If you’re looking to redecorate your home or fit out a rental property, there’s now a staggering array of home design tools out there that can help you.
There aren’t many problems that good interior design can’t solve: small spaces, low ceilings, poor natural lighting and more can all be addressed with a bit of thoughtful design.
But is it really worth delving into all of these apps and websites and taking the time to figure out if any of them can do what you need?
One of the most common uses of Pinterest, and I should know since my SO seems to use the app 24/7, is to collect home inspiration. And, don’t tell her this, but I do actually really like some of the pieces she’s found on there.
If you’re prone to forgetting where you came across something, using something like Pinterest to store the link in a visually appealing way is useful, but it can also result in a serious case of “Iwantitis”. Before you know it you’ve spent £300 on seventeen different quirky knick knacks for a room that only has one shelf.
What Pinterest is to accessories, Houzz is to interiors. With an emphasis on designing room by room and keeping things joined up, it’s a good way to ensure that you’re maintaining a sense of flow as you move from room to room.
We’re seeing more sites being created that aim to cut out the middleman and allow people to buy direct, escaping some of the hefty markups made by retailers.
IKEA is just one example of a brand with an app that uses AR to show users what a piece of furniture will look like in their room. IKEA’s, in particular, is very easy to use.
For anyone who’s ever stood scratching their head after assembling a piece of furniture that’s too big for where it’s supposed to go or clashes hideously with the rest of the room, augmented reality apps are a godsend.
In small spaces where it’s difficult to move actual furniture around a lot, experimenting with a 3D modelling tool like SketchUp or room planning software like HomeStyler can give you an idea of how you might maximise the space you have available.
Even if those top down views do remind me way too much of playing The Sims…
In cases where apps or sites can save you money, whether through saving by buying direct or avoiding ill-advised purchases, it’s difficult to argue that you shouldn’t be using them.
But, if you’re spending hours trying to get a floor design app to work when a quick sketch on the back on a napkin would probably get the job done, you might be making things more complicated than they need to be.