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Kitchen design software is a type of program used to design your space. Its tools can help you layout your kitchen, see what goes where, and show different views of the space, including 3D images. A kitchen rendering can also showcase how a backsplash would look or where the appliances should be placed, and it can be used by homeowners and designers alike.
The best kitchen design software allows users to have access to a variety of tools and features to design the kitchen of their dreams or the kitchen that their client envisions. They are also relatively easy to use, compatible with multiple operating systems, and offer realistic renderings, 3D views, and multiple options when it comes to finishes, flooring, appliances, and more.
Best Kitchen Design Software of 2021
Best Overall: Virtual Architect Kitchens & Baths 10
Why We Chose It: The software is easy to use, affordable, and you can upload your own digital photos. It also has tools to help you create accurate floor plans.
- Tools to help plan room additions
- Design wizard to expedite process
- Video tutorials
- Not cloud-based
- No free trial
Virtual Architect Kitchens & Baths 10 is the newest version of the kitchen and bath software available from Virtual Architects. It is designed to make the design and renovation process exciting, manageable, and economical. The company used new technology and expert advice to create the product, teaming up with Nova Development, one of the largest software publishers in the country, to do so. The affordable software is easy to use, comes with instructions, and doesn’t require any prior design experience.
The software needs to be downloaded and is compatible with Microsoft Windows versions 7, 8, or 10 though it doesn’t have a web-based. You can purchase it for about $39.99, and while it is often on sale, there is no free trial. You have up to 28 days to download the product once purchased. You can also choose to purchase the extended download period for about $6.95, which allows you to download the product from the purchase date up to two years later. A backup copy of your software is available on DVD for roughly $9.95. You can contact customer service through email and if you have a technical support issue you can submit a ticket on the site.
You can upload your own photos and point and click to change paint colors, fabrics, finishes, and stains from its library of brand-name products. There is also a complete library of appliances, small electronics, and furniture. In addition, you can customize cabinets and choose floor surfaces such as travertine or hardwood in a range of different colors and textures, giving you a large range of options to visualize your project.
Best for Free: Kitchen Planner
Why We Chose It: Kitchen Planner is a completely free web-based software full of design tools and features that come with easy-to-read instructions.
- Free software with lots of features
- Kitchen furniture library
- Setup instructions
- No available renderings
- Website is a bit outdated
Kitchen Planner was designed to be an effective and easy-to-use tool to help you plan and design your new kitchen. It doesn’t require any downloads, can be used from your web browser, and is available in numerous languages, including Arabic, German, Turkish, and more. The company is based in Germany, but you can contact them over the phone, through an online contact form, or via email. The software may not have all of the features a professional will need, and it may be a bit archaic for high-tech individuals who want complete customization, but overall it offers a great option for planning your kitchen without spending any money upfront.
You can freely design the floorplan and place doors and windows where you want them to go. There is a versatile selection of kitchen furniture and multiple cabinet heights available. Additionally, you can choose material finishes and different design aesthetics from country to modern. There is a 3D view of the kitchen planner, and each step has clear and concise instructions to guide you. You can also contact a kitchen professional in your area from the software.
Best Cloud-Based: SketchUp
Why We Chose It: SketchUp is cloud-based so it's easy to set up and can be used on the go from your phone or tablet.
- Has a free version
- Generate reports from the software
- Pre-build projects in 3D
- The cloud-based version has fewer features than the desktop
- Customer support not included with free version
SketchUp, licensed by Freemium and owned by Trimble Inc., is a design tool that works in any web browser and is available in multiple languages including Italian, Spanish, Korean, and more. It was initially released in 2000. There is a free version and several paid versions, and it can be used as a cloud-based or desktop tool. The site includes industry blogs, forums, and training tips, as well as a help center. It has positive overall user reviews with users enjoying its simplicity. You can start modeling right away, create project references, and auto-save your progress.
Homeowners, interior designers, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and more use the software for their projects. There are multiple versions available for professionals and personal use. The personal platform has a free web-based version and includes a 3D modeler and 3D viewing.
The next tier is also web-based and includes unlimited access to pre-built 3D models, an augmented reality mobile viewer, and unlimited cloud storage. It costs roughly $199 per year. The pro version is about $299 per year and is both desktop and web-based. It includes full features such as quick insight for design research, access to plugins, and 2D design documentation.
Best for Pros: Chief Architect
Why We Chose It: A well-known design software, Chief Architect is designed with professionals in mind and offers add-on products and flexible design tools just for kitchens and baths.
- Robust tools and features
- Custom cabinet tools
- Extensive 3D catalog
- Requires a download
- More difficult to use than other options
Chief Architect software was founded in 1981 and is a privately held software technology company headquartered in Idaho. It has a positive industry reputation and overall strong reviews from consumers who appreciate its variety of features but admit that it takes a while to learn how to use it. It is ideal for interior design professionals because of the available tools and the convenience of dimensions that follow the National Kitchen and Bath Standards.
The software needs to be downloaded and is compatible with both PCs and Macs. In addition to meeting system minimum requirements, you will need a video card, 5 GB of available hard disk space, internet access, and 8 GB of RAM. There is a free trial that you can apply for on the site; customer service will then reach out to you with details. Then there are two paid options: a rental for about $199 per month or purchase for roughly $1,976 (on sale as of July 2021), which includes one year of customer support. Backup media and add-ons can be purchased separately.
The software helps you produce plans and construction drawings as well as virtual tours and interior renderings. Every detail can be realistically designed in 2D, 3D, or elevation perspective views. There are 3D library catalogs with thousands of appliances, cabinets, textures, and furnishings to choose from. Plus, custom cabinet tools help you create any cabinets, including frameless ones.
Best Materials Selection: Foyr Neo
Why We Chose It: Foyr Neo has more than 50,000 textures and models, as well as a free trial, and it doesn’t require any setup.
- 14-day free trial
- 2D and 3D formats
- No experience required
- No document management tools
- No phone support
Foyr Neo was established in 2015 as a cloud-based software with a mission to empower those who shape the real estate and design worlds. It can be used to design from anywhere and is known for its fast speed and ability to complete an entire design project on one platform without any setup or downloads required. It has a huge selection of materials to choose from including more than 50,000 3D models and textures, built-in material settings, as well as 4K renderings that can be completed in minutes. You can upload and create your own models, and use drag and drop functions to easily move, rotate, and resize objects.
The site also has industry blogs, webinars, and an inspiration hub as resources. The software is used by both professionals, including interior designers, independent designers, and amateurs, and homeowners or real estate agents. You can try the software out for free for 14 days without inputting your credit card information.
Interior design plans range from about $49 per month to $179 per month, with discounts for paying annually. No experience is required to navigate through the features and tools and there is 24/7 online customer support available through chat, but phone support isn’t available.
All of the companies that made our best kitchen design software list have different things to offer. Some are easy to use with virtually no learning curve and others require no software or hardware and only need an internet connection. Overall, we chose Virtual Architect Kitchens & Baths 10 as our best kitchen design software because it can be used by both amateurs and professionals, comes with easy-to-use tools, and has realistic renderings. Additionally, it has a robust library of design materials and appliances to choose from.
How to Choose the Best Kitchen Design Software
Your home is your sanctuary and the kitchen is often one of the most used parts of your home, so you want to choose a design that is functional and aesthetically pleasing. The kitchen design software that you choose is important because it can bring your dream kitchen to life. There are several things to consider when selecting the best kitchen design software programs:
- Cost: Make sure the software fits in your budget and be aware of pricing models and one-time purchases, compared to monthly or even yearly costs.
- Learning Curve: Unless you’re a design professional, you probably aren’t familiar with this type of software so you'll want to know how time-consuming it will be to learn the tools and features.
- Available Material: Check to see if the software has a lot of materials to choose from such as cabinet finishes, hardware, floors, and even appliances.
- Compatibility: You'll need to know if you have to purchase and download the software (versus a web-based program), if it is compatible with your operating system, and whether you need free memory space or an internet connection.
Kitchen Design Software vs. Hiring a Pro
If you don't have experience, you'll need to hire a professional to demo your existing kitchen and install your new kitchen. However, you may not need a pro for the planning and design stage. You can save the time of finding a reliable professional, checking their references, and comparing prices, and instead use kitchen design software to see how your vision would look in your home. In addition to saving money, this can make the project more fun, creative, and meaningful because you helped design it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kitchen Design Software the Best Option for Customization?
There are a variety of great options for kitchen customization that include kitchen design software, as well as other alternatives including:
- Hiring an architect
- Working with an interior designer
- DIY upgrades
- Working with a designer
- Hiring a company that designs the kitchen and installs the products
Is Kitchen Design Software Easy to Use?
Some kitchen design software is easy to use and can be installed or set up with little to no prior experience. It may also come with instructions, how-to videos, and customer support. However, some of the software is more difficult to use and does have a bit of a learning curve. It’s important to purchase software that you will be able to figure out how to use, you have experience with, or that you can dedicate the time to learn how it works to get the most out of the product.
How Much Does Kitchen Design Software Cost?
Just like with any type of specialty software product, kitchen design software varies in the types of features and tools it has to offer, the complexity and accuracy of its renderings, models, and 3D photos, and whether it’s designed with professionals or amateurs in mind. All of these factors influence the pricing. Software can range anywhere from free to more than $199 per month for non-professional users.
We reviewed and compared more than a dozen of the most popular kitchen design software before choosing our top contenders. We selected companies that are reputable industry experts, have been in business for a while, and boast overall high customer satisfaction. Other factors we took considered include pricing, the software's platform and ease of use, and available tools and features. We also looked at specific criteria like the availability of material choices, rendering tools, and available appliance choices.