Real Estate Report: DIY Floor Plans? There's an App for That

If you've ever juggled graph paper and a tape measure trying to figure out how big the living room really is, MagicPlan might come in handy. Developed by Sensopia, the free app works through the camera in your iPhone or iPad to "draw" a floor plan, using an overlay of grids and markers to locate corners and other features in the room, and translate the data into a plan you can use– online or printed– even in rooms currently jammed with furniture.

The app is free, and the plans start at $2.99 for one jpg/pdf version– which seems like a bargain if you're thinking about furniture layouts– and the price drops with multiple plans, making it an ideal tool in choosing a new place to live. Admittedly, it takes a few tries to get used to the overlay images and grids as you rotate in the center of a room, but the plans are correctible, and we love that you get the dimensions of walls, doors and windows in addition to the general layout. The app does not do curves (yet) and new construction is easier than vintage, plus MagicPlan seems easier to use on an iPad than an iPhone. We wouldn't buy a sofa without it.

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