If you're looking to remodel, renovate, or redesign your home, you might consider using a professional. Depending on the scope of the project or who you hire, it can cost you anywhere from $2,000-$9,300 for an architect, and the average price of an interior designer is $5,400. And with your location or the upgrades or changes you want, you might spend even more than that.
Home design software provides an affordable alternative to hiring architects or designers by providing homeowners with a virtual vision of the renovations before committing to them. Home design software can also be used by design professionals to show their potential clients how rooms will look once they are transformed.
We reviewed more than a dozen home design software options before choosing the top contenders. The software we chose represents both free and paid versions. We compared them based on features, what they highlight, how easy they are to use, and more. Keep reading to find out more about home design software and which one can help transform your home virtually.
The Best Home Design Software for 2021
Best Overall : Virtual Architect Ultimate Home with Landscaping & Decks Design 10
Why We Chose It: This software is easy to use, has enhanced 3D technology, and includes virtual landscaping.
Thousands of 3D graphics
You can upload your own photos
Point and click, making it very easy to use
No free version
Paid phone support
Virtual Architect Ultimate Home with Landscaping & Decks Design 10 is made by Nova Development, a leading software development company founded in 1984. The company is one of the largest software publishers and makes software for consumers and small businesses. It has a strong industry reputation and consistently comes out with innovative new products and updates. Customers find the software easy and fun to use and no previous design experience is necessary.
This home design software costs $99.99 and you can download it online. It markets itself as complete home design software to change your home and landscape. You can point and click on the room and the wizard will do the rest. You can easily search for materials and create realistic renderings as well as upload your own digital photos and even add your own artwork to the space. Tools include everything from a kitchen builder wizard to interior decorating, building a deck, landscaping, remodeling, and more.
The software is compatible with Windows 10/8/7 and you need a 64-bit operating system. You will also need internet connectivity for online features and to browse online help. There are video tutorials to help you learn the software and if you need additional help, phone support for select products is available using a paid support token, which you can purchase on the website.
Best for Beginners : RoomSketcher
Why We Chose It: This software is easy to use, no previous design experience is necessary, and it’s cloud-based.
Draw or order floor plans with so many easy-to-use options
Sync saved designs across multiple devices
Cloud-based so use it anytime, anywhere
Free to get started but you pay for additional features
Not as many tools and features as some of the other software
RoomSketcher was founded in 2007 as a spinoff from a company that creates state-of-the-art 3D visualizations for the sub-sea oil industry. The same technology used to visualize enormous oil rigs below the water is used to visualize the interior of homes. The software doesn’t require any previous design knowledge or experience and is designed to be easy to use for both at-home DIYers and design professionals.
RoomSkecher is cloud-based and can be synced across multiple devices so you can access your designs anytime and from anywhere which makes it convenient to not have to be tied to your computer. It provides an online floor plan and home design solution that lets you create floor plans, furnish and decorate them, and visualize your design, as well as go through virtual room walkthroughs. There are panoramic 360° views and options to replace materials.
It’s free to set it up and take snapshots but for access to more features, it starts at $49 per year for personal use, which includes interactive life-like 3D walkthroughs and real floor plans drawn to scale. The next tier is $99 per year and includes everything from the first tier, is ideal for professionals, and also includes 3D floor plans, measurements, and more floor plan options. If you need more than 100 floor plans, custom pricing plans are available with additional features.
RoomSketcher has positive overall reviews and customers appreciate being able to get set up easily, although some users indicate the image quality could be improved.
Best Free Option : SketchUp
Why We Chose It: SketchUp is a free version of home design software that includes some cloud storage, easy-to-use interface, and can be used anywhere.
Bring your ideas to life with the free software version
Access the software from your phone or tablet
No credit card necessary to use the free software
Phone and customer support available only with paid versions
SketchUp was initially released in 2000 and is licensed by Freemium and owned by Trimble Inc. Google also assisted in its development, as did @Last Software. It originally was compatible with Windows operating systems but now works in any web browser. The software is available in multiple languages including Italian, Spanish, Korean, and more.
