As a licensed Architect and a consultant for BIM and design software, I am accustomed to dealing with high end expensive design software used by professional designers. I have never addressed the different inexpensive software packages on the market, but something recently attracted my attention. Autodesk has a free online home design software designed for the person that desires to design their own home improvement projects. The new software is called Autodesk Homestyler.
The software is accessible at www.homestyler.com.
I like the fact that it is free and available to anyone with internet access, with no installation of software or add-ins to make it work. You just go to website and start using it. The software seems pretty easy to use and contains a lot of information readily accessible to the user. There are over 15,000 generic and brand name items from which to select, including many actual items from specific manufacturers. For example, the homeowner can lay out their new kitchen and pick out their actual countertop finish, their flooring, the appliances, and many other items. For manufacturer specific items, the homeowner can even go to catalog information for the selected items.
The plans are developed in 3D, enabling the “designer” to see just what the project would look like from different angles. While you don’t have a lot of flexibility in the 3D viewing angles, it is easy to switch between the various views. They made walls in the forefront be transparent so that you can see through them to the fixtures and furniture that would otherwise be hidden by the wall.
After the project is designed, a materials list and plans can be printed out to be taken on a shopping trip or given to a contractor. It will even tell you the lineal feet of baseboard and the square footage of wall surface for a specific paint color.
For a free design software available on the internet, I think it is something worth checking out for do it yourself (DIY) designers. It is a bit of a fun package with which to work.
Following is an example of a house plan already in the Gallery on the website: