Design software

SMC0904August 13, 2014

I am looking for software that will help me envision my kitchen layout, look, etc. I used to design the overall house floorplan but i find the 3D option difficult to navigate and there are limited options for items to put within the home. Any other software people use that are helpful? I've done a little research and Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 8.0 and Chief Architect Home Design 2015 have good reviews. Is it worth the $$? They go for about $70 - $100 but have numerousl options.


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I purchased the Chief Architect Home Design 2014. I haven't ended up using it because I didn't have the time to figure out how to use the software properly. Watching the you tube instructional videos it seems so easy to use, but in practice I found that wasn't the case (for me). It does seem like it has a lot to offer and I wish that I had the time to learn it and spend more time with it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Many people here have suggested Google Sketch-up because it is free and powerful, however the times I tried to use it I gave up in frustration after several hours with nothing to show for it. And I used to work developing 3D graphics engines for computer games.

One caution I'll offer is if someone recommends a particular piece of software, note the version number they are using, and don't assume that a higher version number necessarily means the software is improved. Years ago when I was looking, I read glowing recommendations for one software package, Broderbund 3D Home Architect (IIRC) so when I saw it available at a good price I bought it. However the one everyone recommended was version 3.0 and I bought a newer version 4.0, which crashed often, and only barely worked when it wasn't crashing.

At the time I went with Plan 3D which is a software service rather than a program you buy, largely because it had better 3D rendering (for instance it can do a fully rendered 3D walk-through in real-time) and even allowed 3D editing, and in theory since it is a software service, they can upgrade it and fix bugs and you'll have the new program the next time you use the software. However it had more than a few idiosyncrasies (like stray clicks accidentally moving an entire wall) and the last time I looked at it that had yet to fix anything.

Here are a couple of screen shots from the program that I added labels to send to the cabinet manufacturer as a starting place for my order.

I just checked and the company does still exist, and they seem to allow a free download of a version that works, but doesn't allow you to save your work, so you can at least test drive it before spending anything.

Edited to fix image links.

This post was edited by bob_cville on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 16:49

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:47PM
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I used and loved the FREE software at It is essentially the same as the one at IKEA but better. More features and options and you do not have to use IKEA products to fill in your kitchen. 3D rendering is pretty good.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:20PM
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Too bad Plan D is not supported on a Mac.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:33PM
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Try it essentially offers 20 free hours.
I'm a kitchen/bath designer & have completed beautiful virtual renderings for clients. It's very user friendly. If you purchase additional hours, you'll have access to other catalogs & Sketch Up to down load any accessories, appliances, cabinets, furniture, etc, you can truly tweak the space as you wish. Most everything including the Walls, Constraints (i.e. windows, doors, openings) & Cabinetry are easily manipulated through Attributes into any size, shape, color or texture. tutorials r on You Tube

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:12AM
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I learned and used the free version of Sketchup to design our kitchen...and I would do it again! There is a bit of a learning curve, but I wasn't able to find any other free programs that came close to the options Sketchup offered. Some things I would recommend if you decide to use Sketchup:
~Set aside 10-20 hours to learn Sketchup (Work through the "Google Sketchup Toolbar Series" of videos on Youtube)
~The most important things to pick up on are: creating Groups and Components, using Layers, locking an axis when moving objects, and the shortcuts. Learning to make groups is THE most important thing to learn- without this all lines will stick together and you will not be able to move/adjust your cabinets without messing everything up
~Everytime I changed something, I would save a new copy of my project - started w/ 1Kitchen, 2Kitchen, etc. That way if something gets messed up you can backtrack.

I could post many more details but that should be enough to get you started :-) Here is a pic of the sketchup model of our kitchen, and there are more pics in the photobucket album.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:31AM
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And here's another pic for good measure...the ability to do 360 degree rotations and views is really amazing in Sketchup

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:35AM
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In seeing the images above, I remembered that the software didn't have a good texture match for quarter-sawn oak in the color I wanted, and it didn't have a granite pattern that looked like tropical brown, but it allows you to download images from anywhere and drag them onto a surface in your 3D design.

I also remembered that getting the countertop on the cooktop side that is extra deep with an angled peninsula and a curved end was possible but it took several attempts with a few crashes over the course of several hours, and the curved end was angle-y.

This post was edited by bob_cville on Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 0:52

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:43AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm still not sure which to try as i would rather pay a little and have a program that is user friendly and still provide many options. I may give a free one a try and see if it works for me.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:33AM
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a program that is user friendly and still provide many options

You can have easy or powerful.

You can't have both. Either you get "My Little Kitchen" or spend time learning the software that can give you the flexibility you need.

Use the free on-line stuff to get an approximation.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:41AM
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