When I designed our new house I used a web based floor plan and house design software at Floorplanner.com.
I like the fact that it’s a web based program which means I can open and work on my plans everywhere provided I have access to the Internet. It can be configured in metric, works in 2D and can generate 3D visualizations. Pieces of furniture can be added to your floor plans to make your plans look more real.
Floorplanner.com is a free floor plan software but also offers a paid plan which I subscribed to (the price was cheap) so I could have more plans stored in my account. The paid version also allows saving your drawings in high resolution images if you want to print them off.
I still use Floorplanner as a tool to rearrange furniture in a room, sketch new house concepts. They add new furnitures and keep improving the program which is great. You can find a more detailed article about how to draw new house floor plans with floorplanner.com here.
Recently I’ve come across another house floor plan software called Sweet Home 3D.
The program can work directly in a browser connected to the web. It also exists as a desktop version you can download and run locally on your computer. I watched the presentation video and decided to give the desktop version a try and share with you my findings.
Downloading and installation were straight forward. Once the software is launched I found it very intuitive to use.
You can add walls to create spaces, or create rooms directly. Walls and rooms can be resized, moved. You can also place and arrange all sorts of furnitures in the room and spaces to see circulation paths, usability of your floor plan.
The thing that impressed me the most was the 3D view in the second bottom half of the screen. Whenever you change something in the 2D view the change reflects immediately on the 3D view. Pieces of furnitures are also visible in the 3D screen. Check out this article to see why it’s so important to incorporate furniture when designing your house floor plan.
Not only that the software also allows you to move around the 3D image with the mouse to examine your plan from different perspectives. To me the speed of 3D rendering in Sweet Home 3D constitutes a great quality as it is a time saver comparing to other softwares. Although Floorplanner is capable of rendering your floor plans in 3D it takes much more time to do.
Other features I like about Sweet Home 3D include:
- Use metric system (definitely easier to work in metric in Australia than having to mentally convert inches and feet)
- 3D virtual visit of your dream house (what a great feature). It looks so real
- Large collection of furniture, cabinetry, kitchen appliances can be arranged on the plan
- Light fixtures
- Window elevation can be adjusted
- Dimensions of things can be precisely typed in via keyboard
- Walls can be “painted” with different colours (different colour each side)
- Colours and patterns for floor
- Import a floor plan as background image. If you want to modify or adapt an existing floor plan this option will speed up the process a lot
- Print to PDF. When you print to PDF the listing contains not only your 2D plan but also a 3D view of it. Last but not least it also includes the list of furnitures on your plan!
Overall Sweet Home 3D boasts impressive functionalities. It is so powerful and versatile, yet easy to manipulate, that you could use it to draw floor plans for a new house, to concoct a furniture rearrangement/upgrade or to design a kitchen renovation. What you can do with it just blows me away. I encourage you to check it out.
If you would like to share your experience with the software please feel free to do in the comment section.