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North Hills Monthly

Let Home Improvement/Organization Apps Help Make Your Space a Refuge

Sep 30, 2018 05:54PM ● By Jennifer Monahan

Making a house, condo, apartment or dorm room feel like home comes more easily for some than others. Whether you’re planning to redecorate, starting with an empty space or just need to declutter, home design and organization apps can help make your space more livable.

Amikasa is a 3D room designer app that lets users build and redecorate rooms using furniture, flooring and paint colors from actual brands. Would-be designers can select from typical room shapes or create a custom floor plan, set the specific dimensions to match the exact room, place doors and windows and then start decorating. The app incorporates social media options for sharing with friends and has a “walk-through” mode to enable users to take a virtual tour of the redesigned space. Reviewers give the app high marks for usability and for being among the best of its kind while still free—although the app will cost $.99 beginning in October, according to its website. (Free for now; available for iOS and Android)

The magicplan app allows do-it-yourselfers to create and edit professional quality floor plans, easily add and adjust furniture and keep track of the pricing for each room. A budgeting tool helps keep plans realistic. One of magicplan’s coolest features is that users take photos of their actual space to create the floorplan. Users can experiment with moving couches or chairs around to different spaces without having to exert any physical effort beyond the swipe of a finger. Floor plans can be viewed in 3D or as flat layouts. Magicplan is intuitive, even for design neophytes. The only downside is that downloading the final design costs money. For those content to keep their plans within the app for personal use, magicplan is a fantastic tool. For professionals like real estate agents or interior designers, check out the subscription prices before investing time into creating the perfect space. (Free with in-app purchases; available for iOS and Android)

Choosing paint colors is intimidating; the trial-and-error method guarantees frustration, and guessing wrong is expensive. ColorSmart by Behr takes some of the guesswork out of choosing colors. The app lets users search Behr’s color library for ideas or use the color-match feature to take a photo of an existing item and then find the closest matching Behr color. Its best feature is the calculator that estimates how much paint will be needed to cover a room. ColorSmart can also be helpful when trying to match a color on an existing wall for touch-ups. Proceed with caution, though. While ColorSmart offers a preview of what the color theoretically looks like in a room, nothing can take the place of seeing real paint on a real wall with real light—cranky reviewers have lots to say about colors that looked great in the app and not so much in their homes. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Houzz is an all-in-one design app that allows users to browse an impressive array of images for ideas and inspiration. Want to redecorate a master bedroom or do a quick update of the powder room? Houzz lets you browse everything from contemporary to beach style to craftsman to farmhouse chic and find the style that suits you. Users can specify various wall colors, flooring and even the size of the room to see what works best. Houzz also makes connecting with local professionals and service providers a snap. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Decluttering can be a challenge, especially when faced with the guilt of tossing out a child’s first-grade cotton ball painting of a snowman. The Keepy app helps to preserve the memories without preserving the actual construction paper creations. Intuitive and easy to use, Keepy has some neat features—including the options of storing video or of having a child use voice-over narration to describe her artistic process. Poems, artwork, LEGO® creations, violin concerts and all manner of kids’ creativity can be stored and shared with long-distance relatives and friends via a private Keepy website. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Tired of nagging your kids to pick up their toys? Use their smartphones against them. ChoreMonster is similar to an online chore chart where kids can earn rewards for things like cleaning their rooms, setting the table or taking out the trash. The app advertises that “your kids will beg to do their chores!” and while that might be an overstatement, ChoreMonster does have the dual incentives of being a fun, interactive way for kids to record each task and earn points toward rewards established by their parents. Designed for kids between the ages of four and 12, ChoreMonster can be an effective tool to help families keep their homes clean and uncluttered. (Free; available for iOS and Android)

Making your home a refuge might necessitate rearranging some furniture or possibly just making sure stray LEGOs find an out-of-the way resting place. Either way, take advantage of home design and organization apps to create some peace.