Whether you’re shopping for a signature piece of new furniture to add to a room you love, or are starting from scratch, it can be exciting to imagine how the room will come together. But, unless you’re a professional interior designer, it can be tricky to accurately visualize how the finished room will look. Will it live up to your expectations?
Luckily, there are five great room layout apps that can show you how your furniture will fit, using fun 2D and 3D graphics and drag-and-drop functionality.
These are our top five picks for 2D and 3D interior design software — all user-friendly, all free to use on your desktop computer or tablet.
Baer’s Furniture has a handy, interactive room planning software tool that will help you make a quick blueprint of the room you’re buying furniture for, complete with visualizations for windows, French doors, fireplaces, even plants.
Just plug in the correct dimensions of the room and set up your room’s structural features. You can use illustrated icons to represent your furniture or any product on Baers.com. As you shop, add your furniture picks from any product page to your list, then visit the Room Planner to drag and drop items and arrange — and rearrange — the layout of your room until you love it. You can save your design and come back to it, share it with family and friends, or print it to show in-store sales associates.
Have you heard of SketchUp Pro, the pricey 3D design software for architecture, construction, engineering and commercial interior design professionals? Well, you don’t have to fork over $10+/month to visualize your room.
SketchUp Free gives beginners a comprehensive tool with a super-simple interface you can use to draw 3D models of a room in your browser. When you’re finished, move the camera around your model to virtually walk around the space you design!
3. Planner 5D
Do you have a budding career in interior design, or are you furnishing an entire home for the first time? Planner 5D is a whole-home design tool with a built-in community.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, Planner 5D provides room templates you can edit to create a quick 2D floorplan on your phone or iPad. Set the floor dimensions, materials, and colors, then add furniture and accents. Switch to 3D to add windows and doors.
The selection of furniture available for free is pretty basic, but you can upgrade for as little as $5/month to access their full catalog of over 4k items. When you’re done planning your room, you can save a snapshot or upgrade to save a full rendering to create a great looking photorealistic print you can reference while you’re shopping.
4. Home By Me
The best thing about this web-based application’s intuitive interface is the freedom it offers to explore and experiment with thousands of colors, textures, and materials. Unlike Planner 5D, you can furnish and decorate your rooms with actual products from Home By Me’s extensive catalog of retail brands without paying extra.
You can even start with the décor and hit “Summary” and the software will produce a floor plan with all your furniture and appliances in the right places!
Perhaps the most beginner-friendly room layout software (its mission is “to let everyone in the world make better use of their space”), this web-based app doesn’t require a steep learning curve to design your space in 2D.
Once the floorplan is completed, you can switch the view and decorate the space in 3D mode. You can even view your room from different angles using different “cameras” with customizable settings.
Ready to get started? Test-drive a couple of these popular room layout apps and see which one is a fit for you!