There are numerous tools available to get a home improvement job done. There are screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, ratchets, saws, and drills. There are pliers, bolt cutters, clamps, snips, routers, and sanders. There are…well, you get the idea. The list goes on and on. Each tool serves a purpose and it all adds up to a well completed project. However, there are some new tools in town and they aren’t of the traditional variety. These “new kids on the block” are electronic tools, and (believe it or not) there are a few you should definitely be keeping in your toolbox.
Not your average toolbox
- Houzz – This app is hand-held inspiration. It brings you over 325,000 original photographs from industry professionals (i.e. architects, contractors, and interior designers) to help you find just the look you want for your remodel or to help your client find the style he or she prefers. After all, not every one defines modern the same way. You can separate photos by room and then by metro area or style. Houzz also gives you information (ex. price) on certain items in the photographs making it easier to duplicate what you’re seeing. In addition, you can create personal “ideabooks” for future reference and share your favorite images on Twitter, Facebook, and via email. Note: Currently available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
- ColorSchemer – This app puts the rainbow at your fingertips. It brings you over a million color palettes to work with. If you find a palette you love you can “favorite” or email it. If a million palettes just aren’t quite enough, ColorSchemer also allows you to create your own custom palettes using a color wheel, photograph, or spectrum tool. Every color has a hex value and RBG number attached to it making it easier for you to duplicate that color. Note: You will need to sign up for COLOURlovers (it’s free) in order to create a list of favorite palettes and to participate in the community. Currently available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
- The Home Depot – More savings. More doing. You got that right! This app brings the “world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer” (according to The Home Depot’s “Our Company” page) to you. With this app you can research over 300,000 products, check store inventory (including aisle location), and purchase products. The Home Depot app also provides you with a toolbox that includes a “nut & bolt finder” to determine the size of a nut, bolt, or screw and tape measure based on your shoe size. In addition, you have access to drywall, floor, insulation, and interior paint calculators as well as a library of quick tip and product demo videos. Note: Currently available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android.
- Carpenter’s Helper Lite – This app brings you the ability to do normal calculations (like those on a standard calculator) plus more. Carpenter’s Helper Lite can convert measurements (ex. feet to yards), switch between English and metric measurements with the click of a button, and help you calculate pitch, rise, run, and diagonal. Don’t worry about remembering all these numbers because the app also allows you to store numbers in a “memory bank” for future use and reference. Note: In the “lite” (free) version of this app you can only store three numbers in the memory bank at a time. Currently available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
- Evernote – Think outside of the box your building. While not strictly a “home improvement” or “building” app, Evernote allows you to make notes, create to-do lists, record voice/audio reminders, and take photographs – it then makes all of these searchable for quick reference later on. Don’t have your phone handy? Don’t worry. Evernote allows you to sync your notes across all of your devices for easy access no matter where you are. In addition, you can share notes on Twitter, Facebook, and via email. This app will allow you to organize a project from start to finish. Note: Currently available on the iPhone, Mac, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android
When carrying out a home improvement project, whether you’re a professional or a “do-it-yourselfer” it’s important to always be prepared. Make sure you’ve got all the right tools for the job, and in today’s techno-savvy world, some of those tools might just be electronic. Use the five free apps mentioned in this article plus the many, many more available to help you get that job done…and move on to the next one!
Article contributed by Alex Webb