The Best Free Interior Design Apps

Use tech to get creative with your next interior design project.

Sprucing up your home, or even building a new addition, is best done with some planning. Fortunately, plenty of apps are available for Android and Apple smartphone or tablet users to help with the design, planning, professional consultation and even buying stages of freshening up a space -- whether that means a full room renovation or a simple paint color change. Read on for the seven best free interior design apps for consumers.

Best for connecting with design professionals: Houzz

Houzz has a strong reputation for helping people plan and prepare for home remodeling and design, as well as providing access to a network of professionals and a marketplace for home decor products. It's no surprise the Houzz app offers all the features available on its website, including access to your saved ideabooks and 3D virtual room staging. Houzz app users can also participate in discussions with other users and professionals to share photos of their own projects, advice and experience. Compared with other home design apps, Houzz offers the best way to connect with professional designers and includes customer reviews, project budget ranges and contact information.

Best for creating floor plans: magicplan

There are many floor plan creator apps available to smartphone and tablet users, but magicplan offers the most user-friendly experience. This app allows you to create floor plans based on your existing home or room, or you can create one for a future space. Your planning can get more detailed and realistic by including plans for electrical outlets, flooring types, appliances and other items. The app even allows you to import existing floor plans from elsewhere to use as a template or recreate an existing floor plan for future renovations. Once you've created a complete plan, you can export the floor plan as a PDF and get a 3D model of the plan via email. Your contractor can even calculate the estimated total cost of the project within the app.

Best marketplace: Wayfair

Wayfair says it offers more than 18 million products in its marketplace, and its app allows you to benefit by planning what will fit best in your home while also shopping for it. The app includes a 3D room view, where you can recreate a virtual version of the room you're looking to furnish, complete with floor and paint customization. Place items for sale through Wayfair in the room and play around with location or combinations with other Wayfair decor. You can order directly through the app and track packages as you wait for them to arrive at home.

Best for choosing paint colors: Project Color by Home Depot

If you're looking for an app that will help you make decisions when it comes to painting walls, trim and other parts of your house, look to Project Color by Home Depot. The app allows users to explore color swatches as well as preview paints and color combinations in your own room by snapping a photo. The augmented reality isn't perfect, but it can give you a feel for how a new paint color would work in the space. If you're out and about and see a building, plant or even fabric color you think would work well in your home, you can take a photo through the app or even import an image through Pinterest to find the closest color option sold by Home Depot. You can even order paint samples with free delivery, or buy paint for in-store pickup through the app.

Best for finding a contractor: HomeAdvisor

Whether you're planning a kitchen renovation or simply need a drain clog fixed, HomeAdvisor offers the same in-depth analysis of project scope and cost on its app. You can store plans and contractor information for your project in the app, and also be put in touch with local contractors. If you wish to browse professionals and their customer ratings, the app's directory lists details and contact information, connecting you with local companies based on ZIP code. Or, if you prefer to be contacted by pros directly, provide your contact information and some basic details on your project to start receiving quotes.

Best for trying out room design: DecorMatters

This app aims to help you exercise your interior design muscles with decorating challenges, room inspiration and shopping options. When you want to design a space, you have the option to take on a guided challenge, which gives you the opportunity to earn coins and badges in the app like a game, start with a template for a virtual space or even use your camera to capture the room you're in and try out furniture with augmented reality. DecorMatters' AR for trying out decor is more reliable and easier to use than many other apps that have a similar feature. The app does have a monthly subscription if you want to take advantage of challenges and templates more frequently, but you may find the furniture and decor selection limited if you're not subscribing or working to earn coins.

Best for designing for fun: Design Home

There are times for serious planning for a new room design or renovation, and there are times you just want to pretend you're an interior designer. Users can tackle design challenges when they open the Design Home app, like a hypothetical client scenario in which you must design a beachfront living room for a vacation home in Australia for a college professor. All items you put to use are real, with brand and pricing information available. To complete a challenge, the app gives you a fake budget to spend on decor, and you can earn play money for completing a challenge. However, users warn against using real money to expand your budget in challenges -- the app notes that you can turn off in-app purchasing in the settings.

Here are the best free interior design apps:

-- Houzz: Best for connecting with design professionals.

-- magicplan: Best for creating a floor plan.

-- Wayfair: Best marketplace.

-- Project Color by Home Depot: Best for choosing paint colors.

-- HomeAdvisor: Best for finding a contractor.

-- DecorMatters: Best for trying out room design.

-- Design Home: Best for designing for fun.