The free version can be accessed on your web browser with mobile viewing capability. It comes with 10GB of cloud storage and you can upload files and access user-generated and manufacturer-produced models. You can also draw anything you can imagine in 3D with the tools in the software.
The free version is a great option to see how your design ideas look without making an investment, and if you want more features, there are tiered plans for amateurs and professionals. Community customer support is included but if you want phone and/or email support, then you will need to purchase a paid version, which starts at $199 per year.
Users are impressed with the quality of renderings in the free version and how easy it is to use.
Best Mobile Option : HomeStyler
Why We Chose It: With HomeStyler, you can quickly and easily create and store blueprints and floor plans that look realistic on your mobile device.
Available on mobile devices and desktops
Realistic photos, renderings, and panorama
2D and 3D plans built using accurate measurements
4K resolution has an additional cost
Website is a bit chaotic and unorganized
HomeStyler originated from the prototype of project Dragonfly which was developed in 2009 by the company Autodesk. Currently, it’s owned by the Alibaba Group and Easyhome New Retail Group. It’s a global platform that provides online 3D interior design tools that were created with efficiency in mind. It digitally transforms your home and incorporates a huge furniture gallery with real pieces from well-known furniture makers. It was created with the interior design and real estate industries in mind.
The software is available as an app for both Android and iPhone. Customers like how simple it is to use and that there is a free version, although some users complained that it was lacking more complex design features. Tutorial videos help you get started, and you can post your designs on social media for feedback. Images and renderings are high quality and show up well on mobile devices.
You can create a home from scratch or upload photos of your existing space and the changes you want to make. You can snap a photo of your living room and then change it into a 3D view on the app. Each room can be designed by following simple steps. You can place real decor and furniture in your rooms from the built-in furniture gallery and you can build 2D and 3D floor plans with actual measurements.
There is a free basic version, but if you need more features you can upgrade to paid versions that range from $20 to $40 per month. Contact the company directly to see which plan best fits your needs.
Best for Landscape Design : Lands Design
Why We Chose It: Lands Design provides powerful design tools for landscaping and a large plant database with a lengthy free trial period.
Long free trial period
Extensive plant database
Powerful terrain modeling tools
Steep learning curve
Starts at $795 after free trial ends
Lands Design is a comprehensive virtual design software specifically for the landscaping industry. It was founded in 1995 in Spain and is owned by ASUNI, an architectural design software company. It was created for landscape professionals and is used by landscaping companies, landscape architects, city planners, urban planners, architects, civil engineers, computer graphics artists, and other professionals. Homeowners interested in landscape design often take advantage of the free trial because it includes all of the features. The software includes videos, quick guides, webinars, and tutorials.
The software is compatible with Rhino and AutoCAD, but it has a steep learning curve if you’re a novice and may take a while to learn how to use the tools and features. However, once you get a hang of it, the tools are impressive and you can do everything from draft a garden from scratch to organize your project by layers and switch between 2D and 3D. You can also utilize an extensive plant library, look at the project from different viewpoints, choose terrains, and add hardscapes such as paths and walls.
Once the 90-day free trial period ends, you’ll need to purchase either the commercial version, which starts at $795 and you can choose add-ons for $295 each, or you can purchase versions that range from $1,450 to $1,695 and offer more extensive features.
Users give the software positive reviews and especially appreciate the customizable workspace and drafting tools.
Best for Interior Designers : Home Designer Suite 2020 by Chief Architect
Why We Chose It: The company has decades of experience and created this software with enough features for interior designers and free viewing software for their clients.
Many features to choose from
Free viewer software so you can share files with clients
Create and save multiple plan views
Website isn’t laid out very well
Could be easier to find the software you’re looking for on the site
Home Designer Suite 2020 was created by Chief Architect and is their latest version of software for home design, interior design, and outdoor design. The original software was created in 1992 for the professional home design software market and was the first object-based 3D CAD system.
This software is designed specifically for design professionals including architects, builders, and designers. There is also a product line for enthusiastic DIYers and homeowners. A cool feature is that the professional product lines and the homeowner product lines are compatible and designers and their clients can share designs, ideas, and communicate back and forth.
If you want to upgrade to a different software, there are upgrade discounts available; amounts vary based on software. Other features include custom backdrops, trace renderings, plan templates, and rotate and flip plan tools.
Pricing starts at $99 per year, and products are compatible with Windows and Mac. You can contact customer support via chat on the website or over the phone. It’s best to talk to them to see which software version is right for you because there are quite a few to choose from.
Customers appreciated being able to see the final project and like that it included outdoor design as well.
All of the best home design software that we chose represents the top choices on the market with different pros and cons. Some software can only be used on a computer, others are cloud-based and mobile-friendly. Some software is free and others offer annual subscriptions with varying tiers. Features range from basic drawing capabilities to full 3D designs, floor plans, and video walkthroughs.
We recommend starting with Virtual Architect Ultimate Home with Landscaping & Decks Design 10 because it has a robust feature offering, is easy to use, and offers fast design results.
|Best Home Design Software|
|Company||Category||Why We Chose It||Standout Feature||Cost|
|Virtual Architect Ultimate Home with Landscaping & Decks Design 10||Best Overall||Plenty of features, easy to use, and fast results||Wizard-driven interface||$99.99|
|RoomSketcher||Best for Beginners||Easy to use, ideal for beginners||Sync across different devices||$49/year for personal plans; $99/year and up for professional; custom pricing available|
|SketchUp||Best Free Option||Free version so you can test it out without worrying about the price||Create your own designs and store them on the cloud||Free; $199/year for phone or email customer support|
|HomeStyler||Best Mobile Option||Easy to use on-the-go from anywhere||Furniture library from real brands||Free basic plan; $20-$40/month for advanced plans|
|Lands Design||Best for Landscape Design||Can transform your landscape virtually||90-day free trial period||$795-$1695/year; $250 add-ons available|
|Home Designer Suite 2020 by Chief Architect||Best for Interior Designers||Robust features and tools ideal for professionals||Compatible software so designers and homeowners can share ideas||Starts at $99/year|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Home Design Software?
Home design software is a type of software that has many features intended to highlight changes to your home. It’s a virtual tool that you can use in addition to or in lieu of an interior designer and/or an architect. Home design software can show you everything from how a leopard print rug would look in your living room to how your bathroom would look completely remodeled. Some software also features landscaping and exterior changes such as exterior paint colors, new doors, and flower beds.
Is Home Design Software Worth the Cost?
Home design software ranges in price from versions with limited tools that are free to expensive software for professionals that may be in the thousands of dollars, and every option in between. If you want to see how some changes would look inside or outside of your home, then home design software is a much more economical choice than hiring an architect or a designer.
It’s typically worth the cost to make sure you like the renovation, new furniture, paint color, etc. before making a change that will be costly to fix or redo.
What Is The Difference Between Using Home Design Software and Hiring an Architect or Designer?
Home design software can help you visualize remodeling projects, interior design changes, and renovations virtually. It can save you thousands of dollars and lots of time by creating the changes online without actually touching a hammer or paintbrush. However, it does lack the personal touch, experience, and knowledge that an architect or designer will bring to the table.
Home design software is a good option if you’re on a budget, indecisive, don’t have a lot of time, or just want to try out a few looks before committing to anything.
When Should You Use Home Design Software?
You should use home design software for the following:
- If you want to renovate your home but want to see what it will look like first
- To save money on hiring interior designers and architects
- To see if you like how renovations will look before actually completing them
- To show new design details to your friends and family and get their opinions
- If you’re a design professional and want to show clients how their rooms will look
- Be able to compare and contrast different design styles
We reviewed more than a dozen different home design software and narrowed them down to our top choices. We compared features, tools, ease of use, pricing, and more. We also considered company reliability and software compatibility.
All of our top picks for the best home design software represent different segments of the market including paid and free versions, software for beginners, and software catered toward design professionals.