Best Home Design Software of 2023

Home design software is a valuable tool that can help you envision what a new space will look like. Whether you choose to remodel a space by yourself or hire a professional, it is a good idea to form a plan before getting to work on a new project. The following list of best home design software will give you a good starting point to visualize and communicate your ideas.


Best Home Design Software of 2023

Best Overall: SketchUp Pro

 SketchUp Pro


Key Specs

  • Works on: Web browser, Chromebook, iPad, desktop
  • Cost: $299/year
  • Free or trial version: Free web browser version

Why We Chose It

We selected Sketchup Pro as the best overall software because it lets you do as little or as much as you’d like, from viewing a straightforward 3D model of your home to a highly detailed model of your property with elevations, or an animated walkthrough of your remodeling ideas. The ability to export your designs as PDFs, images, and CAD files makes it easy to share your design idea with the pros working on your project.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Advanced 3D modeling tools

  • Export of designs into PDFs and other formats

  • Library of free 3D models

  • Tutorials

  • SketchUp for web is free

Overview

With its expansive feature set, advanced 3D modeling tools, online forums, tutorials, and user discussions, SketchUp Pro is unquestionably the best home design software out there.

SketchUp Pro lets you effortlessly design highly accurate 3D models of homes and other similar structures, all using simple click-and-release mouse actions. Just choose from one of the many preloaded templates, select a view and you’re ready to go. In addition to 3D models, you can also create plans, elevations, details, title blocks. and a lot more, using the “LayOut” tool.

The tool is also great for making presentation documents, supporting everything from drafting to vector illustrations. The program makes it easy to turn models into animated walkthroughs and flyovers that explain every detail.

You can add elements such as line work, textures, and shadows to 2D documents. Then there are the dimensioning tools, which snap to the edges of models and allow you to quickly set format, scale, and precision level of displayed measurements.

From architects and builders to engineers and urban planners, SketchUp can be used by everyone. The created design documents can be exported as PDFs, images, and CAD files.

One of the most impressive features of SketchUp Pro is 3D Warehouse, a huge library of free 3D models. You can choose from a vast array of 3D objects, and use them in your home’s design.

Best for DIY Home Enthusiasts: Home Designer Professional

 Chief Architect


Key Specs

  • Works on: PC and Mac desktops and laptops
  • Cost: $59/month rent, $595/purchase
  • Free or trial version: Trial download

Why We Chose It

We picked Home Designer Professional as the best software for anyone who is into DYI remodeling for the ease with which is lets you create your own design, whether it’s one room or a whole house. The software makes it easy to pick objects from the large library of 3D architecture objects and plug them into your own plan, then play around with them by rotating or modifying them.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Based on common building practices

  • Large library of architecture objects to choose from

  • For single rooms or entire homes

  • Plans can be shared

  • Trial download

Overview

Don’t want to bother hiring an architect and would rather design your perfect home yourself? Look no further than Home Designer Pro, the best thing for DIY home enthusiasts.

Coming from the stable of Chief Architect, Home Designer Pro offers a truckload of tools for interior design, remodeling, outdoor living, and cost estimation. These have commonly accepted defaults for most building practices, and thus make creating your own project a cakewalk. Whether you want to create a single room or an entire house, Home Designer Pro can do it all. It lets you add cabinets, place furniture, and even paint walls.

The software has an extensive library of 3D architecture objects that can be added to designs. You can rotate symbols in different planes, and choose to have the CAD block refresh automatically as objects are modified. It’s possible to set heights by absolute or relative positions, and the program lets you reference adjacent floors for designing multi-tiered decks.

You can customize room labels, edit multiple elements (such as all cabinets) together with one command, as well as create architectural blocks that can be moved as one and stored in the library. Other features include the ability to rotate and reverse plans, custom watermarks, live layout views, and labeled callouts.

Home Designer Pro lets you back up the entire plan for easy sharing, set sun and shadow controls, record walkthroughs, and more. There is a lot of CAD functionality thrown into the mix, too.

Best for Ease Of Use: Sweet Home 3D

 Sweet Home 3D


Key Specs

  • Works on: Windows and Mac
  • Cost: None
  • Free or trial version: Free tool

Why We Chose It

For an easy software design, we chose Sweet Home 3D because it requires no experience whatsoever and everything happens in one window. Although this is an entry-level design tool, you have plenty of options to try out different architectural designs, adding doors and windows, and view your project in 3D from above or as a virtual visitor on the ground.

Pros & Cons

Overview

Most of the home design programs are quite complicated and have a bit of a learning curve. That said, there are some that are fairly easy to use like Sweet Home 3D and it’s free.

