tech tools renovation

The best tools for designing your dream bathroom

You probably have a pretty good idea of what you dislike about your dated bathroom (the tiny sink with no storage, the dirty bathtub grout). You probably also know how you would want it to look in an ideal world: practical, spacious, and clean with a large walk-in shower. But designing your dream bathroom, especially the first time, can be a scary task filled with uncertainty.

Luckily, technology has made the process a whole lot easier. “Tools have emerged over recent years to address the spectrum of where you’re at in your process,” says Thinh Vu, head of product at Block. Looking for inspiration? Try Pinterest. Need a floor plan or rendering? Draw one up online. Ready to put it all together? Retailers like IKEA even have sophisticated augmented reality tools to help you envision your finished space. No matter where you’re at in your renovation process, these tools will make your life easier:

Photo Measures

Scribbling numbers on a hand-drawn floor plan or keeping measurements in your Notes app is the fastest way to get your numbers all tangled up and make a mistake when it comes time to order your materials. Instead, Photo Measures lets you jot down dimensions directly on a photo, add comments, and keep everything organized by room. It’s also great to share valuable info with a partner or your contractor.

RoomScan Pro

Stretching out on one leg with a dangly tape measure to figure out the height of your bathroom ceiling may be a thing of the past. RoomScan Pro does exactly what the name suggests: it’ll calculate the length, width, and depth of every last detail in a room with just a camera snap using augmented reality. Just touch your phone against each wall and let the laser measure get precise dimensions in seconds and convert it all into a floor plan.


One upon a time, it took years of design or architecture school to understand the complexities of drawing plans to scale on an architectural software. Now? You can do it in minutes from your phone while laying in bed. Magicplan was developed for contractors to easily create and share floor plans and field reports while on the go, but it’s so intuitive that anyone can get the hang of it. Bonus: the basic version is free.

Color Capture

Ever wondered: What’s that paint color? There’s an app for that. Developed by Benjamin Moore, Color Capture lets you snap a photo of anything—a pillow, a hotel lobby, a wildflower—and it’ll suggest an exact paint color from over 3,300 swatches. Remember, colors look differently under various lighting and on-screen representation is always 100% accurate, so always test a few options before getting the rollers out.

iHandy Carpenter

No need to get that clunky toolbox out of the garage, iHandy Carpenter has five tools you can use straight from your phone: a plumb bob to verify the verticality of walls; a surface level and bubble level bar to ensure everything is straight, a protractor for measuring tricky angles; and a ruler in both inches and centimeters.