It wasn’t that long ago that the most useful piece of gear homeowners could have in their pockets while tackling a DIY or fixit project was the trusty Leatherman multi-tool. If you needed a screwdriver, pair of pliers, wire cutters or more, it was right there.
Today the smartphone has definitely replaced the Leatherman as the most useful pocket tool. After all, the tool box is never that far away, but good information can be difficult to come by.
With these five free home improvement apps to help you DIY, you can get incredible inspiration, great advice and more with just a few taps of the touch screen.
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s have their own apps that are quite handy. What’s interesting is that the two big box home improvement stores took distinctly different approaches designing their apps. The Home Depot app is more focused on the nitty-gritty details of finding what you need and getting it installed. Lowe’ has made their app a digital version of their “Creative Ideas” magazine, and frankly, both apps meet specific needs very well. If you’re lusting for inspiration, the Lowes app will give it to you month after month. For straight practical advice and to help with all kinds of projects, you’ll probably find the Home Depot app a better fit. They each feature excellent graphics, including videos, and since they’re free, we can all afford to load both. They are available for both iOS and Android devices. The Home Depot app also supports Windows phones.
Hardwood Flooring Design
Some of us refuse to admit that we’re old enough to remember when “wall-to-wall” carpeting was the epitome of a classy home. The great thing about that era was that it ended up preserving some fantastic original hardwood floors. Today hardwood floors are back in style and to that we say, “Phew! It’s about time.” Sometimes consumers can be confused by the various woods and finishes available. This magical app lets you take a photo of your floor and then “virtually” install various hardwood flooring options so you can get a feel for the final look. It also includes a lot of specific information about the different materials. Once you have your flooring selected use the Carpet & Floor Calculator to find how much material you’ll need.
I remember the “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd when the iHandy Level was first introduced and it’s still the kind of app that amazingly takes advantage of modern digital technology is a way that is at once simple yet profound. All kinds of simple and even more complicated projects benefit from this app. If you’re hanging shutters either inside or out, this will let help you prevent things from going caddywhompus on you. And, once you have your shutters up, you can use the next app to help you select the perfect colors to complete the project.Â By the way, now there’s an Android version available for download.
Otherwise well-designed DIY projects can go bad at the last minute with the selection of a poor color palette. Have you ever seen something and said to yourself, “I love that color!”? With this app you can snap a photo of a color, or grab a color off the Internet, and instantly create a palette of complimentary colors. This gives you much more flexibility and allows for more creativity than you can get standing in front of the color swatch display at your local paint store. Free iOS app.