Using Sweet Home 3D, you can create straight, round, or sloping walls with precise dimensions, with just your mouse and keyboard. The software lets you insert doors and windows in walls by simply dragging them into the plan.

You can add furniture to your model using an extensive, searchable catalog, which is organized by categories such as kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. For each added element (e.g. wall, floor), it’s possible to change the color, texture, size, thickness, location, and orientation.

While designing the home in 3D, you can simultaneously view it in 3D from an aerial point of view, or navigate from a virtual visitor point of view. Sweet Home 3D lets you annotate the plan with room areas, dimension lines, texts, and arrows.

The program can even create photorealistic images and videos with its ability to customize the lights. You can import existing home blueprints to add upon them, and export created designs as PDFs and vector images.

The features of Sweet Home 3D can be enhanced using a variety of plug-ins.

Best Budget: Total 3D Home, Landscape & Deck Premium Suite

 Individual Software


Key Specs

  • Works on: Windows
  • Cost: $25.99
  • Free or trial version: No

Why We Chose It

Our favorite too for best budget, the Landscape & Deck Premium Suite, strikes just the right balance between ease of use and technical sophistication for someone who is not an architectural design pro. With Total 3D Home, you can design and visualize homes and gardens by sourcing from a vast library of samples. We also like that you can look at thousands of photos of homes and landscapes for inspiration.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Large library of design samples

  • Lets you upload your sketches

  • Add elements from a vast furniture catalog

  • How-to video library

  • Includes landscape design

Overview

Teeming with options, the Home, Landscape & Deck Premium Suite software from Total 3D offers nearly boundless room for creativity while designing rooms and gardens, all for just $29.99. You can upload your own sketches of your dream home or choose from 14,000 samples to get your planning started.

To see how your own furniture would look in different designs, you can import digital images of your current pieces and textiles or utilize a catalog of 20,000 brand-name products. Visualize nearly any possibility with custom windows, doors, floors, carpets, roofs, appliances, paint colors, and wallpaper.

A how-to video library offers step-by-step instructions for navigating the software, and over 2,500 photos of homes and landscapes can provide inspiration or guidance. Compared to other programs that can cost hundreds of dollars, this program has a lot to offer for a fraction of the price.

Best Online: Space Designer 3D

 Space Designer 3D


Key Specs

  • Works on: Web browser
  • Cost: $9.99 per project per month
  • Free or trial version: No

Why We Chose It

In the category of online tools, Space Designer 3D is the best design software due to the wide range of options it gives you. You can draw floor plans, switch between designs, furnish rooms from a large library with thousands of objects and materials, and easily visualize your design in 2D and 3D, all from your web browser. And the ability to simulate natural lighting based on GPS data is a real boon.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Access from a web browser

  • 2D and 3D visualization

  • You can switch between designs

  • Natural lighting simulation

Overview

If you think only desktop programs are great for home design, you couldn’t be more wrong. Space Designer 3D is a web-based app that lets you plan and visualize your ideal home, using just your Web browser.

Getting started with Space Designer 3D is a walk in the park, and all you need is an account. The app lets you draw floor plans from basements to the roof, and you can customize your interior design with more than 5,000 different furniture and materials, suitable for both residential and commercial use.

The Web app makes it simple to visualize your created project in real-time, both in 2D and 3D. Space Designer 3D can simulate natural lighting realistically, depending on the GPS coordinates and time of the day. Its rendering engine can transform 3D objects into photorealistic images with just a click, and levels are editable independently through the 2D floor plan visualization.

It is possible to have multiple options for the design of the floor plan or interiors, which is why Space Designer 3D includes different versions of a single project, with the ability to quickly switch between multiple designs.

Space Designer 3D offers multiple plans, and you can choose the one that best suits your (or your organization’s) needs.

Best for Mobile: Homestyler

Courtesy of Homestyler


Key Specs

  • Works on: iOS and Android phones and devices
  • Cost: None
  • Free or trial version: Free app in-app purchases

Why We Chose It

When you are out and about and need to check how the light fixtures you just saw in a store would look in 3D in your new living room, Homestyler is what you need. That’s why we chose it as the best home design software for mobile. We love that the app is community-based so you can view designs from other users and share your own.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Accessible on mobile devices

  • 3D models of rooms with furniture and fixtures

  • Photo inspiration from the home user community

  • Free

Overview

Want to get some home planning done when you’re on the move? There’s no need to lug around a laptop, as your smartphone will do just fine. Just install Homestyler, and get started.

A powerful home design app, Homestyler offers a myriad of features. Simply take a photo of your space, and try out multiple wall colors, decor items, and furniture products from actual brands. You cannot only place high-quality 3D models of different items in the virtual room but even hang light fixtures from the ceiling.

