These apps and online platforms make it easy to plan your new house, renovation or landscaping project down to the finest detail – and then to hire the right professionals to carry out the work.
1. Room Sketcher
It’s one thing to imagine what your new house or extension might look like, but quite another to see it in 3D. Room Sketcher allows you to draw up a floor plan to scale with walls, windows and doors before fitting out your creation with all the things that make a house a home. Add bathroom and kitchen sinks and cabinetry, choose a sofa of any size and configuration, and choose flooring, wall colours and materials. And why not give your future space the finishing touch it needs with accessories such as lamps, pot plants and artwork? You can take snapshots from every angle (handy to share with your building designer, architect or interior designer), and take a look around the 3D version from a variety of perspectives. Room Sketcher is an online platform (no software required) that’s free to use. If you want to create and print high-quality 3D floor plans in PDF or JPG format, it will cost you US$49 to become a VIP user.
As well as providing endless inspiration with endless photos you can save into ideabooks (much like Pinterest), joining the online Houzz community means you can connect with the architects and designers also using the site to ask advice, get a quote, or look up reviews. When you’re at the decorating stage, you can create mood boards of materials, textures, colours and products (in the kitchen, think benchtops, splashbacks, tapware and lighting) and even place real furniture and other products into photos of your room or a floor plan. The drawing tool also allows you to mark up your mood board or highlight areas of note in a photo for future reference. Houzz is free to join and use.
3. Milray Park
If you’d love the help of an interior designer to transform a space, e-decorating is an affordable option. For a cost of $299 per room, Australian online design platform Milray Park hooks you up with a designer of your choice. After giving your designer a brief, a mood board and floor plan will be created for your space, and you can then collaborate with your designer online or by phone to finesse the details. The next step is to purchase the recommended products via the site (Milray Park offers a ‘best price guarantee’) or go your own way – there’s no obligation to buy. For an additional $150, you can request an in-house visit. A project takes 2-3 weeks to complete.
4. Home Outside
This landscape design app gives homeowners the chance to virtually transform their outdoor areas. Use it on your phone or tablet (Apple or Android) to mock up an aerial view of your property before adding landscape elements such as lawns, pathways, pools, outdoor furniture, decks and garden beds. The Home Outside app costs $4.50 and can be as useful to curious homeowners as it is to landscaping professionals looking to share concepts with clients.
When you’re ready to start getting quotes for your project, or would just like the input of a professional, it’s time to see who’s available in your area. HiPages allows you to request quotes from carpenters, electricians and other licensed tradies by submitting a brief detailing the work, cost estimate and timeframe. Before you know it, three quotes have landed in your inbox from tradies who can do the work (you can see their ratings and read customer reviews about them on the site for peace of mind). HiPages fast-tracks the time it takes to find the skilled help you need to get your project done, and saves endless frustration in the process (who hasn’t experienced the annoyance of a tradie who doesn’t show up?).
Technology is transforming the world we live in in all manner of ways. When it comes to building or improving our homes, smart innovations like these sure are making it easier!
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