Get ready to fall in love with new home and/or office designs this Autumn! Whether you’ve just moved into a new place, are remodeling an office or bedroom, or are just itching to switch things up in your decor, we’ve found five ways to make your vision a digital reality. Read on for our five favorite interior design software programs, all of which are free for use! Play with your office and room design for the perfect look without any heavy lifting requirements. Plus, it’s the perfect way to plan for your new Vitrazza Glass Chair Mat.
MagicPlan (iOS & Android)
Best for: Commercial Building Design
The MagicPlan app is an app ideal for those wanting to outline general concepts for rooms like home offices or commercial real estate. The free version of the program allows users to create two projects containing up to fifty floors each and offers a “sample” project to help acclimate a new user to the software design.
This software features a simple interface that’s highly organized and easy to navigate. It contains both a summary and measurement details and includes space for uploaded photos and notes. While the app offers a smaller object library compared to other programs, the simpler options may be preferable to users who don’t have specific objects chosen for their room, or those who may become overwhelmed with decision fatigue.
Additional features of this software include:
- Room measuring with phone camera
- Room scanning when connected with a Bluetooth Laser
- Create custom project costs and associated forms
- Fire and Safety objects (e.g., evacuation signage, etc.)
Room Planner (iOS & Android)
Best For: Retailer-Specific Objects
Room Planner is another mobile-first app that is also available on desktop for Mac and Windows. The free version of this app allows users to create up to ten free designs (rooms). This app is unique in that it focuses a large portion of its features on a social media style platform for user interaction and design inspiration. This optional platform is the only type of required “profile” creation, so users can select their level of engagement, allowing for a customized experience.
This app boasts a large portfolio of design items, many of which are imported from popular retailers like IKEA and Amazon, allowing for a delightful level of personalization and design planning.
This app has many additional features, including cost estimation, room scanning with the phone camera, creation of shopping lists directly from design items, and—our personal favorite—the ability to place a cat within the room.
Best For: Beginners
We love HomebyMe for its simplistic, user-friendly design. Arguably one of the most “gamified” versions of the five programs listed, this one was the favorite for novice users.
The free version of this site offers users three free projects, each of which allow for the creation of multiple floors of a building, making it ideal for whole-home design concepting.
This program has a few unique features that made it particularly enjoyable, first and foremost being the immersive first-person 3D rendering. Once a room is designed, the user may pick any point within the room to view it (think: Google street view). Another unique feature is the incorporation of major paint brands like Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, allowing for realistic optics in ever-tricky wall colors.
Like other programs, this site allows for the curation of “collections” with branded design items, offering a robust collection of name brand furniture. Unique to the site though is the option of using a sister app, “MakebyMe,” which allows the user to create custom furniture to tie into the design of the room.
Best for: Jumping Right In!
Floorplanner has a straightforward setup that lets users dive right into project creation after a brief account creation. The free version of the software allows the user to create unlimited projects but caps each one at one floor. Additionally, the “upgrade” for this version uses credits to piecemeal upgrades, so you can customize the “pro” features you pay for.
Additionally, this software offers similar creation tools as other design programs but stands apart with the following unique features:
- Upload “backdrop” images for designs
- Render images (in 2D or 3D) in either color, black and white, or high-resolution
- Drag-and-drop interface for room creation/building
- Offers an extensive collection of “materials” for all aspects of the space (e.g., grass, brick, ivy, etc. just for outdoor options!)
Try the demo mode before creating a login to test the chops of this program, we found it easy to use with slightly more technical capabilities than some of the other options.
Best for: Drawing from Scratch
Sketchup ideal app for our more tenured designers who want a 100% customized digital design experience. This software allows the user to create every aspect of their modeling from scratch, making it particularly useful for those concepting projects down to the most finite details (e.g., building a custom dresser within a stenciled house). A 3D “Warehouse” allows supplemental, pre-made items which the user must download to use within a design, but unlike other programs, this one does not use brand names for specific items.)
This software is more reminiscent of design programs like Visio, where layers and toggles can be used for a project with lots of details and concepting. We recommend using this program over the others when details and specificity are vital and there is a specific goal as opposed to a loose idea.
Learn more about the benefits of a Vitrazza Glass Chair Mat.
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