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Design Diary: Apps to style up your interiors

Our happy space in interiors is mapped, ready to download on our smartphones

Tabloid

In our fast-paced lives, do you really have to window-shop for your next refurb in real time? These apps promise to make design decisions as easy as a right swipe.

We are letting software algorithms dictate our shortlist of potential partners, friends, even topics we ‘should’ be interested in. Did you really think design was in some sort of low-tech quarantine? The route to our happy space in interiors is already mapped; ready to download on our smartphones to help make the process a whole lot more efficient.

While Instagram (followed by Pinterest) has emerged as the strongest force of digital influence in the creative world, a whole new swarm of apps is helping us re-fit our ‘likes’ into our living spaces. Design at your fingertips doesn’t get better than this.

HUTCH

If you have ever hesitated in making a design investment, you are not alone. Every design buy of mine has a chapter of ‘Will this work?’ somewhere between falling in love with a piece and the check-out. This app is quite literally, the digital version of what we all love most on design shows: before, and after. Take a picture of your interiors on this augmented reality platform and re-fit it from head to toe via Hutch. From changing wall colours and artwork, to dropping new furniture finds and accessories into the visuals, this app is your shortcut to ridding yourself of buyer’s remorse. You can even buy your favourite pieces without leaving the app.

HAVENLY

This is quite literally a match-making app; it acts as an interface between you, the client, and a roster of seriously talented design professionals who can be hired for as little as Dh300 to offer a one-on-one design experience. All you have to do is sign up and follow a nine-step ‘find your style’ guide that will ‘match’ you with the most suitable designer on their books. From seeking help on that one statement piece, to delivering a complete facelift for your interiors, Havenly is a global design consultancy on the go. Once the right match is made, you upload the information requested — images of the space, dimensions, etc and get going.

COLOUR CAPTURE

This is an app after my own heart. It is, of course, part of my job to get to the exact RAL codes of colours, but sometimes I need an instant colour fix. My recent trip to Cape Town’s historically multicultural quarter, Bo-Kaap, was one such moment where I yearned to have colour charts at hand. Known for its vibrantly painted homes, it reminded me of another similar street, half-way across the ocean and minus Bo-Kaap’s apartheid history: Portobello Road in London (then too, I didn’t have a swatch card at hand). In short, Colour Capture allows you to take photos on your smartphone, and gives its closest match right down to its technical code. Nothing is better than a colour sample that is actually painted in the space it is meant to inhabit, but this app lets you catalogue colour inspiration from anywhere you are.

APPS FOR THE PROFESSIONALS

Having a degree in design is not essential to downloading them and common sense will help you acquaint yourself, but these apps will guide you to approach your interior design projects in a more professional manner. For designers, these apps are the techie equivalent of having the tools of your trade in your pocket, wherever you go.

Floor Plan Creator is one of the most effective and reliable apps that allow users to create detailed floor plans in 3D. It comes most handy when furniture shopping, gauging if potential furniture will fit within the specific room size. Magic Plan comes second for its easy-to-use interface that can also generate job estimates.

Mood boards, cut sheets, specs and shopping lists all in one, Morpholio Board Pro helps make project management just that bit easier, while Paper by Fifty Three, with its ability to create realistic ‘hand-drawn’ sketches and take notes lends character to the most tech-savvy designer’s arsenal.

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