As a freelance interior designer and stylist, being tech-savvy is now a part of the job. Back in the day, being a together, well-prepared designer meant carrying a heavy portfolio thick with design ideas, fabric swatches, tools for taking measurements, and plenty of paper for sketching floor plans.
Today, with the right apps, you can do all of that from your phone. For today's designer, apps not only help with gathering design inspiration, but they can also handle the day-to-day minutia of your business, aid in client communication, assist in the actual design work, and even give you a mini-marketing department. Even if you don't design for a living, these apps can help you keep your next at-home project on schedule and under budget. Check out the top 10 apps that every designer needs to have in their pocket.
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The Best Interior Design Apps
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It should come as no big surprise that Pinterest, a giant inspiration repository with images and themes, is a great place for coming up with ideas. Pinterest provides more than just inspiring visuals; it is also the perfect website to brainstorm your ideas with a virtual mood board.
Not only can you create public and private boards, but you can also share them with clients (or friends), and ask your clients to pin on the same boards with you. You can source images from all over the internet and through your collection of photos on your phone, you can create a massive library of inspiration.
Pinterest is a great place to start when working with clients to get a sense of their style. It’s also where you can begin your initial steps of collecting images and ideas before creating floor plans and layouts in Photoshop.
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In today's world, social media can act as your marketing team, client manager, and market research, and so much more. With so many platforms, followers, and feeds to manage, staying on top of things can be a full-time job all by itself. That is where Hootsuite comes to the rescue.
Hootsuite helps you schedule your blog, Twitter, Instagram, and various other social media posts in all in one place. For a small monthly fee, Hootsuite can help you plan out all of your editorial content for the month. Best of all, you can read all of your social media feeds in one place. Hootsuite helps keep you in the know on what topics are trending on social media and the news so that you can create relevant content that your readers will love.
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One of the biggest aspects of any interior design project is keeping track of all of the tasks that need to be done. That's what makes Wunderlist such an indispensable tool for creating interactive to-do lists that you can share with your clients, contractors, and creative team.
This app will help you to set and manage install dates, rank tasks by priority and degree of completion, and add sub-tasks to help break big projects down into small assignments. You can even add photos to each to-do list, which will help you be clear in making assignments and specific in tracking progress. You can use this app daily as a virtual clipboard for all of the day-to-day tasks that you need to check off the list before the end of the day.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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If you want to work transparently with your team or a client, you should use Evernote. Hands down, this is one of the best web-based project management apps around. You can use Evernote to handle day-to-day tasks while keeping an eye on the broad strokes of the overall project.
All of your team members can work in the application at once, and updates can be shared instantly. This app allows you to create continual, yet non-intrusive, communication, with a team by dividing up the tasks through texts, reminders, checklists, photos, and more—all accessible anywhere and at any time.
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Room Planner LE Home Design App
Room Planner, which is available in the app store for iPhone and Android phones, lets designers mock-up floor plans in 2D, and then translate them to 3D. You can experiment with the overall vision of a space by adding furniture and accessories and changing colors. And if that was not enough, all of your work can be shared via e-mail or Facebook, allowing you to get room mockups to your client instantly for fast approvals.
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Adobe Capture CC
Prepare to change the way you interact with your photos. Do your photos give you a color story? With Adobe Capture CC your iPhone becomes a gateway leading you to a whole new world of inspiration. Combining four of Adobe's previous image manipulation applications into one convenient package, Capture CC will let you take any picture and extract a color palette from the image.
Does your client want to be reminded of their trip to Thailand or be surrounded by the same colors they remember from their childhood home in Greece? With this app, you can take a client's vacation or family photos and turn them into the color schemes that will define their rooms. This app takes what would have been several weeks of work toiling on a desktop and spits out a color scheme in minutes.
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Homestyler Interior Design
If you are ready to think big for the redesign on a room, but you do not want to do all the heavy lifting of moving furniture or buying new pieces, try the Homestyler Interior Design app. This app will help you translate a great idea for a client into an image without having to alter the physical space one iota. Turn a photo of a room into a 3D landscape into which you can place rugs, position furniture, and install lighting, all using 3D models of actual products.
The app is also completely shareable, so you can see and comment on the work of others, and, more importantly, share your work with clients or collaborators in short order. This app is such a delight; you may find yourself tinkering with it just for fun. Simply take a photo of your favorite room and let the playtime begin.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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In any collaborative design project, communication is key. Zoom lets you take your video conferencing to the same level as an in-person meeting from anywhere you have an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.
With Zoom, you can create a conference that is instantly joinable for up to 25 people. During the meeting, you can assign breakout groups for discussions among specific teams, “raise your hand” in a webinar, create a whiteboard effect for making collective lists, and even share screens, photos, and Dropbox files without having to leave the conference.
Working over 3G and 4G networks as well as WiFi, this level of web video communication will allow you to work from almost anywhere while staying connected with multiple teams across multiple projects. So whether you run a small team or an entire design firm, stay on top of things while preserving your freedom of movement.
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It may not be the most glamorous part of design work, but you have to have a reliable app to keep track of cash flow throughout a project, and no one does reliable accounting like Quickbooks. Track project budgets, log-in your hours and set deadlines to make sure payments are going out and coming in on time from your phone or tablet. There may be no more essential app for making sure that your design business stays in the black.