These days, the hammer, screwdriver, and bubble level in your toolbox aren't the only ones you should reach for when planning your next DIY adventure. With these apps, your iPhone or iPad becomes an invaluable resource to keep at your fingertips.
1. Home 3D
Price: $6.99, iPhone or iPod touch; $8.99, iPad
Undertaking any sort of remodeling or redecorating project can be pretty daunting. You want to know how the changes you're pondering will look, but it's hard to visualize before you pick up the hammer, lay down the carpet, or splash on some paint. Home 3D is one of the best 3D modeling apps available and will help you cut down on the guesswork. You can arrange and rearrange furniture, test paint colors and finishes, and move walls and fixtures around to find the best layout for your space.
It helps to have some experience using computer-aided design ( CAD) or other 3D modeling software, but even newbies should be able to figure it out. An extensive help section includes videos to help you out if you get stuck.
Price: $9.99 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
If you're ready to graduate from building Ikea furniture and branch out into real woodworking, Woodcraft is the app for you. Designed as a 3D modeling tool specifically for carpentry projects, you can use it to visualize your ideas and build plans and models, making precise measurements before you even cut your first piece of lumber.
Woodcraft allows you to specify imperial or metric measurements and choose between finished and unfinished lumber. Generate a project booklet for each project, which can be emailed, printed, or shared, and even print a bill of materials to make sure you get enough lumber, nails, and other materials.
3. DIY Calculator
Price: 99 cents for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
There's nothing more annoying than getting to the end of a project and realizing you don't have quite enough materials — or you have a lot left over. DIY Calculator will help you figure out exactly how much paint, wallpaper, tile, or flooring you'll need to finish your project before you spend money at the store.
You can enter measurements in either imperial or metric units and save multiple calculations. You can even email the calculations to yourself or whomever drew the short straw and had to run out to the hardware store for more paint. At least this app will help you know better for next time.
Price: $2.99 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
There are lots of apps out there that allow you to select a color from a photo on your device and match it to a paint color. Most major paint manufacturers like Sherwin-Williams, Behr, and Benjamin Moore have apps to help you figure out which of their colors is the best match. But that doesn't help you figure out the color that looks best on your walls. That's where ColorChange comes in, allowing you to take or upload a photo and change the colors without lifting a brush.
The app's Magic selection tool uses edge detection and adaptive smoothing to select large areas like walls, or you can select the areas yourself using a polygon selection tool, tracing, or painting the area. Then select a new color using the hue, saturation, and brightness sliders to see what your wall would look like in any color of the rainbow.
5. Handy Man DIY
Price: $1.99 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
A great companion for any handyman or woman, Handy Man DIY is an incredibly useful home improvement tool. Like DIY Calculator, you can enter room dimensions to calculate wall and floor area, even accounting for windows, doors, outlets, and switches. Save your measurements to use again later.
In addition to calculating materials, Handy Man DIY also includes pre-built shopping lists for common projects, cost estimators, and how-to videos and instructions. You can save and email shopping lists, create task lists, and even check the Getting Ready for the Season section to see what seasonal maintenance you ought to be doing around the home.