From Home Design to To-Do Lists: Ten Top Mobile Apps for Homeowners

by joshe on August 21, 2012

There are home improvement apps, home design apps, to-do list apps, party planning apps, all of which are designed to make life at home a little more organized and forward-moving. But new apps arrive with such speed and frequency it’s impossible to keep up. With that in mind, let’s just slow down for a moment, take a deep breath (download deep-breathing app here), and consider these top 10 contenders for our favorite home apps for your mobile device.

Mobile Handyman

The Swiss Army Knife of home apps, the iHandy Carpenter ($1.99) adds five new tools to your tablet or smartphone: surface level, bubble level, plumb bob, protractor, and ruler. We’re still waiting for the app that actually hammers nails for you.

Home Design Help

Home design ideas are sometimes hard to come by. For those moments when you need just the right color, pattern, texture, and style, eDesign Assistant (free) will comb through 36,000 fabrics and furnishings from the Kravet and Lee Jofa brands, matching colors and making recommendations along the way.

Decorating Tips

With 150 iconic color photos, decorating tips from top designers, and interactive articles like  “Create a Mood with Color” and “Color Wheel Primer,” the HGTV Color Guide (free) brings you one  small, digital step closer to starring in an HGTV show based on your life.

Measure That Room

Photo Measure Lite (free) turns your photograph of a room into a set of detailed measurements. You can scrawl in the dimensions, arrows, any text, and end up with an exact layout to email to your contractor or bring with you, via smartphone or tablet, to the home improvement store.

Floor Plans

Who needs architecture school? MagicPlan app (free) can produce a floor plan of a room based on a few photographs. It’s currently the only application to measure, draw, and publish an interactive floor plan, which can then be sent as a PDF, JPEG or other types of files. With this self-created house diagram, you can get a head start on estimating your renovation budget, shop for stuff with all the right dimensions, and even document your house for insurance.  If you prefer to DIY, this app may also help you learn more about the fundamental of home design .

Get Organized

Put this down on your to-do list – download Any.DO, a free to-do list app that helps you organize your tasks, stay focused, and get them done. Any.DO can sync across various devices, so that both your smart phone and your tablet will be telling you what to do next. Thanks for that.

Easy Food Shopping

Grocery list apps have gotten very complicated with daily deals, flyers, and friend integration. That’s not the case with The Simple Grocery List (free), which harkens back to simpler times, when an app was just a mobile, digital version of the grocery list you used to stick to your refrigerator door.

Interior Design Expertise

Menus of colors, styles, and room types, along with hundreds of photos of interior design await on Dream Home ($.99), the app that helps keep you connected to the latest interior design trends.

Throw a Party

The granddaddy of party planning apps  is still one of the best. Evite (free) lets you build mini websites for various events, send digital invitations, maintain RSVP records, and share all relevant information and event updates with guests.

Save Energy

The Social Energy App and (free) are two apps that let you monitor home energy use online. The idea is to empower homeowners to let them compare their utility bills to homes of similar size, to give them access to information on the amounts of electricity, gas, and water they’re using, so that they no longer have to decipher cryptic monthly bills.

Because of the swift assembly-line pace of the app marketplace, compiling a list like this is a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. As soon as you’re done you have to start all over again.

Stay tuned for updates on great home apps here at

About the author

Josh Englander is a novelist and the founder of DesignLens, an online architectural publication that explores residential design and land planning concepts in America.

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