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Your Nokia Lumia smartphone is a peerless operator in the digital realm but helpful can it be in the real world?

I’m not talking about using your Lumia to bash in some nails (even though we all know that it can do that as well) but using your smartphone to help you around the house in a well, smarter, way.

Doing general jobs around the house can be deeply infuriating, as well as hugely satisfying, so you need to tool up properly if you’re going to make a decent job of it.

Thankfully, there are plenty of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace that can transform your Lumia into a veritable Swiss-knife of DIY usefulness.

So, the next time you have a shelf that needs putting up, make sure you have your Lumia close to hand and give these apps a try.


To anything around the home, you need to be able to see what you’re doing.

Flashlight-X is a highly rated free app (over 1700 reviews and averaging four and half stars) that uses the camera’s LED flashlight to turn your Lumia into a torch.

Other nifty features include a compass, SOS mode and shaking the phone to turn the light on and off.


Getting your measurements right goes a long way to ensuring a decent outcome for any DIY job.

This app turns your Lumia’s screen into a Ruler (FREE). You’ll need to calibrate it the first time you use it (because of different screen sizes) but this is simple to do and you only need to do it once. You can also switch between centimetres and inches with a click of a button.

If you want to try obtaining measurements by some more hi-tech means then give RollRuler (FREE) a try.

This uses your phone’s sensor to measure distances while you are ‘rolling’ your phone. Beware though; even the developer says the results are only approximate.

Spirit level

Trying to hang pictures on the wall and making sure that they are hanging straight can be a real nightmare. This is where you need a spirit level.

Another Level (FREE) does just the job for Lumia and a little more besides. Cleverly, your Lumia vibrates when it is held at 0 degrees horizontally or vertically and there is also a graph mode that shows the changes in angles over time.

Along similar lines, is MagicLevel (FREE), which combines a spirit level with your Lumia’s camera. Not sure how useful this is in DIY situations but maybe it can help you put an end to taking wonky photos?


I think there is only one thing more difficult than tiling a bathroom or kitchen and that is working out how many tiles you need to buy for the job in the first place.

Tile Calculator (FREE) is a must if the mystery of numbers is an impenetrable fog for you. Tell the app the size of your tiles and then the width and height of your walls and it will work out how many tiles are required.

It even includes some useful tips for a happy tiling experience.


It is always useful to have a toolbox around the house and that is no exception when it comes to your Lumia.

Here are a few all-purpose DIY toolkits for your phone.

Carpenter’s Friend, FREE

This has a protractor, spirit level, ruler, spirit level and plumb bob to keep you on the straight and narrow. There is also a unit converter so you can see imperial and metric measurements.

Cool Tools, FREE

Cool Tools is an all-purpose digital utilities app. As well as things like a flashlight, stopwatch and a ruler, it also has some more specialist features like an accelerometer and soundchecker.

Tools for Phone 7, FREE

You can’t really accuse the developer behind this app of not trying – it even includes a password generator, simple Morse code and a teenager repellent that blasts a 17khz sound at unruly mobs of youngsters and is not heard by adults.

Those features are on top of the calculator, ruler, screen light, level, seismometer, random number generator, list manager and massager.  Yes, a massager, which is basically your phone’s vibrate function but running for 1 minute or 5 minutes depending on how tired you are.

A massage is the least that you deserve after all that DIY work.

Image credit: Kanemojo