CRE­ATE AN APPY HOME...

GABRIELLE FAGAN speaks to in­te­rior stylist Heather Mil­ner, who re­veals her on­line re­sources for ideas and project plot­ting

Gloucestershire Echo - - YOUR HOME -

IF YOU’RE ren­o­vat­ing your first house, em­bark­ing on a project or sim­ply want to re­vamp a room, there’s a sur­pris­ing list of things to think about be­fore you get started – from nail­ing the lat­est trends, choos­ing colours, to mak­ing spe­cial buys and en­sur­ing every­thing fits your space. It can be time-con­sum­ing and nerve-wrack­ing, as we all want to avoid ex­pen­sive mis­takes – and cre­ate spa­ces that reflect our style and per­son­al­ity. Thank­fully, there’s now a whole host of in­te­rior de­sign apps out there to help make the process way eas­ier. In­te­rior stylist Heather Mil­ner, who re­veals her home style in­spi­ra­tions and tips through her In­sta­gram and blog – in­sid­e­herhome.com – has tested some of the best ones out there and cho­sen her favourites. Check out Heather’s top go-to apps (good news – most of them are free) and find out how they could help you trans­form your home...

1 IN­STA­GRAM

“IT’S a true sta­ple for gath­er­ing in­spi­ra­tion! I love the fact that you can dis­cover so many in­de­pen­dent mak­ers and crafts­men with just the scroll of a thumb,” says Heather.

■ WHAT IT DOES: “If you like sourc­ing unique, one-off items and want to avoid hav­ing the same pieces as ev­ery­one else, In­sta­gram is the per­fect place to find them,” Heather says. She points out that the site is mak­ing it even eas­ier to fil­ter through the reams of in­te­rior de­sign con­tent with its ‘save’ fea­ture, al­low­ing you to store im­ages and re­turn to them at a later date. ■ Free across all plat­forms.

2 DU­LUX VISUALISER

“UP­DAT­ING a wall colour is a sim­ple de­sign fix and the right shade can ab­so­lutely trans­form a room,” says Heather, “but choos­ing it from the huge range avail­able (not to men­tion the some­times be­wil­der­ing names!) can be tricky to say the least. “Make the wrong choice and it’s an an­noy­ing and ex­pen­sive mis­take to fix, so get­ting it right first time is su­per-im­por­tant.” ■ WHAT IT DOES: The Du­lux Visualiser uses aug­mented re­al­ity to show how its range of colours will look in your liv­ing space. You can save and share the im­ages if you want to get a sec­ond opin­ion, and buy your testers and paint di­rectly from the site. It all helps make it easy to turn your vi­sion into a re­al­ity.

■ Top tip: Don’t over­look the sim­plest way of check­ing whether a par­tic­u­lar colour works in your home by us­ing tester pots and A2 sheets of pa­per,

Heather ad­vises. Paint a whole sheet with each colour choice. Move the pages around the room to get a sense of how the colour will look in the space, and how it looks at dif­fer­ent times of the day when light changes.

■ Free to download on IOS and An­droid.

3 MAG­IC­PLAN

“ONE of the big­gest chal­lenges peo­ple have is be­ing con­fi­dent about mak­ing the jump from fall­ing in love with an item they’ve seen in a shop or mag­a­zine, to bit­ing the bul­let and pur­chas­ing it,” says Heather. “It can be so hard to visualise how, and if, an in­di­vid­ual piece will fit in the space, and it’s hugely dis­ap­point­ing and costly if fur­ni­ture doesn’t feel right once in situ.” ■ WHAT IT DOES: This app can be a great aid, she says, be­cause it trans­forms the painstak­ing or­deal of tak­ing mea­sure­ments and draw­ing up floor plans into an ef­fort­less process. It can com­pute dis­tances within a space sim­ply by analysing a snap­shot.

It cre­ates a pro­fes­sion­al­grade floor plan for your room, so you can see ex­actly what should go where.

■ Free on IOS and An­droid.

