Before we talk about the best interior design software, as many of you know, nothing online will ever compare, for me and the Hadley Court team, with the beauty and artisanship of a professionally hand-rendered sketch. For instance, see the hand-rendered sketch below by Toronto designer, artist, and blogger, Michelle Morela.
I’ve written before about hand renderings in one of our most popular posts, here.
5 Best Interior Design Software 3D Apps
However, today, I’m going to share with you my comparisons and thoughts on 5 of the best interior design software applications or “apps”, as they are commonly referred to in the industry:
Have you ever wanted to be able to change out and see countertop options in your kitchen? In addition, have you wanted to see what various materials might look like with your furniture and textile selections? In other words, would you like to see what the countertop options and various options might look like before you make the commitment to that large purchase?
How about visualizing the design in scale? Would you like the flexibility to change the scale from meters to inches or vice versa? Do you want to see the entire area with transparent walls, to see how each piece relates to the other? In addition, how about being able to take a high-resolution snapshot to share it from any angle?
Would you want to add and share your completed designs to a community of over 2 million users? Do you want to do this for free? What about on the go on your iPad or iPhone in a native app and then share it on your social media channels? Try Autodesk’s Homestyler for Ipad or iPhone.
Alternatively, use Autodesk HomeStyler on your desktop computer.
This is a high-resolution snapshot taken from a 3D rendering created on Autodesk’s Homestyler free 3D interior design app for Ipad or Iphone.
Autodesk is partnering with some of our industry’s most well-known brands so you can upload these products into your designs. This helps make it one of the best interior design software tools out there. Here are a few brands from their website.
Pros of Autodesk
- It’s free!
- Share designs on social media
- Easy access to catalog of real furniture & construction pieces
Cons of Autodesk
- Must be online to use
- Takes time to learn how to navigate
Have you ever wanted to be able to create a floor plan *to scale*, layer in wall color, all interior details, including windows, trim, lighting aspects, etc. and then, with a click, see it pop up in 3D and then take a 360 degree tour of it from any angle and also be able to upload your own room into it..and do the same thing AND try out real pieces from real manufacturers and turn then to any angle and have all the details to make it easy for you to shop offline and save time? Try 3Dream.net
Have a look at these great youtube tutorials on how to use 3Dream.net
These snapshots were taken from the 3Dream.net tutorial on Youtube.
Pros of 3Dream.net
- It’s free!
- Can email plans & renderings
- Large inventory of 3D models & materials
Cons of 3Dream.net
- Online only
- May experience slowdowns
Have you ever wanted to insert various windows into your designs and then try out different window treatment options? The app that specializes in this and that has partnered with window treatment expert, Jackie Von Tobel? Minutes Matter.
Kim Darden Shaver interviewed Jackie and her partner in Soft Design Labs, trend expert Deb Barrett, in a previous post on window treatment trends, here.
Pros of Minutes Matter
- Transfer your own photos
- Can drop & drag images onto your photo
- Insert furniture, color & fabric to drawings
Cons of Minutes Matter
- Have to create 3D models separately
Do you love to build things from the ground up? If you need an extremely robust tool, Sketch Up’s software empowers you to program in every single detail. In addition, Sketch Up is widely used by architects, interior designers, kitchen and bath designers and engineers the world over.
The screenshot above and below were created using Sketch Up.
Pros of SketchUp
- 3D Visualization
- Builds models fast
Cons of SketchUp
- Learning curve
- Needs more realistic photo options
Interior Design for iPad
I’ve left my favorite for last. Enter Interior Design for iPad. In my opinion, it’s the best interior design software available.
Have you ever wanted to create a rough rendering on the fly? Do you want to be able to visualize the floor plan, see your plan in 3D and be able to walk through each room? Enter Interior Design for iPad.
You can use the app to lay out your floor dimensions as per the screenshot below.
After creating your 3D model you can even do a 360 virtual walk through of the room as per the screenshot below.
In conclusion, read about why I think I have finally found something I can use for clients that won’t require a PhD in AUTOCAD to understand! Above all, Interior Design for iPad saves me so much time that its shortcomings are ones that I can overlook.
Pros For Interior Design for Ipad
- It’s free!
- Easy to use
- 3D models
Cons for Interior Design for Ipad
- Limited inventory
- Resizing items is confusing
In conclusion, all of the tools mentioned have a free limited edition or trial version you can sign up for to test which app is right for you.
What’s great about these tools is that they all come with extensive video and learning tutorial backups on YouTube or Vimeo.
Here are the introductory video tutorial links for each of these software apps if you’d like to watch them:
After that, each tool has its own site and video walk-throughs. Similarly, many of them have communities of people already using them, willing to help you learn what you need to know.
As you already know, nothing compares with the services of a professional interior designer. In other words, interior designers are not only visual artists and creatives but have extensive resource knowledge, construction knowledge, sourcing knowledge, performance knowledge and project management knowledge. Above all, this combination of skills is invaluable to you and your project.
I wrote here, about how and why working with a professional interior designer saves you so much money and time.
The software apps I’ve compared for you today, however, are excellent tools to help the communication process between you, your designer, architect, and their sub-contractors flow smoothly and seamlessly.
I hope this has been helpful to you and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think is the best interior design software in the comments section below!