Imagine spending hours shoving around heavy and awkward furniture just to find out the perfect floor plan for your room or house. Now imagine doing it all quickly and easily without all the hassle. Which would you prefer?
Like so many things nowadays, floor planning software makes our lives easier by letting us visualize spaces in a computer before we ever have to do the heavy lifting. You can quickly try out different layouts for a remodel or staging, as well as see how furniture will work in a space before you buy it. These programs can come in handy in a pinch for all sorts of real estate professionals. Let’s explore more about floor plan software and find one that might be right for you.
Why use software to create floor plans?
Back in the day, you may have just done floor planning with a piece of paper and a pencil and you still could do that, but there are some major benefits of using a software solution for floor planning.
For one, computers can be a lot more accurate with their sizes and spacing. This can come in handy when you are working with tight spaces where every inch counts. You can also easily create and modify spaces so you won't be furiously erasing mistakes. And, you could even design an entire house without having to handle a bunch of loose sheets.
Floor plan software can also save you money by helping you plan exactly what you want for furniture and avoiding unnecessary purchases or furniture that doesn't end up fitting in your space. Floor plan software can also let you work in three dimensions, which allows you to plan not only where things will sit on the floor, but how the vertical aspect of your room will look as well. Not only does this make your plans more accurate, but it also allows you to design your room in a much more interesting and versatile manner.
Floor plan software is also much more visually appealing than simple pencil and paper. Though the room is still only imaginary, some people benefit a lot by having some visuals that they can use to really know how things are going to look beyond an abstract drawing on paper.
These programs can be useful for real estate agents, home builders, professional floor plan designers or interior designers, house plan makers, or just anyone who wants to imagine some new uses for their spaces.
Just like most other types of software today, there is no shortage of different options for floor plan software. Each one will do similar basic tasks, though some will include extra features that may make them stand out. There are also differences such as what operating system you plan to use, and how much you want to invest into the software. Let's look at some of the best floor plan services available in no particular order, and see which one works best for you.
Price: Free basic plan, starting at $49 USD a year for premium features
Floorplanner is a popular floor plan software that allows users to easily create a detailed floor plan in 2D and 3D, as well as produce high-quality images of the designed rooms. The program also includes many pre-made objects and options for cloud storage. One benefit of Floorplanner is the flexible payment system that the program uses. For beginner users, the software is free to use, but users can purchase additional credits as they are needed to unlock more advanced features on a per-project basis. Payment plans provide users with options for recurring credits each month and start at just $49 USD per year. Based on this payment system, Floorplanner is great for someone who is just dabbling in floor planning and only needs basic features, but with the option to upgrade on the fly without a huge investment.
Platform: Windows, macOS, Web, Mobile
Price: Free to start, $9.999 a month for premium features
Planner5D is another piece of accessible software aimed at non-professional users. The app offers the ability to easily create your dream home in 2D and 3D, as well as to create high-quality 3D renders. The program features an easy-to-use user interface, a collection of over 5,000 pre-made objects which can be customized, and a wide community of active users. With its mobile apps, you can even access your interactive floor plans on the go. The website offers users to start for free but does not list its premium prices. With a bit of a look around their app store page, I found a premium account can cost about $9.99 monthly, and $34.99 for unlimited full catalogue access. Planner5D is another great choice for those just getting started out and looking for something basic.
Platform: Web, Mobile
Price: $29 a month
Homebyme is another floor plan software that offers a lot of features to its users. Homebyme seems to target beginner users more than anything, offering a mostly free online and mobile app with prefabricated assets (including products from real brands), and a helpful online community of users. Despite its accessible user interface and friendly design, the program creates high-quality and detailed floor plans with ease and its renders look like something out of a magazine or showroom. Users can get 5 projects and 3 exported images with a free sign-up, while a one-time purchase pack adds more output options. Finally, a subscription plan starts at $29 USD a month and offers you much less limited capabilities.
Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Web App
Sweet Home 3D is one of the many wonderful pieces of software offered free and open source. While these types of programs tend not to be the most glamourous, they offer high-quality tools made by passionate teams for an unbeatable price. Despite being a totally free floor plan software, Sweet Home 3D offers all the features you would expect from any other floor plan software like detailed architectural tools, 2D and 3D modes, a library of prefabricated 3D models to quickly get you started. And, the program includes a fully featured web version for supported browsers meaning you can start to create detailed home plans right away with no payment or signup required.
Platform: Web, Windows, macOS
Price: Free, or $119 yearly subscription
Sketchup is a powerful suite of 3D graphics tools that provides a lot of functionality as floor planning software. Sketchup offers both a free version and a premium version starting at $119 USD a year. The software includes browser-based modelling software, a mobile viewer, cloud storage, and access to pre-built model libraries. Sketchup has been a popular software for a while, so it has a lot of online tutorials and resources available. However, as a 3D modelling software, it will probably have a lot of features that you may not need if you want a simple floor plan creator. This program is great however for someone who wants to learn more about modelling their own furniture in detail, or really get into the nitty-gritty of architectural visualization.
Platform: Windows, macOS, Mobile
Price: $2,315 yearly
AutoCAD Architecture comes from Autodesk, the makers of famous industry-level software for CAD, design, and engineering software. Unsurprisingly based on that, this is a very high-level software with advanced features. The target audience for this product will likely be architects or property developers who want high-quality and accurate visualizations of spaces. In fact, the program is more than just a floor planner and can be used to actually design entire buildings with their architectural drawing tool. With such pro features, comes a pro price tag. AutoCAD architecture has a free 30-day trial, but after that, it will cost you $2,315 a year. This package includes the whole suite of AutoCAD software, so this application would be most recommended to high-level industry agencies and designers who require professional industry-grade tools.
The bottom line
If you are looking to choose floor plan software, you certainly have a lot of options. Luckily, most are generous and provide a free version or a free trial. I would recommend giving one or two a shot, and finding what works best for you.
There is very well more floor plan software than what we listed here. Don't see your favourite listed? Let us know in the comments what floor plan software you use!