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Appy Friday: Home Decorating in the Digital Age

Doing some home renovation? Turn to these apps for inspiration.


The thought of decorating a new home or sprucing up your current place is always exciting, but actually doing it can be a huge and daunting undertaking. Should you paint the walls canary yellow or lemon chiffon? Will Shaker-style cabinets look better in your kitchen than beadboard?

At times, it can feel so overwhelming that you want to give up, but there are apps that can help you, whether you’re looking to hire a professional or are more of the do-it-yourself type.

Houzz is a favorite of the “Today” show’s Natalie Morales. Available for iOS, Android or through its website, Houzz lets you browse through more than two million photos for home design ideas, by style, room and location. When you find something you like, you can save it to your personal Ideabook to reference later. In addition, there are links to buy furniture or decor straight from the site itself.

The service also lets you interact with the Houzz community, which includes architects, designers, contractors and homeowners, and can help you find a professional in your area to work on your home.

While Houzz is also a favorite with the Re/code team, another option is Zillow Digs. Operated by the real estate website Zillow, the site is similar to Houzz in that you can look through a library of photos to collect and share home improvement and design ideas. But it also provides renovation estimates for kitchens and bathrooms, with specific breakdowns of labor costs and materials. A Find a Pro section can link you up with local businesses for professional help.

Zillow Digs is free and available through its website or as an iOS app.

Of course, you don’t need to go to a house-specific site to get ideas. Pinterest is a great tool for collecting and discovering design tips. Available as a website and iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps, the social network lets you create boards around different themes and categories, like home decor, so as you find stuff you like on the Web, you can pin it to your board. You can also follow people and specific boards for more inspiration.

Finally, turn to your neighbors for help through a free social network called Nextdoor. Sort of like a Facebook for neighborhoods, the service is designed to help you connect with other residents in your community. Only users who live in a specific neighborhood and are verified by Nextdoor can access their local network, and everyone must use their real names.

Once on, you can ask if any neighbors want to participate in a nanny share, address safety concerns, or in this case, ask for recommendations about interior decorators, contractors or landscapers. As Re/code Deputy Reviews Editor Katie Boehret said, it’s a “vast improvement on antiquated listservs that start to feel like spam.”

Nextdoor can be accessed through its website or the iOS and Android apps.

(Appy Friday is a series by the “Today” show and Re/code that highlights some of today’s best apps. NBCUniversal is an investor in Revere Digital, which owns this website.)

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