Owning a home is like working a second job, so you need all the help you can get to save time, cut costs, and get inspiration. Here are some essential apps to keep in mind as you maintain and renovate your space.  


1. Houzz

Design geeks could spend hours surfing Houzz, an online database and store featuring over 12 million photos organized by style and function. The app helps you sort through it all and cultivate your own style guide that you can carry around in your pocket.

You start by selecting areas of your home that you’d like to work on and selecting styles that you’re interested in (i.e. contemporary, eclectic, modern, etc). Then, the app pulls together design photos and products based on your preferences. You can even mark up reference photos and paste in images from the store to see how a specific piece of furniture would fit with the room’s style.

Houzz also hosts an online community of homeowners who you can reach out to for ideas and solutions. If you still feel overwhelmed, the app puts together a list of home professionals in your area to help you achieve the look you’re going for.    

2. TapPainter

When you decide to paint an accent wall or an entire room, you might have trouble imagining what color would fit the space. What looks great at the store might look different in your living room. TapPainter takes the guesswork out of the process.

Simply take a photo of the room on your phone or tablet, then select the wall you want to paint and try out different colors. When you settle on the color you want, the app will tell you the closest matching color swatch for a number of brands.    

3. iScape

Landscaping can be difficult to visualize as well, and you want to have a plan before visiting the plant nursery. iScape let’s you snap a photo of your yard and fill it with trees, shrubs, water features, hardscaping, and more.

Even when working with a professional, iScape can help you communicate your idea visually before you break ground. It’s also fun for its own sake—see what your house would look like with a waterfall, surrounded by evergreens, or sporting a couple cacti on either side of your front door.

4. BrightNest

If you keep putting off your home maintenance projects, BrightNest might help you get organized. They’ve got tons of suggestions to help you keep your home clean, energy efficient, and safe. You can even add those tips to a schedule in the app so you remember to do them. Stick to it, and you’ll never forget to winterize your home or clean out your fridge. You might also pick up a few pointers you would have never thought of.

5. Encircle  

Creating an inventory of your property might be one of those tasks you’re putting off, but it's important to have a digital record of your things in case of fire or theft. Encircle can make the process painless, guiding you though the process of photographing each room of your home and documenting the items in them.

When you’re finished, you can generate a pdf report on Encircle’s website and store it on a drive in case of emergency.    

6. Nextdoor

If you’re new in town or just want to engage with your community, Nextdoor can help you connect with your neighbors. Like Facebook for neighborhoods, the app features a news feed for community members and a map showing other Nextdoor users on your block.

You might message a neighbor you don't know and meet up for a coffee or buy their dining set on the cheap. Users also post about volunteer opportunities and events going on in the area, giving you plenty of opportunities to get out of the house and meet some new friends.    

7. iHandy Carpenter

Being a homeowner means making a lot of quick fixes on the fly, and you might be surprised how many tools you can keep in your phone. iHandy Carpenter features a plumb bob, a surface level, a protractor, and a ruler. Next time you’re hanging a frame, you won’t need to dig around in the garage for the tool you need.

8. Thumbtack

When you’re up against a project that’s beyond your skill set, get Thumbtack. This app can put you in touch with a professional in just about any trade, whether you’ve got a leaky roof or you want ceramic tile in your bathroom.

It’s also not just for home improvement. Thumbtack can connect you with fitness coaches, photographers, artists, and more. The app helps you find the people you’re looking for, letting you compare quotes and look at reviews for professionals in your area.

9. Nest

Making your house a smart home is more complicated than downloading an app, but if you invest in the necessary equipment, you could save big on energy in the long run. The Nest app works with a thermostat, indoor and outdoor cameras, and a smoke/carbon monoxide detector, plus an array of third-party products.

You can set up Nest to turn the lights off and the heat down when no one’s home, and you can check on the house from your phone when you’re away. Nest also collects data on your energy usage, helping you pinpoint ways to become more energy efficient.