The 10 Best Home Decorating Apps of 2019

Design and decorate using easy apps on your phone

Photo of hand holding an iPhone, with app icons that spell
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The apps listed below can help you through every part of the decorating process. They’ll also give you a glimpse of the power you often hold in your hand. Your phone, and, in particular, an iPhone, gives you access to a relatively new set of apps that let you see, virtually, how an item might affect the look of a room. (Don’t worry; If you use an Android phone, many of these apps are available to you, as well!)

Our list begins with apps that let you explore alternatives, moves to apps that help you organize your concepts, continues with apps to help you find perfect pieces, and concludes with apps that let you map out each exquisite detail.

01
of 10

Browse for Hours: Houzz

3 screenshots of Houzz: Showing main screen shopping options, living room category options, and detailed category filter options

What We Like

  • Great place to begin your decorating journey

What We Don’t Like

  • Quantity of options may overwhelm

If you like to look at designs, you can spend hours browsing the photo-filled pages of the free Houzz app for kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and more. You’ll find not only photos and products, but also professionals who can help you design and build the home you want.

02
of 10

Find a Deal: Wayfair

3 screenshots: Wayfair home screen, featuring sales; Dresser category example; visual search showing similar items

What We Like

  • Room idea photos with tags overlaid on items you can purchase

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t always easily filter by some criteria (e.g., size)

With Wayfair, you can take a photo of a room, then search the site for similar items. Of course, the app offers traditional keyword search, too. With millions of items, and many sales, you’ll likely find at least a few objects you want to save to your list to look at later. The app is free.

03
of 10

Discover a Modern Look: Dwell.com

3 screenshots: Dwell.com home screen; Article photo, with heart (favorite) selected; Explore dwell, showing direct links to categories of content

What We Like

  • We wish every design and decor magazine site included Dwell’s social media-style features

What We Don’t Like

  • Look elsewhere if you dislike modern, uncluttered interior design

Yes, we know Dwell is a website (and a magazine to which you can subscribe). But the Dwell site also acts like an app. Create a free account, and then you can favorite specific photos, or add articles you like to a collection, no other software needed.

04
of 10

Capture a Concept: Pinterest

3 screenshots: Home design ideas, showing several pins; Lens camera search results for similar items; Filter search options (filter by Pins, Pinners, Boards; Show only your Pins, or Produce Pins)

What We Like

  • Follow decorators and designers you like for a steady stream of decorating ideas
  • Probably the best social app for home decorators

What We Don’t Like

  • Sometimes promoted search results are a significant portion of the pins shown
  • Can take several taps to discover product dimensions and details

By now, you likely know that Pinterest is one of the best free ways to create collections of items you want to see or share later. Visual search lets you look for items in a photo or with your camera. And Product Pins let you see if something is in stock.

05
of 10

View Virtual Products: IKEA Place

3 screenshots: Virtual reality rolling small cart placed in room; detail info on small step stool; overall catalog highlights

What We Like

  • Can place several items to set a scene
  • Visual search locates IKEA items similar to those your camera sees

What We Don’t Like

  • Placing objects accurately isn’t always smooth
  • Additionally need to install the ARCore app on some Android devices

The free IKEA Place app lets you see how items from this assemble-it-yourself home furnishing store look in your room. Select an item, hold your phone camera up toward your room, then tap Try in your place. Move the virtual object around your room. Tap the Check mark to drop it in place.

06
of 10

See Brand Name Furniture in Your Room: homestory

3 screenshots: Showing categories (chairs, couches, etc.); Virtual chair placed in room, with others at bottom of screen; Welcome screen for Assistant, which auto-places sample furniture after you scan the room

What We Like

  • Moving and rotating furniture works smoothly

What We Don’t Like

  • We sometimes struggle to place ceiling lamps properly
  • Beyond the name, brand, and model, no product details are available in the app

The homestory app offers a selection of items from well-known and respected brands. The free app lets you not only arrange multiple virtual items in your room, but also scan your walls, identify doors and windows, and then auto-fill the room with an assortment of furniture. You can edit these items, or ask the virtual assistant to replace all of them with another set.

07
of 10

Pick a New Palette: ColorSnap Visualizer

3 Screenshots: Welcome screen overview (Instant paint, take a photo, choose a photo); Instant paint wall found message; Showing changed color with Instant Paint

What We Like

  • Easy to experiment and see how a color changes a scene

What We Don’t Like

  • Wall and object recognition sometimes inaccurate

This free app from Sherwin-Williams, the paint company, helps you select and see how color changes your room. Aim your camera in your room. Once the app recognizes a wall, pick a color, and you’ll see how that color might look in your room. Or, work the other way around. Take a picture, and the app can create a palette from the colors in your captured image.

08
of 10

Replace Your Ruler: Measure

3 screenshots: Move iPhone to start message; Initial measurement options; Measured dimensions of a kitchen cabinet shown

What We Like

  • Measures many things with reasonable accuracy

What We Don’t Like

  • Calibration can take a moment

As of late 2018, Apple includes the Measure app with every new iPhone it sells, which means that every iPhone owner can now measure things. However, we never had to wave our tape measures around to calibrate them before measuring something.

09
of 10

Create a Floor Plan: magicplan

3 screenshots: Initial magicplan screen, showing plans; Pricing detail screen for upgrades; Sample floor plan after scan.

What We Like

  • Point and tap to make a floor map

What We Don’t Like

  • You’ll need phone with a gyroscope to capture a room with your camera

Magicplan may be the fastest way to create a floor plan. Point your phone at the floor, then point your phone at a corner and work your way around the room, tapping to mark each corner as you go. Tap done to view the room’s layout. You can create one plan for free, pay per plan ($2.99 per plan), or subscribe ($9.99 per month or $99.99 per year) to create an unlimited number of plans, enable plan export, and access all objects.

10
of 10

Visualize Your Room: Planner 5D

3 screenshots: (Top) 2D floor plan layout; (Bottom left) 3D room view; (Bottom right) Google Cardboard virtual reality view

What We Like

  • Works on macOS and Windows systems, in addition to Android and iOS devices

What We Don’t Like

  • Objects are abstract items, not specific products for purchase

Planner 5D seeks to meet both your 2D and 3D design needs. Build a 2D floor plan with accurate dimensions, then move to a 3D model as you fill your room with objects. On Android devices, view your room in virtual reality with Google Cardboard. Pricing for access to all 3D objects, customization, and high definition renderings varies by device platform, but is generally in the range of $2.99 to $6.99 per month, or $26.99 to $29.99 for lifetime access, with yearly options also available.