With home remodeling costs averaging somewhere between $300 and $500 per square foot, becoming a proficient do-it-yourself is in many cases the only way for homeowners to realize their dreams. There are plenty of good DIY books and your local home improvement center probably holds some great seminars and workshops. However, one of your best friends might be hiding in your pocket right now: your smart phone.
With these six free DIY apps for the self-sufficient homeowner you can get a boatload of good advice and direction as you dig into your next improvement project.
Every good plan starts with a clear concept and that’s what you’ll get with Houzz Interior Design Ideas. This free iOS app is the biggest database of home design ideas and inspirations. It includes more than 200,000 hi-res photos. You can browse the photos by room types, styles and locations and then save your favorites. Take your idea “scrapebook” to the big box home improvement store so you can get all the right materials.
2. Dream Home
Continuing with the theme of inspiration, the free edition of Dream Home is another good app for iOS devices. You can apply various filters to target the styles, rooms and color palettes you really want to focus on. There are excellent high resolution photos, navigation is easy and no Internet connection is required. On the Android side, only the full version is available at a cost of $1.99.
Once you’re getting a handle on the scope of your project, you’ll want you fine tune your choice of colors and maybe customize it around some inspiration pieces. Palettes Lite transforms you into a color pro. Say your spouse had found a piece of art that will be prominent in your new room. Snap a photo of it and this free app will instantly create a palette of 25 complimentary colors. You can also use the colors of your favorite website to create the palette.
Standing in the flooring aisle of Home Depot and trying to imagine what those squares of natural oak parquette flooring will look like in your new family room can be difficult. With the free Hardwood flooring design app you take a photo of your room and the software lays down the hardwood flooring of your choice. No more surprises! The iOS app also includes excellent reference information about various types of hardwood flooring materials.
5. Carpet & Floor Calculator
Once you know what kind of flooring you want to install, you need to figure out how much you’ll need to buy and the bottom line cost. This calculator gets the job done. When you get to the store and start to look at materials, you can plug in the different prices so you can find the best flooring to keep you within budget. If you plan to hire help, those costs can also be included. The iOS version is free. The Android version will cost you 99 cents.
The hardcore DIYers who are planning an addition to their homes need to know the impact it will have on their heating and cooling system. With these BTU & Heater Calculators you can easily compute the size of any additional HVAC unit you might need. It takes all the vital variables into consideration: climate, orientation, insulation, windows and more. While the iOS app is free, the Android version will set you back about two dollars.
Armed with these six free DIY apps, the budding DIYer will get off to a strong start and should be able to keep costs and expectations under control.