How A Free Floor Plan Software Can Help You Design Your New Home
To come up with different ideas of house floor plans so we could discuss them with our architect we did a lot of research for a floor plan software on the Internet.
We were looking for a software that was easy to use, would allow drawing floor plans quickly and precisely in metric system and render the result in 3D. The capability to put furniture on the plan would have been a big bonus.
We came across several softwares. Some of which you need to install on a computer and some run directly in a browser. A few were free and others were pricy. A lot of them were designed for the Imperial system (targeting the USA market) and could not be set to the metric system we use here in Australia.
Example of softwares we tested include:
- IKEA Home Planner FY08. This could be great if you are comfortable with the Imperial system and plan to purchase furniture from IKEA as it was designed around IKEA’s catalog. I’m not sure though that the embedded catalog is the same as the Australian one. Update September 2017 – It seems this tool is no longer available on the IKEA website. The new planner is called IKEA Home and Kitchen planner.
- Smartdraw. This is a generalist drawing software with some templates for house floor plans. We found it a bit hard to use as we were looking for a more dedicated tool for floor plans.
After extensive research, testing and trialling we eventually chose an Internet based software called Floorplanner.com.
This software allows you to draw floor plans easily and accurately within a browser. More importantly it works with the metric system. Yay!
You can draw doors, windows, moving walls and it would automatically calculate areas of each room for you. When you have finished you can save your plans and view them in 3D. This software doesn’t do the roofing at the time we used it. It was not an issue for us as our architect did the roofline when we finalized the floor plan.
Below is a screenshot of what the interface looks like when you’re logged in:
Your dashboard lists the plans within projects you are working on. Each thumbnail represents a floor plan. In our case I kept different versions of our design that’s why you see a bunch of plans that look similar. In fact they all have slight variations between versions.
Once you’re in you can change the settings to metric as shown here:
A really nice feature worth noting with this tool is it allows you to place pieces of furniture to scale on the plan. This is a precious aid to help you check traffic zones in and between spaces. For example you can draw a dining room and place a dining table with 8 chairs in it. Once you have scaled the table and chairs to their overall dimensions you can see the space left between the chairs and walls for circulation. That will help you check if the room is too small or too big for 8 seater.
The following screen grabs show our final floor plan in 2D and 3D. They were designed with Floorplanner.com and as you can see we put pieces of furniture (to scale) in as to better visualize room sizes and traffic zones.
Same plan rendered in 3D:
Floorplanner.com is a free floor plan software but also exists in paid versions. You can try it out with the free version but I would recommend paying a small fee for the Plus version as it allows you to save more projects and designs. The cost of the Plus version is minuscule ($29) comparing to your construction budget. This software will save you money and time down the track.
What floor plan software do you use? Feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.
Post image credit: Collin R Erickson