By Meg Escott
Free floor plan software is great for playing with your design and exploring all the design possibilities. It's great for sharing and keeping a record of how your design thinking progresses.
In no particular order...
The thumbnails link to the websites of the software and you can use the link to the review to read the reviews.
I’ve personally reviewed all these free floor plan software applications. Each review was based on the same demo house and the same structure has been used in all the reviews to give you an opportunity to draw a good comparison and find the software that suits your requirements, and for free!
|Home By Me||Auto Desk Home styler||Sweet Home 3D||Roomle||Room sketcher||Floor planner||Planner 5D||Sketchup|
|Easy to Use||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Import Floor Plan||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Print to Scale||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Save in Common Format||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
All the reviews were carried out using a demo house which happens to be a simplified version of my house. You can read more about my house in remodelog.
Each review has the same headings to make it easy to compare one with the other..
Each review starts with a very quick introduction covering:
Here we look at what it takes to get started. Is it a quick and easy sign up and start or is there a download process clogged with advertising?
How easy is it to draw the floor plan? Can you enter dimensions? Is the area automatically calculated? Can you draw a curved wall? Are the stairs, windows and doors easy to put in? Can the first floor be cloned from the ground floor?
Is there a good selection of furniture? Can it be resized? Are there any items of furniture missing?
It can be a real thrill and a great visualization tool to be able to see your design in 3D. IT brings your design even more to life. How realistic is the 3D rendering? Are multiple camera angles possible and do any of these free floor plan software applications allow you to create a moving 3D walkthrough?
Here we'll take a look at other features which can make a big difference. Can you import a floor plan? Can you print? How about printing to scale? Is it easy to share your floor plan with others using the application? What about saving your floor plan into some of the standard file types such as jpg or pdf or dwg?
Learning any new software involves a bit of a learning curve and if there's good tutorials and good help resources that journey is made easier. So how does each floor plan design application measure up on helping you out?
There are of course many home design software packages available that are not free for both amateur and professional use. From what I have seen using all the free floor plan software applications featured in this section I find it hard to imagine why you'd need to pay for software for amateur purposes.
And that moves me along nicely to my main bit of advice on using free floor plan software. Recognise its limitations. Software packages aimed at the amateur are not designed to produce drawings suitable for the planning office or for a builder to tender for your job.
Spend some time reading these reviews to make sure any particular feature you're interested in is included.
What they are excellent for is playing with your design and exploring design possibilities for yourself which I think is a really important part of the design process even if you're hiring an architect or home design professional.
I enjoy playing with designs with pencil and tracing paper but it can be hard to keep these neat and it takes time to scan them if you want to share them online. I guess you could photo them with your phone but then there's problems with scale and getting it straight. So online applications are great for sharing.
While you're playing, exploring and sharing, don't forget to save, and often. It's useful to save all the different versions of the design so that you can come back later and take the best ideas from all the designs you've come up with.