For Learning About Your Tools
No other DIY app takes such a complete look at the tools we use to make our homes more beautiful, safe, energy efficient, and enjoyable. Bob Vila’s Toolbox even offers quick audio tips and 18 short videos to walk you through the basics of tool use. It's a super-informative, well-illustrated instruction manual come to life. $1.99 for iPad.
For Carpentry and Floor Work
For Choosing Colors
Is one paint company’s Foggy Wisteria the same as another’s Lavender Mist? HB Color cuts through color confusion with a smart palette of functions. Zero in on your intuitive preferences with a quiz, peruse color combinations recommended by decorators and House Beautiful editors, or fish from the “Color River” to find the moods, shades, and tints that fit your vision. $4.99 for iPad.
For Keeping To-Do Lists in Check
A virtual hub for your remodeling and repair needs, HomeSpot HQ lets you upload lists, paint chips, and warranties to keep all your information in one portable place. The tool will even send reminders for essential maintenance chores so you'll never again forget to change your air filter. Free online.
For Mapping Out a Floor Plan
Forget about graph paper—MagicPlan turns your smartphone’s camera function into a floor-plan tool. Easy-to-understand tutorials help you take a 360-degree photograph, which you then load into the app. This tool generates an interactive floor plan that you can save, export, and use as a basis for your next renovation. Free for iOS and Android.
For Saving Dimensions
Looking for a fast and easy way to save and share information like room dimensions, door and window sizes, or cabinet lengths? Use the app IMAGinE Measures to mark up photos on your phone with measurements and notes. (The app also calculates angles based on measurements.) Free version or $2.99 Pro for Android.
For Hanging Stuff Up
Billed as a virtual laser level, sightLEVEL uses the phone’s camera and accelerometer to determine angles and slopes. Just hold your iPhone or iPad sideways and tilt until the bubble is centered. You can even use it to find the slope of something. Free version or $0.99 Pro for iOS.
For Estimating Costs
Five-star renovation app Handyman Calculator offers a wide variety of customizable calculators to help you determine the quantity and cost of materials for your next job. In addition, you can use it to create shopping lists, plan future tasks, and flip through DIY tutorials. Free version or $4.99 Pro for Android.
For Design Help
Imagine Mark On Call as a pocket-size personal assistant. This app enables you to map out the floor plans of rooms based on their real-life dimensions. You can then move on to enrich the layouts you create with furniture, textiles, and flooring types, either extracted from your photos or from the app’s library. $2.99 for iPhone and $4.99 for iPad.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!