Create your dream home with these apps & gadgets

There's a home design program for every need and budget.

Some suites — for example, Punch Home & Landscape Design Professional include everything you need in the one package.

You can create a digital version of your home (or your dream home) from scratch using the floor plan creation tools or by scanning in your house plans.

All the tools you need to recreate and then redesign your home, garden and outdoor area are included.

Home and Landscape Design pro box shot

BeLight Live Interior 3D

Price: $99

If you want to be more selective, there's software that tackles just interior design, such as the BeLight Live Interior 3D, and even those that will concentrate only on kitchen or bathroom design.

BeLight box shot

TurboFloorPlan 3D

Price: $88

You'll also find programs with Australian versions like TurboFloorPlan 3D.

A local version is important if you'd like the home you design to be as close as possible to your existing home.

You can choose from Australian building materials (such as bricks and tiles) and internal fittings that are commonly found in Australia. You can even use native plants in your virtual garden.

TurboFloorPlan 3D box shot



Floorplanner is a great online solution for creating a virtual model of your home.

It only takes a few steps to create a floor plan of your home and then you can furnish and decorate it as you please with the site's huge library of objects — work out which wall colour works best with your lounge suite or try fitting a double bed into the kids' bedroom before you make any real-world decisions.

If you're only planning to use it for one house design, you can sign up for the free version. If you want 3D rendering or want to create multiple projects per year, prices start at US$14.95 per year.

Floorplanner software screenshot



The 'Homes' section of the ninemsn web site is a treasure trove of pictorial loveliness and great inspiration for budding home designers.

As well as beautiful picture galleries, you'll find meatier articles about choosing objects for around your home, for example, and a buyer's guide to choosing the right lighting or the right bedroom suite.

There's also a DIY section devoted to all aspects of home improvement, from craft ideas to total home renovation. You'll find tips and informative articles with topics such as 'Budgeting for a bathroom makeover'.

Some articles will point you to an affiliated magazine such as Australian House & Garden for more information, but the site definitely stands on its own merits.

Screenshot of Home website

Your Home


The Your Home web site has a wealth of independent info on designing and renovating your home.

The site is a Commonwealth government project written in collaboration with the building and design industry.

There are tips, technical guides and tools to encourage the building of homes that are comfortable, healthy and more environmentally sustainable.

The 'Renovation Guide' section will take you through the process of renovating your home step by step, with tips, how-to guides and even briefing templates for ideas on what you need to discuss with your architects, designers and builders.

The 'Technical Manual' is written by designers and builders and contains over 60 individual fact sheets full of solutions for designing and renovating your home.

Screenshot of Home website

Bosch 80cm Digital Detector

Price: $88
From: Bunnings

Wait! Before you drill that hole or hammer in that nail, do you actually know what's behind the gyprock?

This handy stud finder not only detects wooden studs in a wall, but also metal and most importantly, live wires.

It automatically calibrates itself, so it's always ready to go, and a simple LED light system tells you what it's detected.