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Design Your Own Home Architecture: List of 10 Free/Cheap 3D Home Design Programs

Thinking about a design for your new home and looking for software to visualise your design ideas? For this article, we take a look at 10 of the best programs for budding residential architects to design their own home. All of the 3D home design programs are either free or under $100. We've done the research for you, tabulated the features, and given them a rating based on feature-set and ease-of-use.

For those of you that decide to download, install and attempt a design for their new home, we encourage you to ask for design tips in the comments area below the article. Bleuscape design is happy to provide inspiration for home design ideas and guidance on home design. But please don’t ask for help on installing software or technical questions on using the software. These types of questions are best answered at the support pages of the 3D home design vendor's website.

Of the 10 packages tested, our favourites were My Virtual Home and Turbo Floor Plan 3d. My Virtual Home scored the highest for a few reasons. The targeted audience of this article is Australian and we're an Australian firm. Being able to furnish, decorate and design gardens with locally available products and flora is a tremendous advantage over the competition - for our intended audience.

The second reason My Virtual Home is a clear winner over the competition is due to the developers behind the software. The developers have experience in game development and this experience translates into a fun and intuitive interface and a degree of model interactivity not seen in any other package.

To score each program, we made an excel sheet of all the features found in the packages and checked off the features as included and easy to use. For features, there was a top possible score of 8/10. We then allocated the last two points to how applicable designs could be applied to Australian architecture, building materials/methods, home decoration and how easy/fun the package was to use and produce a viable design.

To expedite the test, time is such a scarce commodity, we attempted to reproduce an existing residential house design, Bleuscape's Crossroads House.

The List of 10 3D Home Design Programs

*Cost: in currency of software vendor's website (mostly USD)

Name/LinkDesign Tasks*CostNotes/LimitationsScore
My Virtual Home
My Virtual Home
  • 2D/3D Design
  • Plan export
  • Interior Design
  • Walk-Throughs
Free
  • Australia-centric
  • Intuitive interface
  • Very interactive models: doors, lights etc.
  • Models of commercially available products
  • Integrates contact details for product/service suppliers
9.5/10

Home Design 3D
3D home design

  • 2D/3D Plans
  • Indoor Decoration
  • Outdoor Landscaping
Free / $45
  • Maximum of 5 rooms/2 floors/1 building
  • Limited object database
  • Project backup/load function not available
  • Maximum of 1 roof
7/10

Home Styler
autodesk homestyler

  • 3D Floor Planner
  • Interior Decoration
Free
  • Integrates advertising for product/service suppliers
7/10
Architect 3D Silver
Architect 3D Silver
  • 3D Home Design
  • Indoor Decoration
  • Outdoor Landscaping
  • Design Walk-Throughs
$60
  • Limited number of objects/fixtures to decorate
  • Will need Ultimate version to complete a design
6/10
DreamPlan Home Design
DreamPlan  Home Design
  • 2D/3D Plans
  • Indoor Decoration
  • Outdoor Landscaping
Free
  • Extremely basic
  • Renderings are simplistic
  • Limited objects
  • Lack of alignment/measurement tools
7/10
TurboFloorPlan 3D
TurboFloorPlan 3D
  • 2D/3D Design
  • 2D/3D plans
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Walk-Throughs
Free Trial / $99
  • Hard to fault this package. Good all-rounder.
  • Trial limits project import/export/save
  • Expires after evaluation period.
8.5/10
Punch! Home & Landscape Design
Punch!  Home & Landscape Design
  • 2D/3D Design
  • 2D/3D plans
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Walk-Throughs
$46
  • Leans more towards landscape design
8/10
Home Sweet 3D
Home Sweet 3D
  • 3D Floor Plan Design
  • Interior Design
  • Walk-Throughs
Free
  • Completely free
  • Not for external house design
  • 2D floor plan converts to 3D walls and you decorate
  • Online version using your browser
7/10
Sketchup Make
Sketchup Make
  • 3D Design
  • Export to 2D plans
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Walk-Throughs
Free
  • High learning curve. Try one of the easier, free programs first.
  • Good library of models for decor
8/10
Home Designer Suite
Home Designer Suite
  • 2D/3D Design
  • Plan export
  • Interior Design
  • Walk-Throughs
$99
  • Similar to My Virtual Home but American (USA product/service suppliers)
  • Most tools for generating workable plans / cost lists only included in Professional version.
  • Some limitations for landscape design.
8/10

 

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