Virtual Toolbox: Cool Tools for Maintaining and Decorating Your Home
With hundreds of thousands of apps available on various operating platforms, your smartphone can become a “virtual toolbox,” filled with handy resources to simplify projects around the house and save a little time and money. Check out these five categories and download your favorites.
1. Learn How To Fix Stuff
Want to know how to remove old wallpaper? How to hang a new pendant light? How to install an electrical outlet? To replace bathroom tile? To do just about anything around the house and beyond? Try these resources:
- WikiHow – The “how to do anything” site also offers smartphone apps for iOS and Android that provide complete step-by-step instructions and illustrations. Get an idea of a project’s difficulty before diving in.
- iFixIt is a wiki-based site where users share instructions and tips to fix almost anything. A smartphone version is also offered to Android users.
2. Save Money on Home Maintenance
When it comes to home maintenance, half the battle is remembering to tackle different chores on different schedules. Here are two ways to keep tabs on critical tasks and avoid the hassle of costly repair bills:
- Upkeep Tasks (for iOS) lets you select from hundreds of built-in task reminders for maintaining your home, your car, your health, etc. Free and paid versions.
- Home Owner (for Android) lets you add items from your home (including serial numbers, date of purchase, and photos). Set customized reminders that make it easy to keep your house in tip-top shape!
3. Paint it Right
Painting your walls is a major project! The last thing you want is to pick a color—which was beautiful in the store, on the paint chips, and in the paint can—and discover that it misses the mark on your walls.
For a completely different approach to selecting colors, check out Adobe Capture CC (previously called Adobe Color Capture). Intended for design professionals, Capture is a powerful and free smartphone tool anyone can use on iOS or Android devices to generate a beautiful palette for a completely color-coordinated room (walls, trim, rugs, etc.).
For example, the COLORS tab extracts color values from any selected image (a photo you’ve taken or downloaded image files) and harmonizes the colors into five compatible options. It’s easy to modify the results by selecting different colors from the image. You can also pick “deeper” or more “muted” versions of the color scheme.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, “see” how a particular color would look on your walls before going to the paint store. Several paint companies offer augmented reality applications that let you view your room through your smartphone’s camera lens in a new wall color:
- Project Color - The Home Depot (Apple and Android)
- ColorSmart by BEHR for Android and Apple products
- ColorSnap Visualizer by Sherwin-Williams for Android and Apple devices
4. Landscaping Your Yard
Thinking ahead to spring? The Home Design 3D Outdoor and Garden app helps you design your ideal outdoor living space, including plants, trees, flowers, outdoor furnishings, and architectural details, then see how your design ideas will appear as a finished product.
5. Completing Your Virtual Toolbox
Make sure you also have a flashlight app, a calculator, and a shopping list app. They’re all handy tools for planning and shopping for your next DIY home projects!