We’ve all heard the saying: “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This holds true with considerable accuracy to building or remodeling a house.

When starting on a project that massive and life-changing, the hardest part can be simply determining what that first step should be. Where do you start to narrow down the details?

Sometimes the most helpful thing is to hone in on something simple and approachable like a website or app. Here are some of the best brainstorming tools around for the envisioning stage of your next renovation.

Remodeling Calculator

If you’re planning to overhaul an existing home and want to be sure you know what you’re in for, the Remodeling Calculator is a good starting place. You can follow the simple directions on the page to get an estimate, broken down by room and type of remodeling job.

It’s worth emphasizing that this is a starting place, since as we’ve talked about before, home renovations and fixer uppers often eat a bigger chunk of your budget than you can plan for.

But chances are that even walking through the process of a the remodeling calculator will give you a much better feel for what kinds of details you’ll need to think about when preparing for the project.

Color Snap

The Color Snap application from Sherwin Williams is a state-of-the-art tool for choosing the best paint colors for your home. With tools that allow you to test paint colors, easily locate color cards in stores and even match paint colors to photos from your own camera roll, this is a great paint color playground.

The mobile app, available for both Android and iPhone, even implements burgeoning augmented reality technology to allow you to get a preview of what colors would look like on your actual walls.

HGTV Photo Tool

HGTV’s photo inspiration tool is another place for homeowners to play with ideas. If you’ve ever gotten tired of wading through endless Pinterest pages of questionable quality to find legitimate results, this tool is your answer.

You can browse photo inspiration by room, color, style — or even by what looks appear on HGTV’s top rated TV shows. The interface is slick and easy to use, and it can result in endless ideas for your own home building or remodel.

Decorating Style Finder

When you start searching for ideas, you might quickly start coming across terms like “modern” and “neo-classical” and “rustic” and have no idea which one actually applies to your tastes.

This easy quiz from Better Homes & Gardens helps you narrow it down. They take the quiz information and use it to tailor remodel and decor suggestions to your unique style, saving you time wading through pages of mid century modern designs when what you really wanted was cottage chic.  

USDA Hardiness Zone Finder

While this one might have a little less flash than the other tools listed, it’s equally important. Not every type of plant grows well in every environment, even with the best possible care.

The hardiness zone finder will give you a climate descriptor for your area based on zip code, which will help you narrow down what kind of landscaping is ideal for your home.

This website also hosts a plant database so that once you have your newfound hardiness zone information, you can research what your garden and lawn can expect to grow.

All of these tools are designed to help get your creativity flowing, but when it comes to go time, you’ll need a professional to take those ideas and make them a reality.

WalGrove is here to do exactly that. Let us turn your brainstorming sessions into a newly built or remodeled home!