Expand your smart phone or tablet's job description with apps that turn it into a tool kit, remodeling guide, and all-around design assistant. Here are a dozen apps we've found extremely useful:
(Discovered any home design or remodeling apps you've found indespensable? Please share your finds in the comments section below.)
Above: No need to lug measuring tools: the iHandy Carpenter App includes two types of levels, a ruler, protractor, and a plumb bob (a tool that verifies the verticality of lines or walls). The iHandy Carpenter App for iPhone and iPad and the iHandy Carpenter App for Android are both $1.99.
Above: If you're like me, you pull out the measuring tape and jot down figures on a sticky note to take shopping or pass along to your contractor. Inevitably, the note gets lost or mixed in with the other crumpled notes at the bottom of your bag—or you just plain forget exactly which measurements belong to what. Instead, consider using Photomeasures, an app that allows you to take a photo of a space and draw the measurements directly on it. You can also add notes ("thinking sofa could go here"). Brilliant, eh? The Photomeasures App for Android is $4.99 (a free Photomeasures Lite for Android version is also available). The Photomeasure App for iPhone and iPad is $6.99.
Above: The AutoDesk Homestyler app allows you to experiment with paint colors, furnishings, and layouts using photos of your choosing. It's a great way to "try on" before making big decisions. The AutoDesk Homestyler for iPhone and iPad and the AutoDesk Homestyler for Android are both free.
Above: Whether you want to rearrange your furniture or create a draft of your ideal kitchen layout before meeting with your architect, there are several apps available for creating floor plans, including the highly-rated Home Design 3D ($6.99) and Home Design DIY—Mark on Call ($2.99), both for the iPhone and iPad.
Above: A tool for helping with the placement of lighting, artwork, work tables, and other items dependent on lighting conditions, the Sun Seeker app is recommended by architect John Maniscalco, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory. "Using the GPS in the phone, you can stand on a site, move the phone across the sky and it will show you where the sun will be located at various times of day and times of year. It's very useful for understanding site conditions and daylighting." The Sun Seeker App for Android is $5.99 and the Sun Seeker App for iPhone and iPad is $6.99. Image via Advanced Window Tint.
Above: Wish you had a handyman to help figure out how much paint or carpet you need? The Handy Man DIY for iPhone and iPad ($1.99) and Handy Man Calculator for Android (free) help calculate room dimensions, square footage, and costs. The app also offers shopping and task lists, as well as DIY tutorials.
Above: Stumble across your dream wood floors at a restaurant? Use the ID Wood App for iPhone and iPad ($4.99) to help identify the wood and find out if it's applicable to your setup.
Above: Looking for the perfect couch, stylish DIYs, or inspiration to refresh your space? Admittedly, we're biased, but the Remodelista App for iPhone and iPad ($2.99) allows you to peruse Remodelista's daily content with simple finger scrolling. The entire Remodelista archive of posts is browsable, as well as a list of all products associated with each post. The Remodelista LITE version is free.
Above: Pinterest has an app that not only allows you to pin photos (onto boards of your choosing) while browsing on your mobile device, but also enables you to access your Pinterest account and all the clippings you've already saved and organized. It provides a great way to plan projects and share your image inspiration on the go—shown here, a peek at my Pinterest kitchen board. The Pinterest App for iPhone and iPad and the Pinterest App for Android are both free.
Above: Phaidon Design Classics App for iPhone and iPad ($14.99) puts Phaidon's three-volume illustrated history of 1,000 timeless product designs at your fingertips in an easily navigable app. A product design encyclopedia tucked into your mobile device.
Above: Paint manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon with paint color apps that are fun and inspiring. Benjamin Moore's Color Capture App for iPhone and iPad (and Color Capture for Android) allows you to snap a photo of a color inspiration and get the match from Benjamin Moore's paint colors. Both versions are free.
Buyer beware! Philip Reno, owner of G & R paints and creator of Philip's Perfect Colors, warns that while paint color apps can be used as an inspirational tool, their utility beyond that is limited. "None of them have the capability to accurately represent paint colors as they are in the real world," Reno says. "The difference between the emitted light from a screen display and the reflected light of paint on a wall has not been satisfactorily bridged to date. Paint color is so subtle, it's just one of those things you have to see to appreciate."
Project Organization and Management
Above: Allison Bloom of Dehn Bloom Design uses task management apps with her clients to share To-Do lists, photos, product links, and the like. The Asana Mobile App for iPhone and iPad and the Asana Mobile App for Android are free.
Wondering which gardening apps are worthwhile? See Gardenista's pick of the Top 10 Gardening Apps You Need Now and the Best Gardening Apps for iPads. Living with too many cords and gadgets? Here are 10 Ways to De-Clutter your Tech Experience. Also check out these Wood, Leather, and Stone Wireless Chargers from France.