel your house in three dimensions. You can design a floor plan in 2D or 3D, furnish and visualize what your space could look like. In addition to being available for your smartphone, this program can be used on tablets and your desktop.

  • Build.com: Build.com allows you to visualize what home upgrades and projects will fit and function in your space. You can see how light fixtures will appear on a wall, how a new ceiling fan may look in your living room 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 get help finding any products you may need.

  • Magicplan: Largely aimed at construction pros, this app allows users to create floor plans. Within minutes, you can build up complete floor plans by scanning a room within 30 seconds. Plus, you’ll get access to features like sketches, material and cost estimation, 3D models and virtual tours.

Home improvement apps for painting and redecorating

Painting can be one of the most tricky — and expensive — aspects of renovating a home. Thankfully, these apps can help you compare paint colors and even test how different lighting will impact the shade. Using apps like these can help you avoid dreaded situations, like realizing that the beautiful shade of gray that took days to find is actually blue in the mid-afternoon sun.

If not included in the app, keep in mind that paint calculators are also helpful for determining how many gallons you’ll need to complete your project.

  • 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.

  • Paint Tester: All you need to do is upload a screenshot of your room and you can test how colors look on your walls before you paint. With PaintTester, you can even account for lighting by taping a physical color sample to the wall and taking a picture of it. The app’s color picker tool can match the sample identically, accounting for the lighting in the room.

Home improvement apps for shopping

Finding that new statement chair has never been easier. The apps listed below can help you search for, find and visualize the new pieces in your space without lifting a finger.

  • 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 lists new artisanal pieces and offers a “View Your Space” feature that allows you to see what the pieces could 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 can share them with friends or family to get a second opinion.

  • Home Depot: You can use the big box retailer’s app to search products in local stores and online. The app also has an augmented reality feature 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

Sometimes calling in a professional is necessary to ensure a job well done. These apps take the grunt work out of sifting through thousands of contractors to find the right one for your project.

  • Thumbtack: The Thumbtack app connects users with skilled professionals to help improve the inside and outside of your home. Within the app you can search for, chat with and hire professionals such as handymen, electricians, plumbers and outdoor maintenance providers.

  • 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 and you can.

  • Angi: One of the best-known platforms for connecting with contractors, the Angi app (formerly known as Angie’s List), includes professionals for nearly every type of project from drywall, electrical and flooring to HVAC installation and carpet cleaning. The app gives you the option to pay the contractors directly and lets you video call or message through its chat feature.

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 thousands of ideas from different tutorials, websites and blogs.

  • 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 dreams and make them a reality Plus, Houzz has visualization tools so you can “install” furniture virtually before you make a financial commitment to a new couch or bed.

Home improvement apps from furniture stores

Many specialty furniture stores now have augmented reality apps to test how specific pieces will look in your space. Long gone are the days of shopping all day and packing up a heavy piece of furniture only to have it not fit in your space. Use the apps to simplify the process of refurbishing or refreshing your home.

  • Wayfair’s 3D View in Room 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, design your ideal space and discover your personal style within the app.

  • IKEA Place uses augmented reality to see what an IKEA product would look like 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.

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