Please select a Make and Model
Essential apps for DIY lovers
4th October, 2021 |
The public embraced DIY during lockdown. What else were we all to do? Almost two thirds (60%) of people said that spending more time in their homes and gardens encouraged them to refresh their spaces, with the younger generation really taking to doing it themselves, according to a recent survey.
But not all DIY attempts would have been successful…
You have to expect the odd mishap, but with the right use of technology, you can keep shoddy workmanship to a minimum.
The smartphone has proved to be a game-changer for DIY, with the App Store (for iOS devices) and the Google Play Story (for Android devices) now packed with useful apps. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look and what to search for… that’s where we come in.
We’ve compiled some essential apps for DIY lovers and those for whom DIY is a fairly new hobby, if that’s what you can call it! However, if you’re going to use your smartphone to support your DIY efforts, you want some good mobile phone insurance.
With mobile phone insurance from Gadget Cover, should you accidentally drop your smartphone from the top of your ladder, we’ve got your back. Unlike some insurers, we even cover minor screen cracks. If the item can’t be repaired, we will replace it.
Having bought your cover, it’s time to get downloading. Let’s look at some of the best apps that the two stores have to offer:
How could we start anywhere else? Sure, everybody has heard of YouTube, but it can’t be overstated just how helpful it is for DIY lovers. There’s a how-to video for just about everything from how to bleed a radiator to how to paint your skirting boards.
However, as the Plastic Sheets Shop survey suggested, only a third of DIYers are using social media such as YouTube to inform their work. Perhaps some seasoned DIYers see it as ‘cheating’, but if you’re new to being practical around the house, you really ought to be all over YouTube.
Often coming as pre-installed on new devices, you might not even have to download it. If you don’t like the constant adverts interrupting your workmanship, you can always pay for YouTube Premium Lite for £6.99/month.
Houzz is one of the most popular apps around among DIYer lovers, particularly those who like to go all out and completely redesign their home from time to time.
Committing to a redesign is never easy. There are so many different ways to go about it, and you just can’t be sure how it will look once the work has been completed. However, with Houzz you can get a good idea of how your vision will translate into reality.
Use the app to browse more than 20 million high-resolution photos. You can filter by style, location or room, depending on what you have in mind.
Once you have your mocked-up space, you can share the images with friends and family to get their opinion.
If interior design isn’t really your bag, check out Houzz TV to see original videos of inspiring homes and how-tos to spur you on.
If you’re looking for a go-to app for all your DIY supplies, you can’t go far wrong with B&Q. What sets it apart from the rest is its usability, so you’ll easily be able to find the part that you need in just a couple of taps.
If you want to pop into your local B&Q store to make sure that the part is the right one before purchasing it, the app will tell you exactly which aisle the product is in, so you can be in and out in no time.
You can also arrange a Click & Collect, with live stock updates meaning that you can see what can be picked up immediately – because when you’re in the DIY mode, there’s nothing worse than having to scramble around for a part. With the no-fuss app, you’ll be as productive as possible with your time.
Committing to a colour change can be tricky, to say the least. Sure, you can get yourself a tester, but covering a small section of the wall in the colour isn’t the same as filling the room with it.
Dulux has recognised this and developed its Visualizer app which makes choosing your next wall colour easier than ever. Just like Houzz, the app uses augmented reality technology to allow you to instantly see your room in any Dulux colour.
You might want to try out different shades of the colour that you’re set on, or get a bit experimental with some big and bold hues that you would never commit to usually. Save your favourite colour ideas and share your visualisations with friends and family for a second opinion.
You can even order testers in the app and have them delivered directly to your door!
As much as we like to think we can do everything by ourselves, sometimes you just need another pair of hands; for example if you’re putting up a built-in wardrobe, you’re really going to struggle by yourself.
With the TaskRabbit app, you can get help when you need it. You can choose your ‘Tasker’ based on their reviews, skills and price, then easily schedule when it is that they come to give you a hand.
If they prove to be as handy as they claim to be, there’s nothing stopping you from booking them whenever you need them.
If you manage to put your back out performing some DIY, you can use the same app to get someone to bring some shopping for you or put out the bins… Let’s hope you never need that kind of help!
The app itself is free, but you’ll need to pay for the services of the ‘Taskers’, of course. However, their help could prove priceless.
