Why Use Home Design Software?
The top performers in our review are Home Designer Suite, the Gold Award winner; TurboFloorPlan Home & Landscape Pro, the Silver Award winner; and Home Designer Interiors, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing the best home design software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 programs.
Home design software is a powerful tool that helps you plan and design your dream house. The single best part of these programs is you can see any and all changes you make to your house in real time, so when you start remodeling or building, you already know what the end results will look like. You can use this software to help you make decisions about small changes to your home, such as choosing new paint for your walls, or it can help you design large, completely renovated spaces for you and your family to enjoy.
While you can use this software for small projects, we also have reviews of different kinds of specialized design software. If you are only updating the inside of your home, we have interior design software reviews for Windows computers, as well as home and interior design software for Macs. For projects focused on one area of your home, check out our reviews for kitchen, deck and landscaping software for Windows and landscaping software for Macs.
It's important to note this type of software is a great tool for planning how you want your home to look, but it doesn't necessarily create exact blueprints that contractors can follow. Instead, these programs serve as platforms to illustrate your ideas for your dream home.
Free or Paid: Which Home Design Software Is Right for You?
As you search for the best design software for your remodeling needs, you will run across a number of free online programs and apps that can help you make design decisions and allow you to visualize the end results. Although these tools can be quite useful, we found that they are often limited in what they can do, and they are best used as supplements to home design software. Many of these free programs and apps are good for showing you how a wall or room might appear with some changes, but they are not ideal for making serious changes to your home because they don’t have the many features and capabilities found in the best home design software.
The best home design programs on the market allow you to make small changes to the kitchen or tear out a few walls and build an expansion. As you remodel and design your home, you need a lot of building material options. For example, if you want to see what your home looks like with hardwood floors, you need to see the differences in types of woods and stains without having to go buy samples. These purchased programs also have large interior design and plant libraries. Using home design software, you can modify, design, create or recreate any room or section of your house.
The home design software we reviewed gives you the power to create any type of home design projects, and it provides many options so you can visualize the end results before you even get started. For more information, check out our learning center and read our articles on home design software.
Home Design Software: What We Tested, What We Found
We looked for applications that have all the features needed to take your design from an idea to a finished product. These important tools help you brainstorm ideas, draw up floor plans and edit pre-existing ones, buy materials, and construct the house. The best home design software has tools for each step of the design process, no matter how complex your plan is.
There are a few things to consider when deciding which home design software best fits your needs. We tested these key features to determine which programs are easy to use and have advanced capabilities so you can build an accurate floor plan from scratch or update a pre-existing floor plan for your home’s redesign.
We awarded an ease of use score to every software we reviewed. This score reflects how easy the software is to install and use, as well as how quickly you can go from a blank screen to a completed floor plan. To test this, we created the same floor plan on each software.
While all of the programs have grids you can create foundations and rooms on, each software has a unique interface that affects its ease of use. Each program has a different menu layout and houses interior design tools in different places. We found that labeled tabs or drop-down menus made it easy to find tools and made it quicker to create a floor plan.
We also took note of programs that froze, crashed or displayed unclear 3D images, as these all affect how easy it is to use them. In our testing, the Total 3D products did not present clear 3D renditions of the house we designed, and we could not reference them while we were building the 2D floor plan.
Design Quality Score
The quality of the 2D and 3D floor plans a program produces is equally important as how easy it is to use. You should look for programs with a high design quality score. This score gives you an idea if you can use your own drafted floor plans for a construction project or if a contractor needs to completely rebuild your design using a higher-capacity program like CAD software. To determine the quality of the programs’ end results, we surveyed professional architects and interior designers who scored the final 2D and 3D floor plans created on each program.