Here's How to Get Home and Garden Tips Fast

Couch On A BallI love my darn iPhone. Every time I try to quit it, I find myself in need of its services – as a Filofax, a research tool, a camera. So when it comes to home and garden help, it’s seems like it would be a natural fit.

The trouble with apps (many of which are also available for the Android and BlackBerry, if you swing that way) is they’re only as good as their makers, and people who are skilled at coding and designing apps aren’t necessarily the same people who have a deep and meaningful knowledge of vegetable gardening. On the other hand, coders do tend to know about making things look nice, so ...

Here are some apps I find most useful for all things home and garden. Have you got more to add to the list?

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SnapShop -- This is it. This is my favorite. Ostensibly, it uses augmented reality to let you place a potential couch (with a link to buy it, no less!) in a photograph of your actual living room. And that's just great. But for the rest of the time when you’re not buying a couch, it’s really, really fun to just plop a red chair into a picture of your dinner and make it fly around! Try it!  Free

iHandy Level -- It’s a level! In your phone! Talk about using the phone’s power for good! Now, where's the iStudFinder and the iOutletTester? Free

GoodGuide -- We all try to buy the greenest possible cleaning products, but sometimes you’re out, and you’re staring at a box of dishwashing soap, and you just don’t know if it’s really OK or not. And it’s on sale. Okay, so check the GoodGuide, an app version of the website, and it’ll tell you how your product rates based on its database. Nice! Free

DecOrganizer -- Here’s what you do: go room to room in your house and enter all your measurements. Then, when you’re at Levitz and there’s a floor model on sale, you don’t have make a frantic dash to make sure it’ll fit. Now: Will you actually follow up after your download and enter the info? I’m guessing that if you pay for an app, you’d be responsible. $2.99

Dwell Magazine -- The app version of the groovy, modern interior-design magazine doesn’t offer all the magazine’s content, but there’s plenty here to use as inspiration. I think the best part is their curated list of products – there is some really beautiful stuff there, and some of it even fits my budget. Free

WhatTheFont  -- Maybe it’s because I used to date an art director, but I love fonts and typeface. I even loved that documentary about Helvetica. So, I mean, this app isn’t the most useful thing on the planet, but it’s fun to snap a photo of a poster and let the app try to match it to its database of fonts. Not that it works all that well, but it's still entertaining. Worth every penny, I guess. Free

Color Matchers -- Two color matchers from paint companies -- Benjamin Moore (Color Capture) and Sherwin Williams (ColorSnap). Point your phone at a wall and find the closest match from that company: It’s as easy as that. Like it. Like it a lot. Free

Pinterest -- I told you about the site – now here’s the app. I’m not even kidding you when I say that most nights, I page through the latest posts from the people I follow to soothe myself to sleep. That’s right, Pinterest is my visual binkie. Pin that. Free

Craftsy -- Etsy looks awful on the iPhone’s browser. And they haven’t made their own app. So am I annoyed that this one shares a name with my favorite online video tutorials? Yes. But I also love that it lets me explore cross-stitch patterns, felted flamingos, and knitted egg cozies, favoriting and buying as I go along. EnablersFree

Are you detecting a distinct lack of gardening apps? Me too. I had high hopes for a great gardening app – something that would clue me into planting and harvesting schedules for the Bay Area, since all my knowledge is still strictly East Coast. But every one that I found got bad reviews, and almost none are free. So I have no gardening apps for you! Do you have one for me?

What are your favorite eye-candy apps?


Image via SnapShop

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