I recently purchased my first home, a condo on the northwest side of Chicago. Now, I’ve lived in plenty of apartments in the city previously, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. I figured it’d be smooth sailing once we got through the actual purchase process. And then a funny thing happened. I found that I actually cared about my home like a normal person might care for a small child.
This was my home! I had a responsibility to take care of it and make it look nice. Not to throw the same crappy apartment furniture in it and call it a day. So the last few weeks I’ve been using all sorts of apps to design my home the way I want it. It’s been an exhausting adventure, but I’ve stumbled upon some interesting apps that I thought were worth sharing for other people who are feeling that same sense of personal responsibility.
IKEA Catalogue (Free)
After enduring a terrible experience with an IKEA sofa that broke within three months of purchase in my old apartment, I can’t imagine ever getting another large chair from them again. But I still have friends that swear by the company, and you certainly can’t beat their prices. This catalogue is the app version of their mailer, but with added functionality. Now you can search the catalogue by keyword and bookmark items for quick viewing later. Once you’re done you can find an IKEA store near you and see your item in person.
Home Decorator Pro ($0.99)
The home I moved into was previously owned by a woman who used excellent judgment when it came to paint color choices. Most of the rooms were painted fairly neutral colors and the shades complemented the style of the room well. Except for the second bedroom, where she chose a bright pink shade that my roommate simply would not tolerate. So he spent a buck on the Home Decorator Pro app and went to work figuring out what color he actually wanted the room to be. It wasn’t very difficult as you’re able to lay down a number of colors over the layout of the room. You’re even able to email or Facebook your palette choices so you can solicit outside options. A few days after he picked up the app he grabbed some green paint and now he’s able to rest easy in his new room.
You’ll be surprised how many little things you’ll want to buy once you make your move. With that in mind, these two identically-designed apps may well become your best friends by the time you’re fully settled into your new home. Each has all of the items that can be found on their actual online stores, and you can also see the weekly ads for each store to find the sales that matter to you. If you don’t end up dropping a couple of hundred dollars at one, or both, of these stores, you’re a better man than I.
SnapShop Showroom (Free)
One of the more difficult aspects of moving into a new place is figuring out which of your furniture will and won’t make the move with you. SnapShop Showroom attempts to help users out by giving them a little Augmented Reality to play with. You simply bring your iPhone into the room you want to design and turn the app on. You’ll get a camera-style view of whatever your iPhone is pointed at and you’ll be able to insert furniture loaded into the SnapShop app over the image of your room. You can then spend the rest of your evenings rotating and moving around the furniture to see if it looks as good as you hoped it would. As a bonus, each piece of furniture has a link back to its retail website so if you find a piece of furniture you don’t have yet but you’d like to add, doing so isn’t difficult at all.
Home Design 3D by LiveCad ($4.99)
If you find the SnapShop Showroom too limiting, Home Design 3D might be more up your alley. Basically a computer-aided design (CAD) program, you can add furniture to your floorplan or spend days either building your dream house from scratch, or recreating your new home’s dimensions to properly place furniture exactly where you want it. Dimensions of everything including walls, objects and furniture are completely customizable, and you can then visit your home in 3D mode to see what it looks like from a first person perspective. If you’re a bit of a handy person, this might be the design app for you.