The best home design and interior apps to help you redecorate without leaving the house

The best home design and interior apps to help you redecorate without leaving the house

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The best home design and interior apps to help you redecorate without leaving the house

Jess Britten and Warren Durling have spent nearly five years making a 115-year-old Ponsonby hall liveable, and they've done it with a two-year-old in tow.

Redecorating can be a real joy, and a source of real tears.

Even people with the clearest of visions for a home redesign can get bogged down by the seemingly limitless options for colours, furnitures, and layouts.

Bringing in a professional to take on the tricky and boring parts isn't always an option, either. But like most things in our tech-driven world, if you're looking for assistance and are willing to do the work yourself, there's an app for that.

Whether you’re planning a top-to-toe makeover, or only wanting to re-paint one wall, there is a whole spectrum of free and inexpensive interior design and decorating apps that will simplify the process – all from the palm of your hand. Which is especially useful if you’re stuck in lockdown without your DIY supplies.

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Pinterest & Instagram


We would be remiss not to start this list off with the OGs.

With millions of photos to sort through, even the most specific of keywords (orange velvet Mid-Century curved sofa, anyone?) is guaranteed to result in a slew of choices.

With millions of photos to sort through, even the most specific of keywords (orange velvet 70s sofa, anyone?) is guaranteed to result in a array of selections, all of which you can organise into your very own “boards.”

One of the most frustrating parts about shopping and styling from the bottom of the world is not actually being able to get your hands on the items you spot online. But thankfully, the 'gram is home to a plethora of local design inspiration and the lowdown on local vendors.

Start adding a few of these secondhand design mavens to your follow list and soon enough, you’ll be in-the-know for all the trendiest pieces, and where to find them.

Jess Britten chills out in the open plan living space of her newly renovated family home. Converting a historic Masonic-style hall in Ponsonby into a cosy four-bedroom house has been a project four-and-a-half-years in the making.

First-time homeowners Jess Britten and Warren Durling transformed a 115-year-old fraternity hall, which they bought in 2016, into a cosy four-bedroom Ponsonby home. A big cost saver throughout the five years of “perpetual renovation” was Britten’s commitment to salvaging, upcycling and buying secondhand.

The old timber roof trusses became floating shelves for the master and guest bedrooms.

Flamboyant design guru Evie Kemp has also recommended a few of her go-tos:


Resene DIY DecoratAR uses the latest AR technology and can be downloaded directly onto your iPhone and iPad.

Resene has developed an app using AR technology, which allows you try paint colours out at home before you start painting, and it can also find the closest match colour to the things that are already in your environment.

Think of this like the reno equivalent to Pokémon Go.

To colour your walls in seconds, hold your device in front of the wall that you're trying to test. Select your desired colour and tap the area in your picture that you want to paint. The app will virtually paint it for you.

Don’t like the colour? Pick a different shade from the same family, or something entirely new, and try again. This is one way to save picking up a million test pots (especially good for indecisive types – you know who you are).

Once you've landed on a few finals, Resene recommends ordering a few real-life test posts and swatching the wall, just to make sure.

Finally, if you’re struggling to work out how much paint you’re going to need to complete your project, don’t stress. The app can also calculate that for you.


Houzz is a massive online community for architecture, interior design and decor.

Navigating a platform with so many functions can be a bit overwhelming, but there are a few key features worth taking advantage of.

Firstly, brainstorm. Houzz has more than 20 million high-resolution photos of professionally designed interiors and exteriors that you can filter by style, room, colour – basically whatever you want.

You can save and these share photos with friends, family and home professionals using ‘Ideabooks’, which aren't dissimilar to a Pinterest board.

Houzz is also integrated the with the Resene Colour Picker Tool, so if you see a colour shade you like in a photo on the platform – be it on a wall, a piece of furniture, or anywhere in the photograph – you can colour match it to the closest Resene paint shade.

And if you do decide you want to shell out on a professional, you can browse the portfolios of nearby architects, builders and designers.

Kmart ‘view in your space’

Free. Open the Kmart website in the web browser on your phone.

Some furniture and homeware items on the Kmart website have an augmented reality option that places them in your home virtually.

Although we would argue a truly satisfactory Kmart experience is only possible in person, one savvy website shopper noticed an extra feature that makes it easier to try before you buy.

Rangihuia Woods was shocked to find the augmented reality function when she was looking to purchase a $29 hallway table and posted a TikTok video demonstrating how it works.

“I just wanted to show you guys to see if I'm the only one who didn't know about this,” she said in the clip.

Using the AR technology, Woods uses her phone to virtually drop the side table against a wall in her hallway: “'So you can use it on your phone and you can place it in your house! What the hell?" she exclaims.

MagicPlan is a free floor plan drawing app.

Picking out colours and furniture is fun. Designing a floor plan and measuring stuff? Less so. Unfortunately, redesigning a home isn't all about the aesthetic. It begins with the non-sexy logistics like making sure everything on your wishlist will actually fit.

That's where MagicPlan comes in.

The app takes photos of your space and converts them into floor plans with accurate measurements. For an added fee, these plans can be exported in PDF, JPG, and DXF formats to share with contractors, designers, or real-estate agents

i-Handy leveller & carpenter

Use the app leveller to hang artworks.

The leveller is free; carpenter is $3.49.

The leveller is a handy app is perfect when hanging photos or art pieces.

It works just as a leveller would, making sure surfaces are straight, but is a more manageable size that you can just put in your pocket once you're done.

No toolbox? No problem. The carpenter app is a digital version of all the basics: A plumb bob, a bubble level bar, a steel protractor, a steel ruler, (inches and centimetres), and the level.

This article was produced in partnership with Resene. Read more about our partnership content here.

Together, we can keep it that way.

Whether you're trying to get onto the property ladder for the very first time, or you're a serial renovator who sees every room as a blank canvas, we've got tips and inspiration to help you make your space special.

Many of us are spending more time at home now than ever, so it's even more important that we make it a place we love. If you value home and property stories on Stuff, please consider becoming a supporter. You can make a contribution from as little as $1.


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