Best Home Design Software

Plan the layout and finishings of your home

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Interior design books on table

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Plan the home of your dreams or make over your existing floor plan with the help of the best home design software. Using a suite of powerful tools, you can customize the layout, architectural features, and finishes of your home project or remodel.

The best home design software programs are user-friendly and have a short learning curve. While your aptitude for technology will have a big impact on how easy it is to learn a specific software program, it’s worth noting that many design programs offer tutorials. In addition, leading home design software programs offer impressive 3D renderings and even virtual walkthroughs so you can visualize the space as you’re planning it.

Whether you enjoy working on a desktop computer, in an app on your mobile device, or from any web browser, check out these leading options for home design software.

Best Home Design Software of 2021

Best Overall: Virtual Architect Ultimate Home With Landscaping & Decks Design 10

NOVA Development

NOVA Development

Why We Chose It: An impressive suite of features, plus the ability to also design home exteriors and landscape, distinguishes this home design software. We especially like the ability to import digital pictures of your favorite pieces and see them in your home design rendering.

What We Like

  • Includes 3D virtual tours to help you visualize the space
  • 90-day satisfaction guarantee or else receive a refund

What We Don’t Like

  • Only a more limited version of the software is available for Mac computers
  • Phone support incurs additional charges

Virtual Architect Ultimate Home & Landscape is a powerful yet affordable option for exploring your design dreams. Whether you’re planning a new home build, a remodel, or a fresh interior design plan, this software can help you plan and visualize the space. Unlike some subscription-based home design programs, you’ll pay a one-time fee of $99 to download the program—and that's backed by a 90-day satisfaction guarantee.

One of the most impressive features of this home design software program is the ability to import digital images of your favorite art, furniture, or even family members. This is especially useful if you want to see how existing must-have items will suit the space you’re designing or visualize yourself in the 3D walkthrough of your new design. The ability to customize your proposed home design in this way is a unique option that blends your existing décor with unlimited possibilities through the design software’s suite of options.

This version of the software is only available as a PC download, but a more limited version of Virtual Architect is available to Mac users. You’ll give up the ability to import photos and lose some functionality, but you will still benefit from the user-friendly interface.

Best for Desktop: Punch! Home and Landscape Design Studio

Punch! Software

Punch! Software

Why We Chose It: Download this design software for easy access on your Mac or PC. You won’t have subscription fees to worry about, but you can upgrade to future software editions if you’re interested in taking advantage of new features or updates.  

What We Like

  • Intuitive simultaneous 2D and 3D views
  • In addition to interior spaces, create custom landscaping plans

What We Don’t Like

  • No free trial available

Punch! Software offers a suite of home design programs for both PC and Mac operating systems, including the well-equipped Design Studio series, for a one-time fee.

Opt to kickstart your project with one of 250 included house plans or start from scratch with a completely custom design. Side-by-side 2D and 3D views of your in-progress design make it easy to visualize the impact of changes as you make them. This home design software also includes landscaping features and plans, making it the total package. While there is no trial version of the software to let you try out its features, the company backs its products with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Downloading the software costs $129.99.

Best App: Home Design 3D

Home Design 3D

Home Design 3D

Why We Chose It: A smooth-running app interface makes designing your home convenient and easy to do on your phone or tablet. However, you can also save your project and open it up on the desktop version of this home design software.

What We Like

  • Available for Android or Apple devices
  • Offers 3D virtual tours

What We Don’t Like

  • A paid account is required for desktop access
  • Somewhat limited object library for decorating your layout

With an app for nearly everything, it’s no surprise that home design is possible on your phone or tablet. However, the quality of features and the ability to effectively visualize the space is limited on some mobile home design apps.

Home Design 3D offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy and enjoyable to design home layouts on your phone or tablet. Drag-and-drop functionality allows you to easily add rooms or include architectural features like windows and doors. The app is available for Android users in the Google Play store and iOS users can download it from Apple’s app store. Both free and premium versions are available for mobile devices.

