Whether you are looking for inspiration to decorate a room, measuring up for a DIY project or preparing for building work, there is likely to be an app that can help to make the task easier.  

Apps have become a part of everyday life, helping us to monitor our health and wellbeing and to carry out all manner of tasks from buying food to booking a holiday. The home renovation market is no different, with a range of apps on offer to support with jobs big and small. 

We take a closer look at some of the most popular options on the market, as well as few newcomers, to see how they measure up.

Looking for inspiration for your next project?

Instagram and Pinterest are two of the most popular apps for finding interior design and landscaping inspiration. 

Don’t know which colour to paint your living room? After ideas for a nursery? Wanting to create the perfect outdoor space? In need of a practical, yet stylish storage solution? Fancy creating a feature wall in your bedroom? 

Whatever your home décor project is, both apps provide a plethora of ideas to suit all tastes and budgets, which can be accessed from the palm of your hand, via your phone, tablet or laptop. 

There are billions of “pins” on Pinterest with images that users can save to “boards” which can be organised and categorised, making them easy to find, while Instagram enables you to “follow” the accounts of interior design experts or search certain hashtags for inspiration such as #InteriorDesign #HomeRenovation

Splash of colour – how to colour a room with an app

Once you’ve decided on the look that you are going for, how do you know if the colour scheme will work in the room? 

There are countless apps that will enable you to virtually ‘paint’ your room and try a colour out for size. Many are affiliated to a specific brand but Paint My Place enables you to explore dozens of brands from around the world. The free app includes 25 paint colours, while subscribers can access over 50,000 colours from 32 manufacturers. 

Users can take or upload an existing photo of the space that they would like to paint, highlight their chosen colour and virtually paint the space. 

Dulux Visualizer uses colour picker and augmented reality technology to enable you to choose a colour from almost any item/piece of furniture and see what it would look like in your living space.  

Color Muse also enables users to scan in colours and find products that match and complement, enabling you to find the perfect accessories for your newly painted room. 

Similar apps include Color PortfolioColorSnap Visualizer and Color Capture.

Measuring up

Want to know if the sofa that you’re eyeing up will fit in your living room? Bought a new house and not sure if your furniture will fit? Or do you need to size up your room for some renovation works? 

There are a range of apps that will enable to you to calculate the exact dimensions of a room without having to dig out the tape measure, to enable more accurate estimates for contractors, and to help you visualise a room’s layout. 

MagicPlan is a free app (although there are charges for some features) that enables you to create editable, professional floor plans in minutes using pictures that you have taken on your phone. You can view your space in 3D, as well as adding objects, photos, annotations, product price lists, tasks, and taxes in a single tap. 

RoomSketcher enables you to create accurate 2D floor plans using ‘drag and drop’ drawing tools, and built-in measurement tools. Basic functionality is free and you can upgrade to access 3D walkthroughs and floor plans, photos, and 360° views, helping you to visualise the finished project.

Apps to manage planning applications

The UK Government is trialling a new app that aims to simplify the extension process for homeowners, architects and developers. 

RIPA – Reducing Invalid Planning Applications – uses simple language and diagrams to help you navigate the planning system. 

Many home improvements, such as kitchen extensions and loft conversions, don’t need full planning permission but the rules are complicated and often result in people submitting invalid applications for ‘permitted developments’, wasting time and money. 

RIPA asks a series of questions and determines whether the plans meet local and national requirements. Users can then apply within the app for the certificate they need to show their plans are permitted development, allowing building to go ahead. 

It has been launched alongside a second app – BoPS (Back Office Planning System) for council planning officials as part of the Government’s plans for a fully digital planning system. 

The apps, funded by the government’s Local Digital Fund, have been designed with Southwark, Lambeth and Buckinghamshire councils, and the local authorities are currently testing them in their local areas. 

Want to know more about planning? Read our beginner’s guide to planning permission

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