Best interior design software (January 2023)

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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
People using drawing software on a tablet and laptop.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best interior design software helps you craft your ideal home - whether you’re in the living room, in the office, or on the go. 

One of the biggest challenges for interior designers (both enthusiasts and professionals), is accurately recreating all those stunning ideas in a computer program. 

Graphic design software and photo editors can feel a bit limiting for home design. The best architecture software and the best landscape design software are ideal for crafting an attractive exterior. But room planner apps are tailor-made for bringing those ideas to life.

The very best home interior design software makes it feel really simple plucking your thoughts and placing them onto the screen. They come packed with asset libraries, letting you fill spaces with unique stylings and furniture to be explored virtually or printed in photorealistic renders. 

We’ve tested the best interior design software and apps so you can create made-to-measure mock-ups of rooms, houses, and entire buildings. 

The best interior design software of 2023

Website screenshot of Floorplanner Interior Design Software

(Image credit: Floorplanner)
The best interior design tool overall

Specifications

Pricing model: Free, Subscription
Operating system: Browser

Reasons to buy

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Works great
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Easy to use
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Intuitive
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Numerous customization options

Reasons to avoid

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Some limitations with the free account

Floorplanner is an online interior design app for individuals and companies, letting you redesign everything from a single room to an entire floor, or even a whole building. You can also plan out how your furniture will fit in your new home. 

This is a web-based home interior design tool, so you can achieve dazzling designs through the browser. There's also online collaboration for editing and presenting projects in the cloud.

In our hands-on review, we felt the best home design software "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 many amateur designer will happily use it to configure a room, but there are limitations to that option."

Working in Floorplanner is fluid and simple - allowing you to create and furnish rooms with real accuracy. Best of all, if your needs are modest, using the program is free. 

That makes it ideal for amateur designers or those learning the art of interior design. If you find the free account too limiting, there are several subscription options available to you. Business pricing starts at $59 a month for teams. Individual pricing starts at $5. 

You’ll also find a credit system, similar to ones found in subscription services like Audible. As you earn credits, you can unlock extra features not typically associated with your plan.

Read our full Floorplanner review.

Website screenshot of Chief Architect Home Designer Suite

(Image credit: Chief Architect)
The best interior design software for serious enthusiasts

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription, Perpetual license
Operating system: Windows, Mac

Reasons to buy

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Easy to learn 
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Multi-platform
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Limitless possibilities

Reasons to avoid

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Can appear daunting at first
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3D views don’t always respond as expected

Home Designer Suite delivers professional-style interior design tools - which makes it powerful but also increases the learning curve. It’s not too steep as to be unnavigable, although it might overwhelm first-timers. Stick with it.

If you’re looking for meticulous planning, precise editing and customizing tools, and everything else, right down to the material required for specific jobs, this is the best interior design software for you. 

We praised the home design software in our review for its "highly detailed customisation options while at the same time, automating many processes to ease the creation process. It’s a great balance that help you create detailed environments quickly and easily."

The interior design program is very full featured. You have full control over pretty much everything, including landscaping your dream garden. 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 house.

Available for both Mac and Windows, you have in your digital hands everything you need to build the home of your dreams - virtually.

Read our full Home Designer Suite review.

Website screenshot of NCH Software DreamPlan

(Image credit: NCH Software)
The best interior design program for home modification

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription, Perpetual license
Operating system: Windows, Mac

Reasons to buy

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Easy to use
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Multi-platform
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Work on multiple levels
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Can easily import 3D objects

Reasons to avoid

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Not all objects installed initially

DreamPlan is the best home design software if you want powerful tools and simplicity of use. 

The interior design program, out for Windows and Mac, helps you create buildings on multiple levels, furnish them with a library of 3D models, and customize homes inside and out. Yes, that even includes landscape design. It’s built to let you easily make modifications and alterations.

But, in our review, what we really liked about one of the best home design software tools is that it's "designed to make it easy to make modifications, and even goes out of its way to help you understand the app’s inner workings."

Trace Mode will be especially handy for those with existing floorplans. These can be imported into the home design software and turned into a 3D model.   

DreamPlan features commercial and home licensing options - priced at $50 and $40 respectively, but check for regular discounts. So, it has a powerful enough toolset to use on a professional basis. But it’s intuitive enough for beginners. 

For those just starting out with the best interior design software, the built-in video tutorials help you understand the inner workings of the app - just look for the subtle blue camera icon. 

Read our full DreamPlan review.

