5 Handy Smartphone Apps for the Home

We have had a scout around for some handy apps for doing things for home and garden.  Here are 5 free handy smartphone apps for the home reviewed by Mykidstime Parents.

#1. Ikea iPhone and iPad & Android

The Ikea app is a great tool for inspiration and finding ideas is very straightforward.  I liked the fact that it is easy to navigate and a great way to access the catalogue on the go.

It was really easy to download, the only negative point is the space it takes up as you are downloading the full catalogue. But you get all the info you need with the products as you would in the catalogue like dimensions etc.

I particularly like the option to make lists which is great if like me you have several projects on the go!

Will definitely get plenty of use from this application.

Reviewed by Gaynor

Rating: Would give it 4 out of 5 (only negative being the space it takes up).

#2. Etsy for Android

Being a confirmed, seasoned and keen user of Etsy online, I was slightly hesitant about using an app for Etsy. But I was pleasantly surprised as it’s quite good.

It’s simple to gain access you just type Etsy into the search bar within Google Play Store, click on the Etsy for Android (efa) app, install and off you go!  When you get into the App it doesn’t look anything like the Etsy website but it is very easy to use.

Firstly it will ask to link to your Etsy account, if you have one, and this is very simple process of clicking the Accept button. Once that is done the app can link you to your account, your shop and listings, if you have one and all your favourites.

If you decide you want to purchase an item then you can add it to your cart within the app. If you double click on the item within your cart it will then ask if you want to checkout on – so it will send you back to the main Etsy website to pay.

As an app it does everything you want it to do, you can search for items, find out more details about your choice of item and pay for it should you wish to purchase.

There are so many great things on Etsy all handmade and there is lots of beautiful items from Ireland too you can search under ‘craftyirelandteam’ to find lots of interesting pieces made here in Ireland.

Reviewed by Caroline

Rating: I would give it a 4 out of 5

#3. Houzz Kids Rooms – iPhone and iPad

This app allows you to browse, save and share thousands of big, beautiful photos of inspiring kids’ spaces. You can filter spaces by age group, and get information creating soothing nurseries, fun toddlers’ rooms, flexible shared bedrooms, and spaces for bigger kids to teens.

As well as Photo Galleries to browse, there are articles such as 15 Ideas for your Baby’s Nursery that you can tap into.  When you view a photo, you can tap individual elements, e.g. a chair or a lampshade and you can then see further information such as where to buy or price.  It is a US-based app so you won’t necessarily be able to buy, but IKEA is one of the vendors they include items from.  I liked it really for all the images and the ideas for rooms that it gave you.

There’s also the option to sign up for a free account and then you can save ideas to an Ideabook which I thought was quite handy.

Reviewed by Jill

Rating: 4 out of 5 (point deducted because it’s US based so you won’t be able to buy all the items you admire)

#4. Dulux – iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

This app from Dulux allows you to create your own colour schemes. It gives you a choice of colour schemes and matches from over 1200 Dulux Tailor Made Colours to go with your chosen or photographed colour. You can also find your nearest paint stockists.

The Browse the Colour Range section has a slider where you can find colours and save them into your Saved Items.  The app can then copy the saved items into your shopping basket if you want to order colour samplers.

The Colour Picker section is supposed to let you either take a photo or choose from one of your photos in your photo album and then you can match colours from the colour range to sections of your photo, but I couldn’t quite get this to work as I expected.

I thought the Find a Stockist section was quite useful laid out by County with handy Call Now buttons to phone them then and there.

There are also 4 video guides, e.g. How Lighting Affects Your Room but I think they could do with adding more video clips.  Things like Cleaning Paintbrushes or How to Prepare for Painting would be useful.  I would also have liked more pictures of rooms for the different colour schemes to show how those would look on walls.

Reviewed by Susan

Rating: 3 out of 5 – useful but could do with more on it.

#5. M&S iPhone, iPod touch, iPad & Android 

I was curious to see what the Home section of the M&S app had on it as I am a big fan of their homewares.  They have 6 sections on the app under Home: New & Exclusive, Furniture, Home Furnishings, Shop by Brand, Offers and Shop by Service.

Each section takes you to subsections which eventually lead to products (apart from the Shop by Service which only seemed to have a catalogue order facility available).  When you get to the product level screens, they are quite well laid out.  You can tap the image to zoom in.  You can read other customers’ reviews or write a review of your own.  You can add product to basket easily from this screen or add to a wishlist.  It has the product description and also delivery & returns information.

There’s also a handy Scan option where you use it in store to scan a barcode or QR code to see pricing etc.

However, then I discovered that all the prices were in Sterling and that it was a UK store based app.  So I suppose unless they bring out an Irish version of the App linked to their Irish online store that this could be used to see what was available and get a rough idea of the price but you wouldn’t be able to use it to then order directly online.

Reviewed by Tara

Rating: 3 out of 5 (if linked to Irish online ordering would have gained a higher rating)

If you have a favourite free app for the home, let us know in the comments below!

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls