30/05/2024

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12 Best Free Home Design Software in 2023

12 Best Free Home Design Software in 2023

How many hours have you spent saving reference pictures and creating Pinterest boards? 

We’ve all dreamt of what our future home will look like – a beach house, a tiny space overlooking the mountains, a double-story home for your family, or a house with a garden for your dogs to run free. Creating a home design helps you envision these plans and bring them to life. 

Although it can be nerve-wracking to create a blueprint, tools such as building design software help us see the big picture by providing 2D or 3D computer-aided tools that target architectural design. 

When it comes to home design, attention to detail is key. Each home has unique characteristics: lighting, furniture style, colors, storage space, and layout. Using free home design software helps design your space, from aesthetics and layout to functionality. 

Ultimately, making a space that feels right for you, that you can go back to after a long day, is the one that reflects your needs. 

Home design software is used across the architecture, engineering, real estate, and building design industries. Often, if you don’t have the right design and building experience, it can be difficult to estimate costs. A good free home design software helps you assemble the items, create color pallets, and experiment with floor plans. 

Whether you’re a homeowner who wants to renovate your house or a professional architect, choosing the right software helps digitize plans and create 3D designs. A multitude of free and paid software is available to choose from, and we’ve detailed a few below. 

Best free home design software 

Large bay windows? A garden out front? A two-story building? When you finally work on creating a home for yourself, free 3D home design software helps direct your vision. 

This software list consists of real user reviews. Vendors that offer a free trial are also considered free. To be included, the software solution must perform at least one of the following functions: 

  • Enable users to visualize their home designs in 3D
  • Offer tools that optimize the building process
  • Have collaboration features to allow multiple users to work together
  • Provide 2D or 3D computer-aided design (CAD) tools
  • Include editing features that provide ease of customization
  • Offer tools to design different types of diagrams, objects, floor plans, or landscapes 

*This data was pulled from G2 in April 2023. The product list is ranked in alphabetical order. Some reviews may have been edited for clarity.

1. AutoCAD Architecture

Category: Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

AutoCAD Architecture software has an architectural library of 8,500+ components. It uses architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) features to design realistic and spatially-aware homes, objects, and floor plans. It has an automatic generator for elevations, sections, and ceiling grids to assist in creating an accurate home design. 

What users like best: 

“It gives the massive drawing tool scope for every building design planning or drawing in 2D and 3D. It helps prepare sheets in every scale and annotative drawing manner. Also able to connect with other software for exporting into them, especially for structural and interior designers.”

AutoCAD Architecture Review, Sagar V.

What users dislike: 

“Sometimes it becomes very tedious to reapply the same command for a long time; its hardware requirement makes it difficult with a tight project deadline.”

AutoCAD Architecture Review, Sandeep J.

2. Autodesk 3ds Max

Category: 3D Rendering Software

Autodesk 3ds Max is a 3D rendering, modeling, and animation software used to create expansive designs in various industries such as architecture, civil engineering, animation, and video games. It breathes life into home designs and landscapes, offering texture and shading tools that give its users artistic control. 

What users like best:

“Autodesk 3ds max is the best software to design drawings related to engineering works in 2d and 3d. Easy to create designs and make edits to the previous designs compared to other software. The design created using 3ds max can also be analyzed using the software to check product stress limit and strength.”

Autodesk 3ds Max Review, Aman N.

What users dislike:

“The rendering can be excessive.”

Autodesk 3ds Max Review, Kunle D.

3. Cedreo

Category: Architecture Software

Cedreo is a 3D architecture software for home builders, interior designers, and remodelers. It helps create 2D and 3D blueprints for a fully furnished home, including the interiors and exteriors. It also improves the client-buying experience by handling designs in-house rather than using an external team. 

What users like best:

“Cedreo was helpful for our company when we created a sales center as a custom project for a builder. It was easy to use, understandable, and user-friendly, allowing us a wide range of design options to create the custom look he was going for. We could start with a blueprint and work on furnishing and materials in one afternoon! I was emailed several times throughout our project to check if I needed help, further training, or to answer any questions.”

Cedreo Review, Vanessa S.

What users dislike: 

“The improvements I can see would be additional furniture items and a full video walk-through.”

Cedreo Review, Todd S.

4. Chief Architect Interiors 

Category: 3D Modeling Software

A home design software specially built for interior design professionals, Chief Architect Interiors, gets down to all the nitty-gritty, such as bath and kitchen designs. Chief Architect can be used for both new construction and remodeling projects. With the power of 3D visualization and construction drawings, it offers a huge library with thousands of appliances, cabinets, furnishing, and textures that help design a realistic view of the project. 

What users like best: 

“This is a great tool to implement your design ideas to see the most effective and reasonable way to do your project from start to finish. Built-in tools make it easier to pick and drop, edit and change the layout, add your suppliers, and add cost sheets to create budgeting for your project.

3D rendering and animation tools enable you to foresee the results of your project and see how good they will look after your project is completed. It has a huge library of assets that you can import. More libraries are available to download to make your project more fun and interactive and provide material to your thought process for endless possibilities of your creative design.”

Chief Architect Interiors Review, Syed S.

What users dislike: 

“It was fairly limited in relation to drawing full plans.”

Chief Architect Interiors Review, Jarad R.

5. Floorplanner 

Category: Architecture Software

Floorplanner makes it easy to produce accurate drawings where you can drag and drop doors, windows, and furniture onto the floor plan according to what you need. The library consists of 150,000 3D items that can easily go where you want them to.

What users like best: 

“Floorplanner is a great tool for quick, easy designs with many features. Google Chrome and iPad apps are a great addition to the web tool. The drag-and-drop function in the design view is amazing, and the navigation between design features, floors, and view options is a big plus to this tool.”

Floorplanner Review, Margie A.

What users dislike: 

“You cannot customize the size/measurements of tables/chairs, etc. Nothing is scaled. I cannot tell you how many arguments and confusion we had between our operations team and planners because of these floor plans.”

Floorplanner Review, Fernanda M.

6. Homebyme

Category: Architecture Software

An online 3D interior and home design service that lets its users choose from a vast catalog of brands and generate HD images of the project. Homebyme connects state-of-the-art 3D planning to the world of architecture and design. It can help present ideas to your clients in an easy way. 

What users like best: 

“I love using the HomeByMe platform for all of my home design projects! I’ve not only been able to help numerous clients using this program, but I’ve also been able to design my property! My husband and I recently bought a new home, and we were able to completely transform our home, using the vision we gained through HomeByMe. It’s such an easy program to use, and it is so helpful in envisioning what your home can be!”

Homebyme Review, Lissa A.

What users dislike: 

“At the moment, you can’t ‘nudge’ items as you can in other software, but I’m sure this will be added.”

Homebyme Review, Philippa W.

7. Live Home 3D

Category: General-Purpose CAD Software

Live Home 3D automatically makes 3D visualizations of the home once you’ve drawn a floor plan. Internal objects may include kitchen sets, tables, chairs, windows, sofas, or staircases. One of the distinguishing features is its integration with Trimble 3D, which allows designers to download missing 3D models from online storage.

It can be used on Mac and Windows, and projects can be exported as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and BMP. Bonus: you can shoot panorama images and 3D walkthrough videos! 

What users like best: 

“It is very helpful in home design planning and can be shared in different modes. It also allows you to edit.”

Live Home 3D Review, Ashvani K.

What users dislike: 

“Desktop apps freeze sometimes. This leads to a loss of data. There are not many shortcuts. It’s a little irritating at times.”

Live Home 3D Review, Abdul S.

8. Planner 5D

Category: Other Real Estate Software

With Planner 5D, you can create a new look for your apartment, office, or any room in an easy-to-use manner. It can also be used to reorganize or efficiently decorate. You get access to constantly updated catalogs, along with multiple color, material, and decor options. 

What users like best: 

“What I like best about Planner 5D is its vast library of pre-made models, furniture, and decor items, making it easy to quickly create realistic designs. The drag-and-drop interface is intuitive, and the ability to view designs in both 2D and 3D is incredibly useful.

Additionally, Planner 5D offers an augmented reality feature, a great way to see how a design will look in real life. Overall, Planner 5D is an excellent tool for anyone looking to design and visualize their dream home.”

Planner 5D Review, KJ H.

What users dislike: 

“I had minor difficulties adjusting side lengths. It’d be great if there was a toggle button for meters or feet!”

Planner 5D Review, KJ H.

9. Roomtodo

Category: Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

Roomtodo is a cloud-based software for planning and designing your apartment, office, or building space. It lets you visualize projects and provides tools to design interiors. 

What users like best: 

“Exceptional visual aid where you can communicate with the expert and client. I have to say I am intrigued by the results since I was no expert at the time I was first using it. I then became comfortable with the usage of this after a few weeks. Once you get the hang of it, the result from the software to the project is outstanding!”

Roomtodo Review, James S.

What users dislike: 

“It can be difficult to send some platforms back and forth to clients. When I need to edit some work, it can take extra steps to send it over. This happened a few times.”

Roomtodo Review, James S.

10. RoomSketcher 

Category: Architecture Software 

An easy-to-use home design and floor planning tool, RoomSketcher is packed with great features to awaken your daydreams. Although it helps create 3D home visualizations in different industries, it’s especially useful for real estate professionals. 

What users like best: 

“I love how you can add and delete furniture, move walls, doors, etc. The 3D walk-through is a huge bonus. We are working on a house plan to build a new house, and I have made some changes to the floor plan based on what I saw as I walked through. It’s awesome, and I would highly recommend it!”

RoomSketcher Review, Lisa A.

What users dislike: 

“Roomsketcher cannot accommodate vaulted ceilings of all varieties, which makes it restrictive in this day and age. The flooring and wall finishing options need to be updated.”

RoomSketcher Review, Nicole F.

11. SketchUp

Category: General-Purpose CAD Software

SketchUp allows designers and architects to sketch, share, refine, and bring concepts into the real world. It’s a simple but powerful CAD software for home design that can make stunning rendering and presentation. 

What users like best: 

“The best feature of Sketchup is the ease with which you can create 3D models. The drawing, extruding, moving, rotating, copying, and scaling tools make 3D manipulation a breeze.”

SketchUp Review, Dane T.

What users dislike: 

“The exported JPG images are chunky and do not read very well.”

SketchUp Review, John W.

12. SmartDraw 

Category: Diagramming Software 

SmartDraw has thousands of templates to pick from. It comes with Google Workspace, Microsoft Office, and Atlassian integrations. With a high level of security, it’s a powerful software that generates diagrams from data. 

What users like best: 

“I like that it is easy to use and creates a professional-looking presentation of a floorplan, especially created by someone with no prior background in CAD drawing.”

SmartDraw Review, Andrew H.

What users dislike: 

“It can sometimes be glitchy when adding lines if they are too close to the main diagram.”

SmartDraw Review, Walter S.

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Bring your Pinterest board to life 

Curating our Pinterest boards and envisioning our future homes has become a way of life for some of us. But it’s so stressful when it’s time to make real decisions. Thank goodness it’s easier to bring these design dreams to reality with the help of the right home design software and technology. 

Want to learn more about designing homes, commercial and residential spaces, gardening, and other such landscapes? Here’s a guide on the best free landscape design software