Must-Have Design Apps

A list of favorites by's Jan Ole Schmidt

Houzz is a one-stop shop for decorating and assembling interior-design sketches or idea books. There are 3D renderings of many products that you can drop into your space for a preview and 2D renderings of other products, which you can place in your room and photograph. The app lets you sketch and notate the pictures afterwards, making this a great way to experiment.

Floor Plan App (Laan Labs)
Creating a floor plan and taking measurements are often the first steps in an interior-design project. This app makes it possible to measure your room and create a very accurate floor plan in less than a minute. After calibrating your device, move the camera around the room and set pins. The app will automatically create your plan. You can modify and save it as a graphic or PDF file.

Measured by Lowe’s
No tape measure? No problem. This app from Lowe’s uses the device’s camera to measure just about anything. Perfectionists may still want to confirm with an analog tape measure, but the app is quite accurate—certainly more reliable than a simple eyeball guestimate.

Karndean Designflooring
When it comes to interior design, the right flooring is critical. Not only do floors need to withstand daily use, they need to “fit” with the décor of everything else in the room. The Designflooring app is a fantastic place to get started. After calibrating the device and scanning your room, you can virtually preview a wide variety of flooring options in your own space.

WhiteWall AR
This is one of the slickest ways to determine the perfect photos and frames for your room. Online photo lab Whitewall, which does premium printing, mounting and framing, has created an app that utilizes augmented-reality technology. Its 3D models let users move about the room as images of their own artwork appear on screen. Save and share screenshots, and order prints via the app.

Color Capture
This app from Benjamin Moore helps users find inspiration and create color schemes. Say you see the perfect color but have no idea how to identify it for later reference. Take a photo using the Color Capture app, then select the exact shade you want using your finger as an eye-dropper tool. The app will automatically suggest color matches from the company’s enormous palette of paint hues.

IKEA Place
It seems almost inconceivable to complete a home-decorating project without a trip to IKEA, especially for DIYers. The IKEA Place app saves home decorators a journey through the labyrinth megastore by making their living rooms a virtual IKEA. Place 3D furniture and other items into your space and see how they look on your device.