As soon as my husband and I got the keys to our first house, my mind was overflowing with ideas. I was already planning how to arrange what little furniture we had, color schemes and where to find the best accent pieces to make the rooms cozy. Once I'd got past my delusion that unpacking was going to be easy, I soon found that decorating the house was a lot more challenging than expected. Technology can give an assist these days, thankfully.
If you're overwhelmed with the task of making your house a better living space, these apps could help you channel your inner interior designer.
You can find almost anything on Amazon (download for iOS or Android). Simply search "home decor," for example, to begin your interior design journey. Browse through furniture, kitchen and dining room items, bedding, wall art and more. The prices can be pretty reasonable, and if you're willing to subscribe to Prime, you'll get free shipping and your items delivered sooner.
When you find something you like, you can either add it to your cart (and save for later) or add it to a public list that others can see and give you feedback. You can make multiple lists and easily switch between them in the app with a few taps.
One of my favorite features in the Amazon app is the augmented reality (AR) feature that's available on some furniture items. The app uses your phone's camera to show you exactly what a bookshelf or rug would look like in your home. Other items have a View in 360 feature that allows you to rotate a piece of furniture in the app. Unfortunately, not every item can be viewed in 360 or AR.
Home Depot or Lowe's
If you're renovating or remodeling a room, you might spend more time looking at appliances, power tools, ceiling fans, cabinets and flooring than checking out wall art. Home improvement superstores such as Home Depot (download for iOS or Android) and Lowe's (download for iOS or Android) both have apps to help guide you.
With the Lowe's app, you can search and view products in AR or 360, like Amazon's app. Home Depot's app has voice and image search features to help you track down what you need quickly, even if you're unfamiliar with it. Additionally, if you get stuck, you can live chat with a Home Depot product expert in the app.
Both apps include store layouts so you know where your item is (and where you are!) by store, aisle and bay number. Anything you order from either store's app can be picked up in-store or delivered to your house.
Palette Cam and Color Harmony
One piece of advice my mother gave me when I moved into my house was to not pick out furniture based on the color the walls were already painted. Paint is cheaper than furniture, she said.
Finding the right color scheme for your room is, well, an art form. Fortunately, the Palette Cam (download for iOS) and Color Harmony (download for Android) apps help tell the difference between "eggshell" and "ivory."
Both apps let you make color palettes-- from pictures, real life or your imagination-- and translates the color into HEX or RGB so you can buy the perfect shade for any project.
The Michaels app has weekly ads and coupons that you can use at checkout, a rewards program, exclusive offers, early sale alerts and more to help you stay on budget.
You can also browse products (to see if they're available and where they are in the store) and project ideas for crafters of any skill level.
Pinterest (download for iOS or Android) is one of my favorite apps to get decorating ideas. The app also has tons of DIY crafts and decoration ideas. You can grab some inspiration from other people's projects and photos or find a step-by-step tutorial.
Across the top of the screen, Pinterest gives you other suggestions to narrow down your searches. You can check out, "on a budget," "apartment," "rustic," "DIY" and more.
Wayfair's jingle gets stuck in my head all the time. It's easy to fall down the store's rabbit hole of bookshelves, rugs, pillows, tables and more in all styles. Shop by department or you can get inspired with curated collections of room ideas. You can explore everything available online or on Wayfair's app (download for iOS or Android).
There are sales every day that you can access in the toolbar at the bottom of the app's home screen. Wayfair offers free shipping if you spend over $49 and, with an account, you can save any items you like. Before you buy anything, see what it'll look like in your space by tapping View in Room 3D. The tool uses AR to project an item through your phone's camera and tells you its dimensions.
The app includes architectural objects like furniture and fixtures that you can drag and drop into your digital home. To truly visualize the space, Room Planner includes countertop colors, floor designs like wood or tile, and wall colors.
Whether you're starting a room from scratch or you're deciding how to rearrange your furniture, Room Planner is handy.
Once your home is finished, you want to make sure it stays in tip-top shape. Regular home maintenance can play second fiddle to our daily tasks and stresses. The Bright Nest app (download for iOS or Android) reminds you of anything that might need a routine fix.
The app is packed with homeowner maintenance tips and tricks about sump pumps, testing smoke detectors, inspecting fireplaces and checking for mold. Read up on ways to clean your microwave with lemons or ways to decorate an unfinished basement.