Pocket Bubble Level
Unless you’re a tradesperson, you might not have a spirit level to hand when you most need it. However, you’ll need one if you’re putting up a shelf or some pictures – it’s a bit of a risk to trust your eye, as it could see a candle sliding off that shelf when you least expect it…
OK, maybe not, but it will probably irritate you everyday you look at the wonky shelf. So, to make sure that it is perfectly level, you should get yourself the Pocket Bubble Level app.
It does what it says on the tin. Using the accelerometer and gyroscope, it helps you align, suspend horizontally, vertically or at any angle to set each object to which you hold the phone.
The app is completely free, you just have to put up with the odd advert along the way – but it’s a fair price to pay for ensuring your DIY work is as perfect as possible.
Can landscaping your garden be classified as DIY? Of course, it can. Just as with interior design, visualising what your outdoor space will look like once you’ve put in the hard graft isn’t easy sometimes.
With the iScape app, you can create a photorealistic or virtual version of your new garden, cultivating your oasis before you get the spade out.
Whether you’re green fingered or completely new to the world of gardening, iScape has got you covered. In addition to the visualisation features, iScape guides you on what to buy and how to put it all together.
Even if you decide to defer to a landscaper at some point, having bitten off a bit more than you can chew, you can show them your vision and they can bring it to life. Without having those images, you’re reliant on describing what you want, which doesn’t always make for the ideal outcome!
If you prefer your how-to guides as images rather than the videos on YouTube, you can go wrong with the stalwart of the DIY world, wikiHow.
Founded in 2005, the website has been around for a long time building up a superb collection of guides – over 150,000 to be exact! The wikiHow app arrived in 2009 and has become a must-download for all DIY lovers, with step-by-step photos and illustrations that are designed to make things easy for you.
When the DIY is done and it comes to decking out your house, you’ll probably want something unique or even handmade. That’s where Etsy comes into its own, which claims to have “the most one-of-a-kind finds”.
As much as anything else, Etsy is great for a browse, and you can save your favourite finds, either to buy directly from the app or to find something similar elsewhere.
If you want to find out a bit more about an item, you can chat directly with sellers in the app. For example, if you love an item but it doesn’t really fit with your colour scheme, you can ask the seller if they can make it/source it for you in a colour that does. Or if you want an item personalised to your liking, they might be able to do that for you, too.
Like some of the other apps mentioned in this article, it also comes with an augmented reality feature which allows you to see what an item would look like in your home.
As you use the app, you might build up a list of favourite shops and sellers. Etsy will notify you when new items that might be to your liking are released, so you can snap them up before anyone else does!
What will be your next DIY project?
We’ll wrap things up with some home improvement inspiration. If you’ve got itchy feet (or should that be hands?) to get cracking on a big project which will not only improve your home but add value to it, we’ve got a few suggestions for you:
A garage or loft conversion
Lots of homeowners have a garage but, for the sake of ease, often leave their car on their drive instead. But, if you use your garage solely for storage space, you’re not utilising it for all that it’s worth.
Why not convert it into an extra bedroom or studying? Not only will doing so create additional living space, a garage conversion, if done well, can boost the value of your home by up to 20%! However, you’ve got to balance the extra living space with having somewhere to put your car.
If parking is going to be something of an issue with a garage conversion, you might want to opt for a loft conversion instead, which can add 15% to your home’s value.
Open-plan living is very much in vogue at the moment – in fact, it has been for a few years now and there are no signs that the trend is going to go away anytime soon. And for many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home; the place where all the family naturally congregate and socialise together.
So, if you have a bit of a pokey kitchen currently, you might want to open it up and let more natural light flow through the downstairs.
That might mean knocking down an internal wall, which won’t be particularly cheap, but it can add significant value to your home. More importantly, however, it can make living in your home feel like a luxury.
A new en-suite
If your master bedroom is a bit bigger than it needs to be, then why not get an en-suite installed?
As well as making that 4am toilet dash even more satisfying, building a new en-suite could add 5% of value to your property. If you add a touch of luxury and install a rain shower and underfloor heating, we guarantee that your en-suite will become the new ‘family bathroom’.
Mobile phone insurance from Gadget Cover
When doing some DIY, your mobile phone is the best work buddy that you could wish for. That’s why it’s really important to protect your device from the very first moment with mobile phone insurance.
Policies arranged through Gadget Cover can include protection for things like:
- Accidental damage
- Liquid damage
- Unauthorised usage
- Loss (for an extra fee)
For mobile phone cover that’s there when you need it, choose Gadget Cover.
Get a quick quote today!
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.