Plan Twice, Do It Once

3 online solutions to help you visualize and cost your home improvement projects

Should you replace that door yourself?

Will that couch fit there?

Which green is the perfect color for your living room?

Technology makes it easier than ever to plan, visualize and research your choices for making changes to your home before you ever move a chair, paint a wall or change a fixture.

ColorJive — painting a room a different color is one of the easiest ways to make a big impact in your home. With ColorJive’s online tool, you can upload an evenly lit photo of the room in question and try different colors on the wall – and even find the exact paint color from Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. — whether you want to change the couch in your family room or add a deck to the back of your house, getting a preview of the final results can help you figure out what will (and won’t) work for your space. is a free online tool that uses photos of your actual home and then lets you go through a variety of projects and products to visualize the end result. The tool can even help you request bids from local contractors.

DIYorNot — turns out, doing something yourself is not always the better, or even cheaper, option. Available online and also via a mobile web app ( for smartphones, DIYorNot helps you figure out how much a project will cost if you do it yourself or if you hire someone to do it for you (the site allows you to enter your zip code to improve accuracy of cost estimates). In addition to project DIY tips and advice if hiring a pro for the job, most projects also include a thumbs up or down to indicate whether the site’s readers would do it themselves or not.