Interior decorators and other design professionals have varying opinions about using floorplanning software.
Some professionals prefer to design their plans in their own way without being tied to the format of a software. They find the process of drawing and measuring a floorplan manually more accurate and easier to control.
Other design professionals enjoy being able to organize, store, and communicate the details of their floorplans using systems that help specifically with scale, dimensions, and measurements.
Easy access to smartphone and tablet applications has increased the number of floorplanning software and apps available. There are apps designed to give you every planning ratio measuring and coordinating tool you’ll need in one place, complete with shareability so your partners and clients can see your plan too.
If you’re considering floorplanning software, ask yourself:
- What kind of space are you designing?
- How big is the space?
- How any people do you need to communicate with?
- Is the number of measurements and ratios you need to coordinate manageable or overwhelming?
When you’re choosing a floorplanning app or software, look for options that:
- Are easy to use
- Have a “tips” section or support services in case you run into trouble
- Have good customer reviews and a positive reputation
- Have the features you need most, rather than tools that sound impressive but that you’ll never use
- Offer free trials for paid software so you can test it before you commit
Check out these popular floorplanning apps and software!
Autodesk Homestyler is an online floorplanning site that lets you plan in 2D or 3D, creating the structure from scratch or building a mock of your own space to customize. The software contains a database of real products by reputable brands so you can visualize how furniture you might be interested in will look in your space. The site also offers a mobile app that lets you take a picture of your actual space and fill it with real products so you know which sizes and styles will work.
- Pro: The app and software offer easy sharing between you and your clients or partners via email or social media. Both platforms also provide technical support.
- Con: The focus is geared more towards figuring out how different styles of furniture will look in the space, rather than scaling and measuring to make sure things will fit properly.
The emphasis on “real products” comes off slightly commercial, like advertising.
Room Sketcher is online software that lets you build a theoretical room completely from scratch. You can choose the configuration of the walls, the material of the floors, and size and style of furniture. If starting from scratch isn’t for you, choose from a template that fits the room you’re designing. Build your design from an aerial view and then take a 3D snapshot to visualize the room.
- Pro: The website lets you use certain features without registering or signing in. You’re able to fully test the floorplanning process before you commit to an account. When you’re ready to sign up, you can choose between a free account that lets you use most features and create 5 free floorplans at no charge. If you want to upgrade, you can choose between two levels of subscription or simply pay for full access for a single project.
- Con: The software is only available online. There is no mobile app available.
Floorplanner is intended to help you design a room, but also to brand your floorplans and use them as marketing tools. It is geared toward any professional working with homes and housing, rather than just interior decorators or designers. The emphasis on branding and marketing is aimed at real estate agents, but is undoubtedly useful for design professionals as well.
- Pro: The website lets you practice creating floorplans with a full interactive demo before you commit to a pricing plan. You can also share floorplans in a range of file types for compatibility.
- Con: There is no mobile app version of the software.
Gliffy is a drawing, charting, and mapping service that can be used online for free up to five designs. Floorplans are just one of the many images professionals can create using this service. The model for the floorplan is basic rather than 3D or linked to real brands but it’s free form, giving professionals more control over sizing and scaling.
- Pro: You can sample Gliffy for an unlimited amount of time, using any features. You’re only required to sign up for the service if you decide you want to save one of your samples.
- Con: Because the format is more freehand than services intended solely for design professionals, it can take time to figure out. There are also no 3D visual capabilities.
Home Design 3D
Home Design 3D is a multi-platform app designed specifically to create floorplans for the purposes of redesign and decoration. The app provides free hand configuration options or pre-built objects and plans to be used as starting points. It can be used on computers, smartphones, and tablets.
- Pro: There are several versions of the app available. Each version is described in detail on the website so you can choose which one has the best features for you. You can also test the app for an unlimited time until you want to save a design, which requires registration.
- Con: The app can only be sampled by downloading the trial version. You don’t have to pay for it, but there’s no option to sample online without downloading to your computer or device.
Choose what’s best for you!
Remember to prioritize the services and tools each app offers. Browse your options until you find one with a good combination of tools you’ll real use and tools you’d like to learn. Evaluate your needs, test out a few products, and make an informed choice!