The best 3D home design software provides a simple way to design and build a virtual home on your computer.
There was a time when if you needed 3D renders of a room, house or entire building, you’d need to employ the services of an architect. Nowadays, you can do most of the work yourself, which can be a lot more fun than it sounds, especially if the software does most of the heavy lifting for you, and is easy to use.
Of course this won’t replace meticulously designed plans that are up to spec and will pass an inspection by the local authority, but they can help you get a good idea of what you can achieve with an existing dwelling, or if you’ve got the time and patience, with the creation of an entire building.
The best part of such software, is the ability to fill your space with all sorts of furniture, then explore the rooms virtually or even print photo-realistic renders of them.
We’ve picked up what we fell are the five best apps that will enable you to design quickly and accurately, with great results.
Also check out the best architecture software.
The best 3D home design software 2023 in full
Floorplanner is an online service which caters for individuals and companies, and allows you to redesign one of your rooms, an entire floor, even a whole building, and plan how your furniture will fit in your new home. It’s web-based so you access it via your favorite browser, and best of all, if your needs are modest, it won’t cost you a thing.
Aside from a free account, you could choose one of the various subscription options (the more you pay, the more features you gain access to). There’s also a credit system enabling you to get features that aren’t normally available with your chosen package. The most popular Plus plan costs around $5 /£4 / AU$8 per month for individual use.
Floorplanner is an excellent online service, designed to help you create rooms and furnish them with great accuracy. Working with it is fluid and easy, and we didn’t observe any discernible glitches. The fact there’s a free option means any amateur designer will happily use it to configure a room, but there are limitations to that option. The more you pay, the more restrictions are lifted, leading to a versatile service that can cater to the individual and busy businesses.
Read the full Floorplanner review.
HomeByMe offers a very affordable service with a myriad of options. We particularly appreciated the fact that the free plan doesn’t appear to limit your design options, and lets you work on up to three different projects. The limit on the number of HD photorealistic images (1920x1080) is somewhat compensated by offering an unlimited number of lower quality ones (640x360 pixels). However, it takes hours to render low quality images.
It’s definitely not for the instant gratification crowd. Worse still, although the results are most impressive, the free account pastes a giant watermark all across the image, rendering the effect pointless. The HD images are rendered in minutes, and don’t have that watermark.
There are various packs and plans available, with the lowest tier Premium plan costing around $22 / £20 / AU$33 per month if paid annually.
This service has a lot to offer, and if you’re not too fussed about those images (which are a pretty big selling point when they’re trying to entice you to register), you can explore and create very complex designs with the greatest of ease.
Read the full HomeByMe review.
If you’re looking for meticulous planning, with precise editing and customizing tools, aimed at providing everything you need, right down to all the material you’ll require for a specific job, Chief Architect Home Designer Suite may well be the software for you. Available for both Mac and Windows, you have in your digital hands everything you need to build the home of your dreams - virtually.
Despite its obvious detail and power, Home Designer Suite is incredibly capable, and most likely would suit most people’s needs. Chief Architect also offer you a trial version which you can check out and decide if this is the right software for you.
Home Designer Suite is very full featured, helping you create the home of your dreams, without forgetting its surrounding landscape. You have full control over pretty much everything, and despite its apparent complexity, there are many automatic tools that do a lot of the work for you, enabling you to focus on the details, to turn a design, into a home.
Read the full Chief Architect Home Designer Suite review.
Dream Plan is designed to work on Windows (from XP onwards) and Mac (10.5 and above) and comes in various flavors according to whether you need it just for personal use, or for commercial use.
NCH’s DreamPlan is an excellent piece of software, helping you create a building on multiple levels, alter it and customize it inside and out to your heart’s content. It is designed to make it easy to make modifications, and even goes out of its way to help you understand the app’s inner workings, by offering you links to specific video tutorials throughout the interface (the subtle blue circular camera button).
Dream Plan isvery affordable too, works on multiple platforms, and comes with a free trial period - definitely worth a look.
Read the full DreamPlan review.
This service is designed to work on a phone or tablet running iOS or Android. The app itself is free, and you can try out the service without paying a thing, but if you’re going to be using it regularly, you’ll have to grab yourself a subscription.
One of MagicPlan’s cool features is ‘Scan with Camera’. If you’re in the room you’ll be working on, you can use AR (augmented reality) to let the app scan and measure the room for you. It worked okay, although we suspect this would function a lot better in an unfurnished space.
MagicPlan is an original designer program. It’s a mobile app (although you can also access some features via a web browser), with easy to use features, an interesting AR option and an original way of generating estimates for work needed to be done. The monthly subscriptions could pay for themselves if designing is your business, and it also offers you two free projects for casual users to explore as well. It’s definitely worth a look.
Read the full MagicPlan review.
We've also featured the best landscape design software.
3D home design software buying advice
How to choose the best 3D home design software
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When deciding which of the best 3D home design software to download and use, first consider how detailed your house design needs to be, as well as how much you may need to edit and change. If you’re just trying to make simple edits to an existing file, you may find a free or budget software program will suit you fine.
However, if you plan to develop a 3D model home from scratch and/or plan to make a series of complicated models using advanced tools and filters, it may be better to aim for one of the higher range and more expensive 3D home modelling programs on our list.
How we test the best 3D home design software
To test for the best 3D home design software, we first set up an account with the relevant software platform, whether as a download or as an online service.
We then tested the service using a handful of files to see how the software could be used for creating a design from scratch, bearing in mind issues such as ease-of-use as a well as price.
We also assess how well the home design program delivers for its intended market - whether they're professionals or personal users.