Designing Your Home
If you are the creative type and are looking to build a new home or add-on to your existing home, you probably have though a lot about the design. Working on the design yourself will help you get your creative juices flowing and figure out exactly what you want in your home. Many free 3D design programs are available to allow you to see your design in 3D or to print professional quality drawings.
The program you choose will depend on what you want out of it. Here is a list of free 3D home design software and a short description of each program.
If you are looking for an online program that you don't have to download or install, homestyler.com may be exactly what you are looking for. It is by Autodesk, the same company that publishes the industry standard AutoCAD, Revit and other design software for professionals. Unlike the professional grade software that costs thousands of dollars, Homestyler is free. Just go to the website and start dragging rooms and furniture into place.
Homestyler lets you drag and drop walls to custom sizes and shapes and add doors and windows. It has a huge library of furniture for fleshing out your design. Start in plan view to view your design in 2D from above, or switch to 3D view. To save your designs, you have to sign up with the site, but registration is free.
Sweet Home 3D
Sweet Home 3D is another free online program for 3D Design, but it is best for interior design more than home design. It is also free to use. Like Homestyler, you do not have to sign up to try it out, but the program won’t let you save your design unless you do sign up. You can also download Sweet Home 3D to run on your computer after completing your free registration.
Google SketchUp is by far my favorite 3D design program. It is flexible and intuitive to learn. It differs from the others on this page in that it is not for only home design, but any kind of design. It uses basic lines and surfaces for everything, rather than wall elements, so it is highly flexible for designing or modeling anything you want. Google SketchUp Pro costs hundreds of dollars, but the free version is highly functional and sufficient for most people who are not professional designers.
SketchUp is suitable for any type of 3D design, from designing a bookshelf, to a kitchen remodel, to a jungle gym. It has a huge library of components from windows and doors to furniture, people and plants. Many of the components are user-generated and downloadable from the 3D warehouse. Anyone can upload his or her designs to share.
With SketchUp it takes a little more time to get professional looking drawings because there are no specific wall elements, so you must model wall thicknesses and 2D symbols if you want them to show in plan. Still, it is an excellent design tool for home design because of the ability to do quick 3D “sketches” of your ideas.
Envisioneer Express by Cadsoft is 3D home design software that has a free version and a paid version. The free version is enough to get you started with your home design. Depending on what you want to do, it may be all that you need. The paid version is about 20 dollars at the time of this writing and offers more capabilities such as ceilings, stairs, columns, railings, dimensions, electrical wiring, lighting, and landscape design elements. Envisioneer express also powers other home design software packages that come with more bells and whistles and cost two to three times as much as the paid version of Envisioneer Express. These other programs include HGTV’s home design Software, Turbo FloorPlan 3D by IMSI Design, and Cadsoft’s Personal Architect Software.
Get Started Designing
I hope this list of free 3D home design software is helpful. A lot of paid 3D design software tools exist too, some for reasonable prices and some for astronomical prices, but these are the best free packages that I have found. I am not affiliated with any of them other than using some of them myself, and don't get any monetary incentive for sharing the links. Try them, and enjoy designing your new home, addition or remodel.