The app makes it exceedingly simple to visualize different product combinations and lets you see how realistic models of branded rugs, paintings, mirrors, and more will look in your space. Since Homestyler is a community-based app, you can browse the designs submitted by other users to get some inspiration. Of course, you can also post your own creations and share them via e-mail and Facebook.

Homestyler is a free app, and available on both iOS and Android mobile platforms.

Best Splurge: Chief Architect Premier

 Chief Architect Premier


Key Specs

  • Works on: PC and Mac
  • Cost: $199/month
  • Free or trial version: Trial download

Why We Chose It

In the category with a high price tag, Chief Architect Premier is our top choice because it delivers everything a professional architect or an architecture-savvy home planner might want. It is sophisticated yet comprehensive, generating 3D models, lists of required materials, site and framing plans, and more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • For professional architects

  • Automatically generated 3D models

  • Viewing of models from different angles

  • Large catalog of 3D objects​

Overview

Primarily geared towards professional architects and home planners, Chief Architect Premier is arguably the most comprehensive home design software you’re going to come across. If budget isn’t a concern, it’s the best that there is, period.

Chief Architect Premier is fully capable of handling all types of residential and light commercial design projects. As you draw elements (e.g. walls), the software automatically creates a 3D model. It can generate a list of materials and use powerful building tools to produce construction documents, complete with site and framing plans, section details, and elevations.

Chief Architect Premier’s 3D rendering and visualization features let you view created models from different angles. You can also explore 360-degree spherical views locally and in the cloud, as well as embed them in websites for interactive navigation.

For cross sections and elevations, the software can add automatic labels and populate camera callouts with layout information. SketchUp Pro leads the list as the overall winner—the software offers enough features and it is sophisticated enough to be used by professionals yet it’s not over the top so a home user with a passion for design can also use it. It requires an annual subscription but the free trial gives you the chance to see how it works for you.With nearly unlimited options for everything from rooms and walls to foundations and even electrical/HVAC systems, Chief Design Premier lets you make the most intricate home designs, with minimal effort.

The software has a vast catalog of 3D objects​ and lets you export/export data in a wide variety of formats. Chief Architect Premier is available for both PC and Mac.

Final Verdict

SketchUp Pro leads the list as the overall winner—the software offers enough features and it is sophisticated enough to be used by professionals yet it’s not over the top so a home user with a passion for design can also use it. It requires an annual subscription but the free trial gives you the chance to see how it works for you.

Compare Home Design Software

How to Choose Home Design Software

Object Library

The best home design software packages include libraries of free objects, like furniture and fixtures, that number in the thousands. For more flexibility, look for home design software that supports importing even more objects. Some software also lets you buy additional objects as add-on purchases. 

Cost Estimator

Home design software makes it easy for your dreams to outpace your realistic budget constraints. Look for software that includes a built-in cost estimator that can keep track of the projected price tag of your construction or renovation.

Roof Wizard

When you’re designing a home from the ground up, the roof plays a huge part in the overall look of the structure. Some home design software requires you to have a lot of specialized knowledge, or go through a complicated process, to design the roof. Look for software that includes a great roof wizard that’s capable of automating the process of designing a roof that meets your aesthetic goals while remaining structurally sound.

FAQ


  • Is Home Design Software Worth It?

    To know how your home renovation project or remodeling will look, you may want to invest in a home design software program. The price of the software varies greatly, from freebies to monthly subscriptions that cost $200 and more. If you only have one project, it might not justify a pricey annual subscription and you should look for a low-cost option, even if it comes without all the bells and whistles.


  • Who Should Use Home Design Software?

    It is an indispensable tool for architects and anyone involved in the creative design of residential buildings, as well as any private individual who wants to play an active role in the home design process.


  • What Home Design Software Do Architects Use?

    Popular software used by architects includes AutoCAD, ChiefArchitect, 3DS Max, and SketchUp Pro.


  • When Should I Use Home Design Software?

    You should use it if you are building or remodeling a home and don’t want to hand over the entire design to a professional, or if you are planning to do some or all of the work yourself. The software will help you visualize your ideas and, depending on the type of software, give you a realistic assessment of their feasibility.

Methodology

When choosing the best home design software for each category, we looked at dozens of software choices to select the best. We reviewed the abilities and level of sophistication of the software as well as its functionalities, ease of use, access to tutorials, and size of object libraries. In our choices, we also took the price into consideration, although not in an absolute way but as part of a price-value consideration, as the software options cover such a vast range of levels, from very basic to highly sophisticated tools used by architects.

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