Best 3D home design software for 2021 (free and paid, for PC, Mac, mobile, and online)6 min read
There was a time when if you needed 3D renders of a room, house or entire building, you’d need to employ the services of an architect. Nowadays, you can do most of the work yourself, which can be a lot more fun than it sounds, especially if the software does most of the heavy lifting for you, and is easy to use.
Best 3D home design software
Of course this won’t replace meticulously designed plans that are up to spec and will pass an inspection by the local authority, but they can help you get a good idea of what you can achieve with an existing dwelling, or if you’ve got the time and patience, with the creation of an entire building.
The best part of such software, is the ability to fill your space with all sorts of furniture, then explore the rooms virtually or even print photo-realistic renders of them.
We’ve picked up what we fell are the five best apps that will enable you to design quickly and accurately, with great results.
Also check out the best architecture software
Floorplanner is an online service which caters for individuals and companies, and allows you to redesign one of your rooms, an entire floor, even a whole building, and plan how your furniture will fit in your new home. It’s web-based so you access it via your favourite browser, and best of all, if your needs are modest, it won’t cost you a thing.
Aside from a free account, you could choose one of the various subscription options (the more you pay, the more features you gain access to). There’s also a credit system enabling you to get features that aren’t normally available with your chosen package.
Floorplanner is an excellent online service, designed to help you create rooms and furnish them with great accuracy. Working with it is fluid and easy, and we didn’t observe any discernible glitches. The fact there’s a free option means any amateur designer will happily use it to configure a room, but there are limitations to that option. The more you pay, the more restrictions are lifted, leading to a versatile service that can cater to the individual and busy businesses.
Read the full review: Floorplanner
HomeByMe offers a very affordable service with a myriad of options. We particularly appreciated the fact that the free plan doesn’t appear to limit your design options, and lets you work on up to three different projects. The limit on the number of HD photorealistic images (1920×1080) is somewhat compensated by offering an unlimited number of lower quality ones (640×360 pixels). However, it takes hours to render low quality images. It’s definitely not for the instant gratification crowd. Worse still, although the results are most impressive, the free account pastes a giant watermark all across the image, rendering the effect pointless. The HD images are rendered in minutes, and don’t have that watermark.
This service has a lot to offer, and if you’re not too fussed about those images (which are a pretty big selling point when they’re trying to entice you to register), you can explore and create very complex designs with the greatest of ease.
Read the full review: HomeByMe
If you’re looking for meticulous planning, with precise editing and customising tools, aimed at providing everything you need, right down to all the material you’ll require for a specific job, Chief Architect Home Designer Suite 2022 may well be the software for you. Available for both Mac and Windows, you have in your digital hands everything you need to build the home of your dreams – virtually.
Despite its obvious detail and power, Home Designer Suite is incredibly capable, and most likely would suit most people’s needs. You can get it for $129, although it is currently on offer at $99. Chief Architect also offer you a trial version which you can check out and decide if this is the right software for you.
Home Designer Suite is very full featured, helping you create the home of your dreams, without forgetting its surrounding landscape. You have full control over pretty much everything, and despite its apparent complexity, there are many automatic tools that do a lot of the work for you, enabling you to focus on the details, to turn a design, into a home.
Read the full review: Chief Architect Home Designer Suite 2022
Dream Plan is designed to work on Windows (from XP onwards) and Mac (10.5 and above) and comes in various flavours: Plus is a commercial licence, and would cost you $40. If you only need it for personal use, Home costs $35. That’s not much of a price difference to be honest. However as of this writing, there’s a promotion going, allowing you to grab these at $29.99 or $24.99 respectively (this discount ends on the 15th of December 2021).
NCH’s DreamPlan is an excellent piece of software, helping you create a building on multiple levels, alter it and customise it inside and out to your heart’s content. It is designed to make it easy to make modifications, and even goes out of its way to help you understand the app’s inner workings, by offering you links to specific video tutorials throughout the interface (the subtle blue circular camera button). It’s very affordable too, works on multiple platforms, and comes with a free trial period – definitely worth a look.
Read the full review: DreamPlan
This service is designed to work on a phone or tablet running iOS or Android. The app itself is free, and you can try out the service without paying a thing, but if you’re going to be using it regularly, you’ll have to grab yourself a subscription.
One of MagicPlan’s cool features is ‘Scan with Camera’. If you’re in the room you’ll be working on, you can use AR (augmented reality) to let the app scan and measure the room for you. It worked okay, although we suspect this would function a lot better in an unfurnished space.
MagicPlan is an original designer program. It’s a mobile app (although you can also access some features via a web browser), with easy to use features, an interesting AR option and an original way of generating estimates for work needed to be done. The monthly subscriptions could pay for themselves if designing is your business, and it also offers you two free projects for casual users to explore as well. It’s definitely worth a look.
Read the full review: MagicPlan
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