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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Click Picks: Home Improvement Websites

Aug 31, 2006 12:00AM

Whether you are planning a full scale remodel or just wanting to give your bedroom a decorating face-lift, the first step is deciding what you want your new look to be and how to do it. Often this is the hardest step, too, because visualizing your changes can be tricky.

Here are some great websites designed to help you see your changes and get ideas before you ever hammer a nail or open a paint can.

Better Home & Gardens, www.bhg.com

BH&G’s website is a resource for decorators and do-it-yourselfers alike. Filled with easy-to-use slideshows on everything from fabric choices to decorating with mirrors, bhg.com is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. There is also a search engine for house plans to pick and choose your design based on required number of bedrooms, square footage and more.

Our favorite part of the site is the “Color-A-Room” section, an interactive page that lets you play designer choosing the wall color, furniture color, and flooring, and see the changes on the screen. This is a great place to start when dreaming up color combinations.

HGTV, www.hgtv.com

HGTV broadcasts a variety of how-to shows with a focus on home improvement, gardening, craft and remodeling. Browse shows like Fixer Upper, Love It or List It, Property Brothers, and Rehab Addict for renovation and design inspiration.

Plan3D, www.plan3D.com

Touted as the “World’s Most Realistic Home Design Tool,” it is hard not to be impressed by the realistic graphics available on Plan3D. The design site, through the downloadable software, lets you see a 3D version of your home’s blueprints, see and change your remodeling ideas for every room in the house, and fill in each room with colors, fabrics, surface textures, and furniture until you find the one you like.

You can view the rooms from any angle and can switch back and forth to see the blueprint for dimensions. This is a great site for both serious remodel planning and playing with your dream kitchen. (The site does require Microsoft Windows so Mac users are out of luck.) Membership is $2.95 a month (for 12 months) or $14.95 per month.

Interior Design, www.interiordesign.net

To find that perfect armchair or the must-have patio set, sometimes you just have to flip through the catalogues to find what you like. Luckily, Interior Design Magazine has made this task a little easier by putting over 75 designers’ catalogues online in easy-to-view PDF format, as well as a downloadable format. Find them under the “Library” heading.