FREE APP FRIDAY: 5 HOME IMPROVEMENT TOOLS FOR PUTZERS AND PROS ALIKE

WHETHER YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS EVEN OWNING TOOLS OR YOU DREAM IN BLUEPRINTS, THERE’S A HOUSE-AUGMENTING APP FOR EVERYONE.

The holidays are long gone and spring won’t be here for ages, so it’s finally time to get some stuff done around the house. Here are a handful of apps to help you chip away at that ever-growing honey do list of yours.

1. IF YOU’RE NOT SURE WHERE TO START

Make sure Houzz Interior Design (Android, iOS) has a spot in your collection. For starters, there’s absolutely no manual labor involved. The app merely features ideas by way of some four million photos of rooms in houses that are far nicer than yours, along with products to buy, ideabooks to flip through and project articles to read. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to finally re-tile your bathroom. At the very least, you can procrastinate for a few weeks while you make your way through this gargantuan app.

2. IF YOU WANT TO PAINT BEFORE ACTUALLY PAINTING

Take Paint Harmony (Android, iOS) for a spin. You take a photo of the room you’re looking to recolor and the app lets you slap a virtual coat of paint on the walls. You can choose from built-in color swatches or the app will grab the colors from a favorite image of yours, should you want to paint your bedroom the exact color of those mountains you saw in Switzerland. Paint Harmony’s technology is able to “paint around” mirrors and shelving you have on your walls and automatically adjusts how your paint job will look based on the lighting conditions in the room.

3. IF YOU’RE TACKLING A BIG REMODEL

Load up PlanGrid (Android, iOS). The app stores all your blueprints, letting you create punchlists and track issues room by room. You can attach photos to each room, along with accompanying descriptions of what needs to be done (or fixed). Your notes sync to the PlanGrid site and any other devices running the app, so everyone working on your project is on the same page. You can upload up to 50 PDF-based blueprint sheets for free to the site, which should be plenty for most projects.

4. IF YOU WANT TO LIGHTEN YOUR TOOL BELT SOMEWHAT

Multi Measures (AmazonAndroid) might do the trick. The app sports 12measurement tools, including a compass, a sound meter, a stopwatch, and even a vibration-sensing seismometer. But we’re most interested in the plumb bob, surface level, bubble level, ruler, and protractor tools for putzing around the house. The rest are just icing on the cake. Whatever the case, it sure beats downloading 12 different apps. Note that there is an iOS version, but it costs 99 cents, and this is Free App Friday. So this is awkward.

5. IF YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO DO IT YOURSELF

Use Smith (Android, iOS) to hire someone who knows what the hell they’re doing. You snap a few photos or shoot some quick video of the work you need done, and the service collects bids from pre-screened contractors. Within 24 hours, you get the three best bids to choose from, at which point you can schedule the job. The service is available in 24 major U.S. cities, and you can read reviews of potential contractors or have a staffer guide you through the process if you’re on the fence.

[Photo: Flickr user Sonny Abesamis]
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