One of the best things about this home design app is that it isn’t limited to mobile applications. Home Design 3D offers a desktop program as well, which enables you to resume mobile projects on your PC or Mac computer. Keep in mind, however, that there is no free version of the desktop design program. However, it only costs $9.99 and opens up possibilities for users who want to manage design projects across platforms.

Best DIY: SketchUp

SketchUp

SketchUp

Why We Chose It: A blank canvas awaits you in this powerful 3D modeling software that is often used by designers and decorators. Though there is a learning curve, the possibilities of this home design software are nearly endless and it makes a great option for ambitious creative thinkers.

What We Like

  • Unlimited possibilities to design and imagine layouts
  • Extensive library of 3D-built models

What We Don’t Like

  • Recurring subscription cost for upgraded accounts

While many home design software programs are designed to guide you through the process of creating a home layout, some people prefer a software program that is less structured and more open-ended. For DIY designers, consider SketchUp. This powerful 3D modeling tool is often used by interior designers, though it’s not strictly designed for that industry. You’ll be building your home design from scratch, which for some people is the easiest way to unleash creative ideas and come up with unique layouts.

Due to its popularity and common use in the design world, there is an abundance of online tutorials available for SketchUp. Even novice users can learn how to lay out floor plans, create rooms, and include openings for windows, doorways, and more. In addition, there’s access to thousands of prebuilt 3D models that you can use for space planning purposes or to digitally represent furnishings that bring your home design to life.

In its most basic form, SketchUp is free, but premium versions range from $119 to $299.

Best Online: Space Designer 3D

Space Designer 3D

Space Designer 3D

Why We Chose It: Skip the download and get right to designing with this powerful web-based design software. Get started with an investment of just $9.99 for a single project, giving you a budget-friendly but capable tool for planning out your home design dreams.

What We Like

  • Sign in from any device to access your designs
  • Short learning curve for many functions

What We Don’t Like

  • Basic accounts are limited to two HD renderings per project

The advantage of using web-based home design software is the ability to create or access new designs across devices, without the need to download an app or program. With the help of Space Designer 3D, getting started is as easy as opening your web browser and signing into the service.

Space Designer 3D is powerful enough for use by architects and professional designers, but easy enough to use for homeowners or those dabbling in design. A toolbar makes it easy to add exterior or interior walls, modify doors and windows, or insert 3D objects to furnish and complete the space.

This online home design software really shines when it comes to 3D renderings. The program gives you a realistic walkthrough of your newly designed space and provides the option to modify lighting, select a time of day setting, and hide or include shadows from objects in the room, plus many more features.

Casual users will pay per project; the fee is $9.99 for each design and includes two HD renderings. If you want to launch more than one project simultaneously, an upgraded account that supports five projects and 25 renderings is available for a recurring monthly fee of $24.99. You can cancel at any time.

Final Verdict

For a software program with a full-suite of features, including the ability to customize your project with photo imports of your favorite furnishings, check out Virtual Architect Home Ultimate. However, if you’re looking for a web-based program that you can access from any internet browser, then Space Designer 3D would be our recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Home Design Software?

Home design software gives you the ability to create 2D residential layouts, and in many cases, you’ll also be able to see a 3D rendering of your design. Some programs are made for casual use to help you explore ideas or visualize the impact of a remodel or addition, while others can produce detailed floor plans for use by contractors or professional designers.

Why Use Home Design Software?

Visualization is a powerful tool when exploring ideas for your dream home or planning a remodel project. By changing features within the software program and taking advantage of rendering tools, you can get a better sense of the layout and flow of your proposed floor plan.

How Much Does Home Design Software Cost?

Depending on the features and capabilities you need, home design software can be free or cost $100 or more. Many software programs are a one-time payment, though some charge a monthly subscription fee.

How We Chose the Best Home Design Software Programs

We evaluated leading home design software programs to find the options that are both user-friendly and powerful. In many cases, we downloaded trial versions of the software or watched online tutorials to check out features and assess the type of support available.

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