Can you guess what room of the home you spend most of our waking time in? It’s the kitchen. For many, it’s not just for cooking and dining — it’s also where you study, pay bills and hang out. Whether you’re renting a tiny apartment with a galley kitchen or you’ve just bought your first home (a real fixer upper), you’re going to need some inspiration, ideas and a little DIY.
Maybe it’s just a matter of adding some life to a drab dining area with lighting or a fresh coat of paint. Design solutions might be needed to keep dishes, silverware and cookware organized yet attractively displayed. Great décor apps don’t just provide inspiration, they also allow you to gather ideas, customize with notes and visualizations, purchase accessories and materials, communicate with design pro’s and find decorators/contractors in your area.
As a recipe developer, food writer and photographer I’m always striving to make my kitchen space more beautiful, functional and organized. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite free apps for kitchen design and decorating ideas.
Don’t spend another day in a drab kitchen. Keep reading for tips on redecorating with a little help from your iPad.
Houzz Interior Design Ideas
Houzz is a mobile version of their website, a truly wonderful place where home improvement professionals display their work and home design enthusiasts find ideas and advice. This is where you go to browse millions of photos of other people’s houses and get ideas to jumpstart your project.
Select which space you’re decorating (in this case, the kitchen) and filter results by Style (Modern, Traditional, Farmhouse, Midcentury, etc.) and Location (wherever in the world these designers are uploading images from (be it Sydney, Amsterdam or Miami). It’s interesting to see how design is interpreted across the globe: modern Amsterdam is different from modern Sydney, and so is London Industrial vs. New York.
See an image you like? Tap it to view more photos from the residence and check out the designer’s profile. You’ll find full details on how to contact the designer to help you with your project or even just ask for their advice. See reviews from clients who have used the designer for redecoration/renovation projects, view questions and answers from Houzz users and ask your own question about the project. Get specs on appliances and accessories in the photo.
Houzz doesn’t stop there. Create your own Ideabooks by curating photos into custom categories and even upload your own images. Here you can bookmark interesting articles from the app or discussions with designers/users.
Tired of browsing photos? Take a look at the Ideabooks section, with tons of great articles covering topics like how to start a kitchen remodel project. The app encourages you to put your lookbooks to use by sharing them with others in your social network or sending invitations to collaborate with Houzz users and designers. This is an app for turning dreaming into doing.
Elle Decor Lookbook
Elle Decor Lookbook is similar to Houzz but with a much smaller selection of images (741) and no community interaction with other users or designers. So why download it, you ask? Sometimes less is more, and all the images in the app are pulled from the magazine, which means every single photo has a lux, stylish, professional quality.
Browsing the app has a tendency to be a bit buggy, but I’m willing to put up with this because it’s free and has gorgeous images. Just like Houzz, you’ll find helpful articles by Elle Decor editors on creating a kitchen space that suits entertaining or everything you need to know when shopping for kitchen tiles.
It’s easy to create and organize your own customized Design Files, saving images and adding notes. You can also share a link to your Design Files with friends or your interior decorator via Email, Twitter or Facebook.
This isn’t an app you’ll come to every day, but it’s useful for fresh, modern ideas in small doses. You could get lost down the rabbit hole of Houzz for hours, but a few minutes with Elle Decor Lookbook on your morning coffee break will do just fine.
Klippbook by Ikea
Sometimes all the browsing through photo databases gets exhausting and you need something fun and light to change things up a bit. Klippbook by Ikea is a fun little app for designing rooms using Ikea merchandise. Scroll through images of tables, chairs, textiles and accessories, then tap and drag them into your imaginary room.
The app brings out your playful side and helps you to combine textures, colors and patterns in new ways. Ikea doesn’t give you a ton of pieces to choose from, sadly, but the process will definitely get your creative juices flowing.
Trying to find images that convey your sense of style can be tiresome. Sometimes inspiration comes when you’re not actively looking. Remodelista gives you a break from scrolling through endless images of modern eclectic kitchens by serving up daily inspiration on a platter. Try a couple bites, and if you get full you can always come back tomorrow when you’re hungry again.
You’ll look forward to checking the app each day for fresh ideas, like unique ways to display kitchen items, inspiring interiors from around the globe, thoughtful accessories, clever organization solutions and easy DIY projects. This app is about lifestyle. Unlike the crowd sourced homes of Houzz that can have a tendency to look the same because everyone’s following the same trend, Remodelista features design ideas that are more unique, one of a kind and make it your own. The full version is totally worth downloading $2.99 for the access to archives and My Design Files clipping tool.
Each of these apps offers something unique to the design process, from gathering inspiration to planning to communicating your ideas with your decorator/architect/builder. Creating a kitchen space you can be happy with involves research and exploration to discover your own unique style. If you’ve been thinking of a change, whether it be a small redecoration project to a full overhaul, these four apps are a great place to start. And best of all, they’re all free!