Website screenshot of HomeByMe 3D design software

(Image credit: HomeByMe)
The best interior design app when you're on-the-go

Specifications

Pricing model: Free, Subscription
Operating system: Browser, Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

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Simple to use
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Huge customisation
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Can design an entire house for free

Reasons to avoid

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3D pan can make some objects temporarily disappear
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Long rendering times for low res photorealistic images 

HomeByMe is one of the best interior design apps for when the ideas are racing. It’s browser-based - even mobile browsers are supported - and has Android and iOS apps, so you can map out thoughts for your home whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.

Since the interior design tool is cloud-only, you’ll need to stay connected to use it. During our time with the home design software, we were impressed that "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." 

However, we were less impressed with the time it took to render low-res images. Worse, we found "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."  

The platform offers three packages: free, one-time purchase, and monthly subscription. It’s a good way to see which works for you, as the free plan doesn’t appear to limit your design options, and lets you work on up to five projects. 

The limit on the number of HD photorealistic images (1920x1080px) is somewhat compensated by offering an unlimited number of lower quality ones (640x360px). You can also place real-world, branded products in your rooms for extra realism. 

HomeByMe has a lot to offer. If you’re not too fussed about those images, you can explore and create very complex designs with ease.

Read our full HomeByMe review.

MagicPlan Review Listing

(Image credit: MagicPlan)
The best home and interior design app for pros

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Operating system: Browser, Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

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Easy to use
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Free mobile app
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Two free projects
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Professional Report and Estimate tools

Reasons to avoid

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AR appears to struggle when furniture is in the way

MagicPlan is one of the best interior software kits for busy creatives and contractors. 

When we reviewed the home design app, we liked its "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 if your business, and it also offers you two free projects for casual users to explore as well." 

Like HomeByMe, it lets you build designs from your browser, or within the Android and iOS apps. The free solution lets you design two projects. A monthly subscription is needed to unlock MagicPlan’s full capabilities.

You’ll find three tools in one: Sketch, Report, and Estimate. Essentially, tiered subscription packages that offer additional features. 

Sketch lets you create interior designs - and, for home users, that’s likely enough. Professional designers will appreciate the inclusion of reporting and estimating tools. Enterprise licensing is also available. 

One of the best interior design software tools here is the AR-enabled ‘Scan with Camera’. This lets you scan and measure the room you’re in - although we suspect this augmented reality feature would function a lot better in an unfurnished space. 

Read our full MagicPlan review.


Best interior design software: Buying advice

How to choose the best interior design software for you

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

When selecting which interior design software is best for you, start by assessing your needs. If you’re designing the layout and decor of your own home, free interior design apps and browser-based programs will likely meet all your needs.

Professional interior designers and more demanding enthusiasts will appreciate the many advanced features offered by programs like MagicPlan and Chief Architect. Time and cost-savings mean the software will pay for itself. However, the easy user interface of both make them a good choice for beginners looking to develop their skills. 

Time is a considerable factor. Even some of the best interior design software takes a long time to render concepts, especially when using photorealistic images. It’s a natural price to pay for high-resolution 3D designs. For some, speed may trump quality.

Check the price (and pricing model), too. Some options, like HomeByMe, offer free, paid-for, and subscription versions of its home design software. Others offer only one pricing model, so choose the one that best suits your creative budget.

What is interior design software?

Home interior design software helps you visualize a space, allowing you to experiment with decor, design, furniture, and more. It's also an excellent tool for explaining design concepts and sharing your ideas with others.

The best interior design software packages can now create a model of your space simply by scanning the room with a camera. 

While there are professional home interior design programs, most room planner apps won't let you professionally draw up the sort of plans that will pass a local authority inspection. Think of them as a sort of home-based mock-up software - blank canvases to sketch out ideas, share thoughts and collaborate online, or experiment with new forms and designs.  

How we test the best interior design software

When testing the best interior design software, we’re looking to see how easy the experience is, how powerful the tools are, and how well the software performs. Designing in 3D can often take its toll on computers, after all. 

Asset library sizes are a factor — interior design tools should make your creative ideas a reality, not just a loose approximation. We’re also reviewing these design apps based on use. Unlike consumer software, professional-grade tools offer more advanced features, but might also have steeper learning curves and more expensive pricing models. 

Essentially, when we test the very best interior design software for ourselves, we expect to see it work for its intended audience — whether they're professional interior designers or creative enthusiasts. 

Steve has been writing about technology since 2003. Starting with Digital Creative Arts, he's since added his tech expertise at titles such as iCreate, MacFormat, MacWorld, MacLife, and TechRadar. His focus is on the creative arts, like website builders, image manipulation, and filmmaking software, but he hasn’t shied away from more business-oriented software either. He uses many of the apps he writes about in his personal and professional life. Steve loves how computers have enabled everyone to delve into creative possibilities, and is always delighted to share his knowledge, expertise, and experience with readers.