4 PIXPAX

“BE­FORE you start any in­te­rior de­sign project, you

should al­ways get a re­ally great mood board in place,” says Heather. “It helps you col­late all your in­spi­ra­tion and play around with dif­fer­ent colour themes and styles. “There are lots of ways you can do this dig­i­tally, but there is some­thing about a phys­i­cal mood board that I just love and Pixpax is a great way to bring your ideas to life.” ■ WHAT IT DOES: A free pho­to­print­ing ser­vice which lets you print 18 pho­tos (£3.99 for de­liv­ery, and extras, such as a Hang­ing Kit, are paid for sep­a­rately). “I take all my favourite pic­tures of fur­ni­ture, home ac­ces­sories and colour in­spi­ra­tion and print them via the app and then spend hours play­ing around with them to spark new ideas,” says Heather. “Its fun add-ons in­clude hang­ing dis­play kits for your prints, which make it easy to dis­play pho­tos around the house as well as be­ing great for mood-board­ing.” ■ Free to download on IOS and An­droid.

5 IHANDY CAR­PEN­TER

“I LOVE this app, which is a carpentry tool­kit, per­fect for us­ing for small DIY jobs, and avoids the need to in­vest in ex­pen­sive tools or pay for a handy­man,” en­thuses Heather.

■ WHAT IT DOES: It has five tools, in­clud­ing plumb bob, sur­face level, bubble level bar, pro­trac­tor that mea­sures 0-180-de­gree an­gles, and a ruler avail­able in both inches and cen­time­tres. By swip­ing left and right, the ruler is ca­pa­ble of mea­sur­ing things much longer than your iphone, but it’s wise to cal­i­brate the app’s mea­sure­ment tools first be­fore any se­ri­ous us­age ■ £1.99 on IOS and £1.54 on An­droid.

6 ARTSEE

“I’M A great fan of art and love col­lect­ing it, which is why this is one of my go-to apps,” says Heather. “Also, if a gallery wall is what your liv­ing room or bed­room is cry­ing out for, this could re­ally help you visualise an art line-up.”

■ WHAT IT DOES: It al­lows you to visualise the lay­out and look of art on your wall. You can take a photo of a wall, add an art im­age taken at a fair or seen in a shop or gallery, and show it to scale. Or, choose from room views avail­able on the app. It also has a range of colour art prints to buy.

■ Top tip: If you want to eas­ily move pic­tures around with­out dam­ag­ing walls, she also rec­om­mends eas­ily re­mov­able 3M Com­mand Strips (white pic­ture hang­ing strip – pack of three, £3.18, B&Q). ■ Artsee costs £9.99 to download on IOS and An­droid.

7 HOUZZ

“IT’S a to­tal Aladdin’s cave of in­spi­ra­tion be­cause there are so many im­ages to suit ev­ery style and taste,” en­thuses Heather. “I par­tic­u­larly like that you can col­lect and share ideas through a vir­tual ‘ideas book.’ It’s a great way to see what fel­low home ren­o­va­tors are in­spired by and ac­cess any tips/hacks the Houzz com­mu­nity have. “I also use it to search for ar­chi­tects, home im­prove­ment con­trac­tors and trades­men, be­cause you can read real re­views and browse through their past projects to make sure they’re ex­actly what you are look­ing for and are suitable for a par­tic­u­lar project.” ■ WHAT IT DOES: Users can get in­spi­ra­tion from over 19 mil­lion high-res­o­lu­tion pho­tos of home in­te­ri­ors and ex­te­ri­ors, all search­able by style, lo­ca­tion or room. Bridg­ing the gap be­tween home­own­ers and home­im­prove­ment pro­fes­sion­als, it can be used for plan­ning projects from start to fin­ish too, and find­ing pro­fes­sion­als to help with any jobs from a directory of over 2.4 mil­lion, in­clud­ing ar­chi­tects, in­te­rior de­sign­ers, land­scap­ers and builders. ■ Free across all plat­forms.

A mood board cre­ated us­ing Pixpax App, left, and right is a hang­ing kit, which in­cludes 18 pegs, string and Washi tape, from the same app

Heather Mil­ner, in­te­ri­ors stylist and blog­ger and In­sta­gram­mer at In­sid­e­herhome.com

The mag­ic­plan app can trans­form the or­deal of tak­ing mea­sure­ments and draw­ing up floor plans into an ef­fort­less process

The Du­lux Visualiser App uses aug­mented re­al­ity to show how its range of colours will look in your liv­ing space

Smart de­vices us­ing Houzz where users can get in­spi­ra­tion from over 19 mil­lion high-res­o­lu­tion pho­tos of home in­te­ri­ors and ex­te­ri­ors, all search­able by style, lo­ca­tion or room. It can be used for plan­ning projects from start to fin­ish too, and find­ing pro­fes­sion­als to help with any jobs

Artsee lets you visualise the lay­out and look of art on your wall

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