Use tech to get creative with your next interior design project.
Sprucing up your home, or even building a whole new addition, is best done with some planning. Fortunately, plenty of apps are available for Android and Apple smartphone or tablet users to help with the design, planning, professional consultation and even buying stages of freshening up a space – whether that means a full room renovation or a simple paint color change. Read on for the six best free interior design apps for consumers.Best for connecting to the pros: Houzz
Best for connecting to the pros: Houzz
(Courtesy of Houzz)
Houzz has a strong reputation for helping people plan and prepare for home remodeling and design, as well as providing access to a network of professionals and a marketplace for home decor products. It’s no surprise the Houzz app offers all the features available on its website, including access to your saved ideabooks and 3D virtual room staging. Houzz app users can also participate in forum discussions with other users to share advice and experience. Compared to other home design apps, Houzz offers the best way to connect with professionals, and includes customer reviews, project budget ranges and contact information.Best for creating floor plans: magicplan
Best for creating floor plans: magicplan
There are a wide variety of floor plan creator apps available to smartphone and tablet users, but magicplan offers the most user-friendly experience. This app allows you to create floor plans based on your existing home or room, or create one for a future space you have in mind. Your planning can get more detailed and realistic by including plans for electrical outlets, flooring types, appliances and other items. The app even allows you to import existing floor plans from elsewhere to use as a template or recreate an existing floor plan for future renovations. Once you’ve created a complete plan, your contractor can even calculate the estimated total cost of the project within the app.Best marketplace: Wayfair
Best marketplace: Wayfair
(Courtesy of Wayfair)
Wayfair reports that it offers more than 10 million products in its marketplace, and its app allows you to benefit by planning what will fit best in your home while also shopping for it. App users can take a photo of their room and insert photos of furniture and decor for sale through Wayfair to try out the placement and overall look before adding items to their cart. You can also visualize select rugs, linen and furniture products in your room through augmented reality.Best for choosing paint colors: ColorSmart by Behr
Best for choosing paint colors: ColorSmart by Behr
Your preference for specific paint colors may vary by brand, but if you’re looking for an app that will help you make decisions when it comes to painting walls, trim and other parts of your house, look to ColorSmart by Behr. The app allows users to explore color swatches and preview paints and color combinations in sample room images (though not in images of rooms you've captured). If you're out and about and see a building, plant or even fabric color you think would work well in your home, you can take a photo through the app and find the closest Behr color option.Best for trying out room design: Ikea Place
Best for trying out room design: Ikea Place
(Courtesy of Ikea)
The Swedish home goods store known for its flat-pack furniture and Scandinavian design aesthetic places a particular focus on where the user is. If you're in a room you want to design, the augmented reality feature allows you to place Ikea furniture in the room to see how it looks. If you're at a friend's house, however, and he knows he got his desk at Ikea but has no clue what it’s called, snap a photo of it, and the app will search the Ikea catalog to identify it. There is not in-app ordering, however, as users must visit the website or an Ikea store to purchase items.Best for designing for fun: Hutch
Best for designing for fun: Hutch
(Courtesy of Hutch)
There are times for serious planning for a new room design or renovation, and other times you just want to pretend you're an interior designer. Hutch presents users with a daily challenge when they open the app, complete with a hypothetical client scenario. For example, design a room in a Spanish-style bungalow for a client that wants a lot of color, at least one wooden piece of furniture and bohemian wall art. All items you put to use are real, with brand and pricing information available, as well as in-app purchasing. Compared to other design apps modeled as games, most reviewers note a big plus is there's no need to earn fake money to use different furnishings – and no need to spend real money to take part in the challenges.Discover the best free apps for home design, decor and renovations.
Discover the best free apps for home design, decor and renovations.
To recap, here are the best free interior design apps:
- Houzz: Best for connecting to professionals.
- magicplan: Best for creating a floor plan.
- Wayfair: Best marketplace.
- ColorSmart by Behr: Best for choosing paint colors.
- Ikea Place: Best for trying out room design.
- Hutch: Best for designing for fun.
She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.
Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.