The Digital Tools You Need for Your Next Home- Improvement Project

If you’re considering a remodel, thinking about changing up your landscaping, or just thinking about a DIY project, planning ahead is key. Communicating your ideas to a contractor, making sure that everything fits the way you think it will, or getting a clear sense of your color palette can be difficult. Luckily, there are some digital tools you can use to model, sketch, plan, and get inspiration for all of your DIY and design needs.

Getting started

Getting started with digital design tools seems daunting, but you might be surprised by how simple these apps are to use. In order to get the best results, you’ll need a tape measure and in some cases, a photo of the existing room or project to create a detailed sense of what it will look like once you’re finished. Remember that the rendering you’re creating can only be as realistic as the information you input.


For an inclusive app that will help you create a 3-D rendering of anything from a room to a lamp, Sketchup is a good option. While it functions much like other Computer Assisted Drafting (CAD) software, it’s more intuitive and less intimidating than some other tools. The free version of Sketchup is likely enough for a beginner, but there are subscriptions for more advanced rendering. The downside to Sketchup is that it doesn’t translate curved surfaces well; the upside is that you can choose from a wide variety of tools, color palettes, and textures to get the look you want. With Sketchup, you can be as exact as you want, down to the 64th of an inch, or you can use the eyedropper tool to compare paint colors. You can get the app for free on a phone or tablet, or you can access the free tool from your web browser.

My Garden

For plotting garden beds, there’s a simple 2-D tool from Gardena called My Garden that includes a variety of surfaces, shapes, and some pre-loaded plants and furniture. In addition to building a layout using your yard’s measurements, you can also choose from pre-made templates for inspiration. The tool will work in your browser—no need for any download. You can save your plan from the home screen.

Room creator

For a fun, inspiring tool, the zmo room creator tool is a good choice. Upload any image of a room and input the room’s type and style, and the tool will give you a few ways to decorate it. While many of the rooms generated by this tool aren’t exact (or even up to code), you’ll find it a helpful way to visualize a room in different ways. Premium access is free for the first seven days after you sign up. There’s a video tutorial available on the site that shows you how to use all the tools the page has to offer.


If you’re looking to focus your inspiration, communicate your vision, or compare color samples, materials, and arrangements, a mood board will help get you there. Moodboardly is a free online mood board creation tool that can assist you with an AI concept and allow you to draw from your own preferences. You can also input product images from the web or use the drawing tool to create color swatches. There’s a warehouse of fabrics, textures, and furniture also included on their page.

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