Doing any kind of home renovation is time-consuming and often expensive. Simple-sounding projects can take on a life of their own and leave you wishing you'd never said the words, "Wouldn't new counters really make this space look better?"
But there are a few things you can do to make project planning easier on yourself. The first is getting an accurate floor plan of whatever room or rooms you plan to renovate or rearrange. And now there's an easier way to map your room with the PLNAR room measuring app that captures 2D and 3D dimensions of a room and creates a digital model using those measurements.
Augmented Reality Dimensioning sounds like it should be part of the latest sci-fi flick, but all it means is turning numbers into a 3D model, which helps you see what space you really have or how things will fit into your room. It's like building a virtual diorama.
The best thing about this room measuring app is that you don't need any extra equipment. That means no fighting with the tape measure (which is always not long enough or hard to work around furniture or appliances) or buying a laser distance measuring tool (which is nifty, but can be kind of expensive if you're just doing one room).
For example, if you're remodeling your kitchen, you want to think about how much space you have overall, but also you might need to consider how much space you have to move old appliances out and new appliances in.
Pro Tip: Don't assume that just because someone else got a refrigerator into the current space means you'll be able to get it out of the space easily. I'm convinced my condo was built around the old refrigerator because I have no idea how they got it through the front door.
If you're working with an architect or designer, one of the things they will do is generate a CAD file. CAD stands for Computer Aided Design and is used to create 2D and 3D designs. Normally, you would have to pay an expert to create a CAD file, but the PLNAR app does it for you, saving you some time and money.
The app itself is free, as are many of the features. You get one free Pro Report, which creates a PDF that you can share with anyone and includes a CAD file. You can also create additional Pro Reports through an in-app purchase. One report costs $9.99; you can also get five reports for $46.99 and 10 reports for $89.99.
The PLNAR creators do note that the room measuring app is only meant for estimation. The app's measurements are between 95 and 98.3 percent accurate, so remember the old adage measure twice, cut once.
PLNAR is offered by SmartPictures Technologies, an Austin, Texas-based startup focused on automating the traditional in-home measurement process, making it easier for DIYers and professionals. The company notes the app can be used for getting quotes on home services, underwriting insurance policies, or settling claims.
One really interesting potential use for this app is if you're getting ready to sell your home. Imagine being able to list your property with a 3D rendering prospective buyers can study, not just of the house, but of the yard, garage, or storage buildings. You might be able to get a leg up on the competition by offering more detail, especially if you have buyers who aren't already in your area (think military families being reassigned to a new base).
Right now the app is only available for iPhones and iPads using iOS 11.0 or later. The company is working on an Android version of the app, planning on a mid-2018 release.