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How to Plan Your Room Makeover With 3 Essential Tools

3 favorite room planner online tools and apps to help with tracking budget, measurements, paint colors, sources, to-do lists, contractor communications, project deadlines, furniture layouts, and mood boards to design a room.

“How do you plan your room makeovers?” That’s a question I’ve gotten a lot over the years whenever I share a mood board with room plans.

breakfast nook mood board
parisian breakfast nook

It does NOT come easily if you’re a total left-brained person like I am who thrives on art and color over data and numbers. Talking about money is totally lame in comparison to making pretty things. 😆

But it’s a necessary job.

How to Design a Room With 3 Essential Planner Tools

Over time, I’ve learned how to

  • organize budgets
  • track spending
  • plan furniture layouts
  • track measurements
  • set project goals and deadlines
  • create vision boards
  • optimize room layouts
  • streamline contractor communications

It’s a lot of necessary pre-DIY work to ensure remodels and room makeovers go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Even if you’re a homeowner with little-to-no DIY skills under your belt, these 3 online tools TOTALLY work to simplify the home improvement process.

Since Robert and I are in the beginning stages of our powder room mini-remodel, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to plan your room effectively, ensuring it becomes your dream space.

office with rolling armchair and work table

1. Room Makeover Roadmap – Spreadsheet Tracker

The Room Makeover Roadmap spreadsheet system allows you to keep all of the technical details of room makeovers in one place.

I got so tired of haphazardly dumping links for design ideas, decor, furniture, important dates, and project costs in disorganized Google Docs and iPhone notes. So I finally decided to create an organized system for all of the room planning information I’d ever need into one spreadsheet bundle.

laptop with remodel budget tracking spreadsheet

It completely changed my life by reducing the stress and time required for every room makeover!

remodel budget spreadsheet and room makeover tracking system

The 26-spreadsheet bundle is set up for planning every room in your house with tabs for each room type and sections for organizing:

  • budgeting & spending
  • important measurements
  • paint colors, home decor, and furniture information & links
  • contractor information & communication
  • to-do lists
  • project goals & deadlines

It’s a tool I totally believe in for creating success in any home makeover. You can get the Room Makeover Roadmap here.

room budget spreadsheet

2. Canva

Making a mood board of your room ideas is really helpful when trying to visualize an interior design plan. It’s my go-to room planner tool every time, even though it can be used for a bunch of other non-home related things.

Canva is my favorite tool to make those vision boards. And you can use their free online design software version for this! Here is a step-by-step tutorial to show you how to make mood boards on Canva.

But you can also follow this (very basic but useful) video to make mood boards on Google Slides as another free of charge alternative great for dragging and dropping home design ideas into one place.

how to make a room mood board in canva

3. Roomstyler

Roomstyler is so helpful when you’re trying to create a floor plan and play around with different furniture layouts in your home. It’s a free room planning resource too! Of all the room layout planners online, this one is seriously the best.

It creates 2D and 3D online room renderings of your space’s dimensions and allows you to “try on” over 120,000 furnishings and decor options.

Think of it as The Sims on steroids but for making 3d models of your own house. (Did you ever play that game just for creating 3d rooms back in the day? I was obsessed with it in high school.)

room layout and 3d rendering on roomstyler

Room Plan Example

Here’s the direction we’re planning for our powder room, plus the old vanity and damaged wallpaper we’re planning to swap out in the coming week.

Here’s our order of operations in room planning:

  1. We typed in all of the room’s measurements in our Room Makeover Roadmap.
  2. I started pinning bathroom ideas I loved and dropping links to items I wanted to use in our Room Makeover Roadmap source list.
  3. As I drop links to sources, I type the cost of each item on my Room Makeover Roadmap budget sheet. I also start setting up quotes with contractors (if we’re hiring out) to put their labor/materials costs in our budget.
  4. I made a mood board with images of items in my source list on Canva. (I would use Roomstyler next if I were planning to rearrange the room layout.)
  5. Then, once I’m happy with the look of my mood board, I start ordering items and setting up our project to-do lists with deadlines for ourselves.

It sets us up for success with as few curveballs as possible every single time we plan a room so that all we have to focus on is checking off our DIY projects from the to-do list until we achieve our dream.

modern traditional powder room mood board
powder room before with black and white floral wallpaper and aqua beadboard

I can’t wait to see it all come together! You can follow the progress on Instagram Stories as we work on this bathroom.

Do you have any favorite design tools you would add to this list?

You can get more DIY design help with a free Style Finder Binder guide and access to more resources here:

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  1. This is a great post and perfect timing for me. I need all this info for an upcoming new-to-us old house renovation project. I always enjoy watching your projects unfold and you’ve put together some great resources for us to follow. I purchased your spreadsheets. Although I dread that part of designing, it should help me be more efficient and it will definitely make my analyst husband happy.

    1. Lisa, I am so happy you find the posts helpful and inspiring! Thank you for the feedback. I am happy to have you following along! 🤗