6 Design Apps and Services You Should Know For Your Next Renovation
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6 Design Apps and Services You Should Know For Your Next Renovation

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By Kate Reggev
From crowdsourcing answers to finding the right general contractor, these startup companies are here to help you navigate your next DIY project or home renovation.

Tackling a major renovation or a big DIY project on your own can be challenging—but fortunately, technology is here to help. A fresh crop of design start-ups can help you through every step of the process—from sourcing inspiration and organizing your project to finding the perfect contractor or interior designer to lend a hand. Read on for six technology start-ups that can help you push through your next big project with flying colors.

Sweeten

Herringbone floors, a poured concrete kitchen island, and an open line of sight with no upper cabinets were wish list items for these Sweeten homeowners’ gut remodel.

Herringbone floors, a poured concrete kitchen island, and an open line of sight with no upper cabinets were wish list items for these Sweeten homeowners’ gut remodel.

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Sweeten is a free service that matches renovators to the best, vetted general contractors, providing support until the job is completed. Home renovators share their budget, location, and project details; Sweeten will then suggest three contractors and monitor the project every step of the way.

First-time homeowners often call on Sweeten to renovate their new place—in this case, sustainability, maximum storage, and modern lines combine to transform an outdated space into a "happy living room."

First-time homeowners often call on Sweeten to renovate their new place—in this case, sustainability, maximum storage, and modern lines combine to transform an outdated space into a "happy living room."

The company was founded by Jean Brownhill, an industry vet with over 15 years of experience in construction, residential and commercial architecture, project management, and systems. She’s one of only 11 African-American female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to raise more than $1 million in venture capital, and the company will be in five metro areas by the summer of 2019: New York City (including all of New Jersey, Westchester, Rockland County, Long Island, and Fairfield County, Connecticut), Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami.

Cubit from Plott

Plott developed Cubit—a smart tech brand combining DIY, data, and AR—to make home design and projects easier for consumers.

Plott developed Cubit—a smart tech brand combining DIY, data, and AR—to make home design and projects easier for consumers.

Cubit is perfect for the DIY-er who is sick of fiddling around with a tape measure or struggles to envision a design within a space. Using extended reality (combining real and virtual environments), Cubit uses your smart phone to measure a space, then allows you to arrange it to your liking and outlines the steps to get there.  

Their product, Cubit, has won multiple awards for its game-changing ability to spruce up the smart home space and introduce virtual reality to people's surroundings, eliminating the need for calculations and measurements. 

Their product, Cubit, has won multiple awards for its game-changing ability to spruce up the smart home space and introduce virtual reality to people's surroundings, eliminating the need for calculations and measurements. 

Clients who use Block select from an established material palette for their bathroom renovations, which helps reduce costs.

Clients who use Block select from an established material palette for their bathroom renovations, which helps reduce costs.

If you've ever scratched your head and wondered why renovating a small, simple space like a bathroom can become so expensive and complicated, you may want to look into Block—an all-inclusive renovation platform that combines architect-grade design, construction labor, fixtures, and materials into affordable renovation packages. Currently available in the greater New York and Northern New Jersey area, the company seeks to take the guesswork out of home renovation while simultaneously opening up access to elegant, high-end design.

An example of a bathroom recently completed by Block.

An example of a bathroom recently completed by Block.

The company was founded by Luke Sherwin, cofounder of Casper, and Koda Wang, formerly chief customer officer at Rent the Runway and chief operating officer at HuffPost. Unlike traditional renovation projects that are completed by individuals carrying out different services, Block offers complete renovations in a single package at an up-front, transparent price.

Buildshop


The web and mobile application created by Buildshop functions as a project management tool for clients and professionals in home renovations.

The web and mobile application created by Buildshop functions as a project management tool for clients and professionals in home renovations.

Whether you’re managing your own home renovation or are a design professional, Buildshop can help organize your home improvement projects. With both web and mobile apps, the company allows you to plan, budget, organize inspiration photos and ideas, work through checklists, create to-do lists, and then find and connect with building professionals. 

Functions like cost estimating, contact logs, schedules, and other necessary tools are all available on the app.

Functions like cost estimating, contact logs, schedules, and other necessary tools are all available on the app.

They also provide more advanced organization options that help develop schedules, track employees, and improve customer satisfaction. The app is free for homeowners with upgrades available for trade professionals looking for more powerful features.

Homepolish

As a service that matches interior designers and decorators with homeowners, Homepolish provides a transparent, affordable option for those who are looking for home design guidance. This kitchen was designed by Melanie Burstin for a Homepolish client.

As a service that matches interior designers and decorators with homeowners, Homepolish provides a transparent, affordable option for those who are looking for home design guidance. This kitchen was designed by Melanie Burstin for a Homepolish client.

If you’ve written off hiring an interior designer a luxury reserved for the rich and famous, Homepolish may change your mind. The startup provides clear standardization and price transparency by matching local interior designers with clients. The service provides in-home and video consultations; designer consultations are free, and designers are then available for hire on an hourly or flat fee basis depending on the project scope.

After being matched through Homepolish, Jae Joo designed this elegant bathroom for a client.

After being matched through Homepolish, Jae Joo designed this elegant bathroom for a client.

The company was established in New York in 2012, and has since expanded into major cities across the U.S. You can find Homepolish designers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Long Island, Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Richmond, Salt Lake City, and beyond. 

Hometalk

Hometalk's online platform is a mixture of Youtube, Pinterest, and Houzz for the DIY-er.

Hometalk's online platform is a mixture of Youtube, Pinterest, and Houzz for the DIY-er.

Hometalk is an online platform that provides home improvement tutorials in categories like kitchen design, gardening, and bedroom design. Geared for the DIY crowd, the platform covers everything from drain traps to paint color selection. Its guides, videos, and articles are generated by its users, making it particularly homeowner-friendly and community-centered. 

The site boasts more than 10 million monthly users, so you’re likely to find the answer to your question, no matter how esoteric. It’s typically used for both technical tutorials and design inspiration, and is free to use. 

Related Reading: 6 Questions You Should Always Ask Before Hiring a General Contractor