Sunday, 12 February 2012

top 10 iPhone apps for renters

This week I'm rounding up the best iPhone apps for renters. Of all the hundreds of apps out these, these are the tried and tested ones I recommend. Apologies to Android users, but I have an iPhone and I wanted to test these before posting them, I've indicated where they are available though and some, such as the Pinterest app, are apparently in development. They range from the beautiful to the very practical, but all should be very useful if you rent.


Spare Room - Free on iPhone only
Perfect if you're looking for a room in house share, this app lets you search by area and filter by price, room type, sharing preferences and availability. You can also use personal ads in the 'rooms wanted' section to advertise what you're looking for, or find prospective housemates. The app is clean and uncluttered, ridiculously easy to use, and most post have a photo of the room,so you know what you're getting before you make a viewing appointment. You can click to see each property on a map, save favorites (once you register) and send a message to the advertiser, or share the ad with a friend from your phone.





Rightmove - Free on iPhone only
The Rightmove app also has room lets, but is probably more useful for finding a whole house or flat. It's very useful to determine what you get for your money in different areas, and also for finding estate agents. Again, you can search by area and filter by price, property type and amenities. Particularly useful if you want a garden or a parking space and need to filter out all the unsuitable properties. Almost all ads have multiple photos (if there's no photo there's a reason why, avoid wasting time by going to view these) and many have floor plans. View the properties on a map to see how far they are from train or tube stations and save your favourites as well as your favourite search areas.



Gumtree - Free on iPhone only
The gumtree app is multipurpose and absolutely perfect for renters. Just like the full site you can find everything from a flat share or a house, to a dining table, a job or guitar lessons. You can search by category and filter by area or price. You can e-mail advertisers from your phone and save favourites. I particularly like Gumtrees 'for sale' section where you can find furniture, mirrors and other household items, everything from cheap basics to danish mid-century designer pieces, an excellent resource if you have to furnish an empty flat or just need a solid bookcase.



Pinterest - Free on iPhone only
Pinterest is my favourite inspirational resource. You'll need to register to use it, but once you've logged on, it's a whole world of inspiration and projects. Entirely image based, you create themed boards and 'pin' images to them. It's listed under social networking because you can follow other people, or their individual boards and you can 'tag' people or comment on their posts, but really it's so much more than that. You can pin everything from recipes, styling ideas, products and craft projects to clothes, cars and fitness tips. I've found some great DIY and craft projects and it's my absolute favourite place to find interiors inspiration. Tap the image from the stream to enlarge and tap again to go to the originating site, meaning you can get the recipe or instructions as well as the image. You can also upload photos from your phone or add images from websites if you log into the desktop site. It's an absolute must have for creative types and highly addictive!



Dwelling Gawker - Free on iPhone only
Like pinterest, but only for home and interiors, Dwelling Gawker features some stunning properties that are purely inspirational (not many of us are ever going to have a cliff side house in Spain) but amongst the dream houses there are more practical things. I like the DIY section and the decor category is particularly useful for ideas on styling, decorating and furniture lay-out ideas. You can search by the most popular posts, the most recent, or by category. Save your favourites to re-visit at a later date. It's also worth checking out sister app 'Food Gawker' for delicious recipes. Again, you tap the images to take you to the originating site for more details.



Crown Colour Match - Free on iPhone only
A genius little app. Take a photo (or use one from your phone, as I did here)  use the colour picker to select the shade you like and the app will translate that in to a Crown Paint colour. The nearest match will probably be a specialist shade that will require mixing, but the app also suggests the nearest shade from their ready mixed paints and offers alternatives in the same pallet. You can also use the app to find the nearest stockist to you, including stores that will mix that perfect custom colour. Perfect if you have say, a cushion or chair upholstered in a particular colour that you want to match, or you see a shade you like while out and about.



Ikea Catalogue - Free on iPhone & Android
You really can't beat Ikea for reasonably priced home essentials. The 2012 catalogue is available as a free app, allowing you to search by rooms. Click on the little plus buttons to take you to the product details and pricing. Great for inspiration (Ikea are big on small spaces) and getting prices and measurements before you go to the store. The app allows you to bookmark pages for future references and you can e-mail products or pages as well.



Kelly Hoppen Home Style - £1.49 on iPhone only
For the serious interior design nerd, the Kelly Hoppen app is a sleek introduction on how to style your home. The self styled Queen Of Taupe guides you through everything from styling a shelf, to displaying herbs in your kitchen. It's nice to see rooms through the videos instead of in two dimensions, but she could have used a few tips on presenting before making them. Still, if you want a perfectly set table for a special occasion or want to make your bed look like it lives in a 5 star hotel, she's your girl. Even if you don't like her particular style, you can apply the principles demonstrated to your own home.



Good Housekeeping @Home - Free on iPhone only
Great for tips and cleaning and stain removal, you can't beat the Good Housekeeping app. If you can ignore the slightly annoying ads (I'd rather pay than have pop ups) it's really rather useful. Want to know how to repair a scratch in a wooden table, the best way to clean the oven or how to get beer out of your carpet? It's all here, search by stain type and select the relevant tab (fabric, upholstery or carpet) perfect for protecting your deposit and keeping your place sparkling.  There's also a home decor gallery, although it's more useful for styling tips than anything else.



Household Bill Splitter - £1.49 iPhone only
Great for sharers this app allows you to keep track of shared household expenses and bills. Set up the names off everyone who lives in the property and track who has paid for what, when it was paid and who owes who what. It's not the most glamourous app, but it does what's needed and could save a lot of hassle over bills.




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