Home improvement projects are not always considered the primo topic that mobile apps are designed around, instead being relegated to a few tools that provide electronic rulers, height measuring, and leveling. That said, there are a few gems out there in cyber-land that can be used effectively when working on the house or a personal renovation.
Houzz – (http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/137147/list/Houzz-News–Welcome-to-Our-New-iPad-App) Offers a user the ability to test out different looks, appearances, styles and materials before ever getting started on a house project. With 260,000 different photos included, the app gives a user the ability to plan and match colors and motifs before causing that first hole in the wall or popping out that first floor tile. They do say planning is 50 percent of a successful project. Houzz makes that part easier.
Home Design 3D – (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/home-design-3d-free-for-ipad/id463768717?mt=8) For project types who want to do something new but aren’t quite sure where to get started, Home Design is another planning app that can break the ice. This one costs a small fee to LiveCad ($4 to $6), but it can be tested with a free trial package first. It provides drag-and-drop tools for a person to custom make their own room to be worked on. Then colors and flooring can be added or changed as desired to see how things will look with changes. Unfortunately, the app is only available via iTunes for now.
How-To and Instructional Apps
Home Depot and Lowe’s App – From the same big box stores, the Home Depot app (http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=SF_Mobile_Shopping&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053) is geared to inform a user where to find the right parts and products for a project. However, despite the clear marketing, the app provides useful tools for in-project questions. The calculator, for example, takes input on dimension specifications and then produces how much of a material will be needed (for example, drywall), including the hardware as well. The app also includes a bolt and nut identifier tool, making it easy to figure out which hardware is the right type at the store.
The Lowe’s app (http://www.lowes.com/cd_iPhone+Devices_789896474_) focuses more on very helpful how-to videos versus tools. These videos provide clear instructions on a variety of projects, including multi-angle displays. The videos alone can be a huge benefit for the first-timer doing a project all alone.
HandyMan DIY – For additional help with instructions, HandyMan DIY (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/handy-man-diy/id392541102?mt=8) is a keeper as it provides step-by-step instructions along with all the parts, hardware and supplies needed to do that project. The cost is $2 for the app, but the return can be huge when it comes to planning a project the right way ahead of time. The app also includes its own library of how-to videos, but most of the same items can be found for free on YouTube. However, the app conveniently matches everything up, which works well for someone on the go and little time to search for different bits of information on the Internet.
There are a few more apps available in cyberspace, but the above ones more than cover a lot of the basic needs for home projects. The remainder tend to be specialized or focused on measurement tools. So just with the above five apps, a homeowner can definitely cover a lot of ground quickly as well as save some money avoiding mistakes.
Nancy Baker, the author of this post, is a freelance blogger and she writes for Remco Pool Cover & Enclosures. In her spare time, she likes to write about home décor and home improvement projects.