If you're like us, you have ideas about what your finished room might look like but have trouble determining just how to put it together. Sometimes it can be hard to visualize the big picture when it comes to designing and decorating. These five online tools will have you digitally designing your own spaces in no time.
Do you ever wish you could test out multiple paint colors without the mess of paint samples? Say "hello" to Colorjive — a web application that gives you the ability to upload a photo so that you can virtually paint it. As their tagline says, you can "paint a house with a click of your mouse." It really is that easy. Just upload a photo of the room or exterior you want to paint and presto! Their simple toolbar allows you to choose from fan decks for Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Glidden and other major paint brands.
Price: You can test out a photo for free on their website, otherwise it's $12/month with no contract required.
Going cross-eyed trying to figure out how to reorganize your furniture so that your living room looks fabulous? Give your back a rest from moving the sofa around the room a dozen times and test out Floorplanner. Whether you're moving into a new house or planning an update to your family room, Floorplanner, an online CAD (Computer Aided Design) system, provides you with an easy platform for creating floor plans and then decorating with more than 1,200 design elements. Once you have a design in place, you can even toggle from 2D to 3D view — a dynamic feature we found useful for seeing what your space might look like in real life.
Price: Their basic plan is free! If you end up needing more storage space you can upgrade to a plus account.
Want to channel your inner architect but don't want to invest in the training time and money needed to master AutoCAD? Fortunately for many design enthusiasts, the makers of AutoCAD have developed a web-based program called Homestyler for planning and creating floor plans, room layouts and decorating schemes. We love that you can experiment with real-world products and brands, making it possible to virtually test decorating items in your spaces. To help kick-start a design plan, you can either start from scratch, upload a background image to trace over or choose from one of the designs available in their design gallery. Simple drag-and-drop commands will have you creating the room of your dreams in no time.
Daydreaming about how some of your favorite IKEA finds might work in your home? IKEA has software that helps you design and decorate with their products and your home specifications. Like Floorplanner and Homestyler, IKEA Planner allows you to drag-and-drop choices, toggle between 2D and 3D and save and print results. They also have a kitchen planner that helps you create a design for your dream kitchen. Of course, the only catch is that you are limited to IKEA products.
Now that we've lined up some savvy tools for decorating your interior spaces, let's take our online design hats outdoors — The Designed Exterior by Ply Gem will help us do just that. With a wide variety of exterior components, materials and colors to choose from, The Designed Exterior gives a template for testing out different front elevations. Whether you just need to decide on paint colors or you're building a house from scratch, it will assist you in creating loads of curb appeal.
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