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To architecturally remodel any house without proper planning is a careless, if not outright foolishm, decision. If you won’t prepare for future house remodeling, you may find yourself in some unpleasant situations. The most common example is when you buy too little or too much resources.
There are quite a few ways to see how your house would look after remodeling. The most common one is to draw the architectural plans yourself. Slow, time-consuming and error-prone, this way is still often used thanks to a possibility to do everything yourself without need to contact third-party designer. However, the drawbacks usually outweigh any benefits this option might have.
Another option is to contract an architecture professional to make designs and model the house before committing to remodeling or reconstruction. This is by far the easiest way to plan the future house remodeling, but at the same time, the most expensive one. The single visit will cost you at least a few hundred dollars, and you’ll most probably need at least several visits before you’ll be ready to commit into remodeling fully.
Yet another option is to use a special piece of software made specially for making realistic layouts of virtually any building. Although very expensive, this will allow you to save on professionals, doing everything on your own instead. Plus, if you’ll be successful, you might start doing remodeling commercially. This is a very lucrative option, especially if you’re a DIY specialist and if you already make your living by doing similar works. Your profits will soar, and you might be able to recoup the license costs within a small timespan.
Let’s review some of the most popular home remodeling applications. All of them offer a free feature-limited version or a time-limited trial. You’ll surely find the software that would fit you best. So, without further ado, let’s go on straight to reviewing.
1. SoftPlan Architectural Design Software
SoftPlan is the most professional piece of software we’re reviewing here. It offers the most compared to any other software we’ll take a look here. However, it also is the most expensive piece of software in this review. The basic version will cost you around $2500, and if you’ll need some advanced features, be ready to pay up to $3500.
SoftPlan home design software offers a huge set of features. Its most prominent feature is the ease of use. The developer claims that SoftPlan home design software has the shortest learning curve in its industry. Compared to other CAD software, SoftPlan is tailored for home design and remodeling straight out of the box. It gets rid of most intermediary steps prevalent in other applications; for example, if you need to draw a wall, you can do it instantly instead of drawing a line and later converting it into a 3D object. All drawings can be easuly customized with editable objects; in fact, you can switch to SoftPlan mid-project without compromising your current workload.
Another useful addition of SoftPlan is its proprietary “BIM” model. It is a highly-detailed digital model that allows you to automatically create floor plans, elevations, roof and electrical plans, detailed drawings and other objects with a single click. It also features a pretty advanced graphic engine, fully utilizing advanced soft shadows, reflections, sun rays and photoralistic graphics.
SoftPlan offers two useful additions to the base software suite. The first one is SoftList. It allows you to calculate the exact amount of resources you’ll need to build the house. The second one is reView – an analogue of Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google’s Google Drive of some sort. It is more important for the professionals, allowing them to better communicate and cooperate with the customers and tradesmen.
Now that we’ve talked about the benefits, it’s time to mention the disadvantages. SoftPlan is EXTREMELY expensive and you should only buy it if you offer your services to other customers. The base version costs $2585. SoftList support will cost you another $600, and if you need reView, you’ll have to pay up $200 more.
2. Turbo Floor Plan3D
Now we’re stepping into an area where the applications are even easier to use. It is a simpler application compared to SoftPlan, more suited for individuals and small businesses instead of larger companies offering remodeling services
The QuickStart menu offers easy drawing of floor plans. In addition to automatically generating a 3D model of freshly created room, it can label and color-code various areas.
Custom room templates allow for quick furnishing of custom room plans. You can simply pick a template, then drag and drop it into an empty room. Kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and other templates are available for immediate deployment. They are fully editable and customizable, allowing you to add more details or remove unnecessary parts.
TurboFloorPlan Pro will make navigation through the 3D model the easiest thing you’ll ever do. Top taskbar allows for clear and concise navigating between 2D/3D viewports. When you’re ready, a virtual walkthrough or aerial view of your model will be available. There’s also an alternate option called the “dollhouse view”, allowing you to view the house from above without a roof.
There are several versions of TurboFloorPlan Pro. The cheapest one, TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape Deluxe, will cost you $49. If you need more functions, the $99 Pro version is also available. New users can enjoy the Training Bundle, containing TurboFloorPlan Pro and a book containing various tutorials and lessons, for $130.
Home Designer Suite from Chief Architect
This software suite is designed mainly for room design and decoration. It would fit you if you want to remodel instead of rebuilding the house completely. And, of course, this designation pretty much reflects on its feature set.
The software is very appealing thanks to a huge (6500+) collection of household objects available in its library. Various appliances, bathroom fixtures, cabinets, fireplaces, doors, floorings, windows, houseplants, railings are available to be placed on nearly any space. The application even has an array of materials and object availabe for handicapped persons.
Drag and drop option only works when you’re in 2D mode. Luckily, you can update objects, their looks and materials as soon as you switch to 3D mode. The mode works this way: choose an object in the library panel, then click on the spot in the design where you want to place the object.
You can design windows, doors and pick window coverings with moldings. Chief Architech Home Designer suite can dimension the floor plan for you; in addition, all room templates are highly customizable. Plus, you can plan some more practical elements – for example, electric wiring, heating, plumbing and air conditioning.
Chief Architect Home Designer Suite is available for purchase for $99. If you need some additional features – such as Architectural Blocks, Parallel Tool, Rendering Technique Tools, Custom Lightning, Lighting Units, Deck & Framing Cut & Buy Lists, Fully Editable Dimensions, Automatic Roof Labels, Plant Schedules – Architectural version is the right choice, although it costs $100 more. For an ultimate set of features, look for $495 Professional edition.
Punch Home & Landscape Design Premium v17
Punch Home & Landscape Design resembles Chief Architech Home Designer suite in many ways. Although seemingly not as powerful as the latter, Punch home design software seems to have the same ease of use. However, when it comes to the features, Punch seems a little bit limited compared to its competitors.
The program’s graphic engine looks very dated, blocky and cartoonish, like an old-ish computer game released in early 2000s. While it should be enough to provide a basic look at how the remodeled house would look like, we’d still appreciate some more graphics fidelity. It’s 2017, after all.
When it comes to the features, Punch offers quite the same compared to Chief Architect and TurboFloorPlan. You can quickly create basic floor plans by using the QuickStart panel. It allows you to drag and drop room templates on the blueprint, seamlessly integrating it into your floor plan. The developer offers several pre-designed house plans, allowing you to start designing your dream house straight from the box. If you already have some ideas in mind, you can simple trace the floor plan from your own sketches.
The application allows you to automatically choose framing options, with a wide array of custom roofs, walls and floor joises available to complement your blueprints. Gable walls, roof panels and dormers can be easily added to your project with a one-click tool.
When it comes to room decorating, you can add various room templates to your blueprints with a single drag and drop. The developers have created a SmartWand technology, allowing you to apply paint or other material to specific walls, rooms or even the entire house. The templates include HVAC, electrical and plumbing tools. In addition, over 7640 materials & over 4870 3D furnishings will be available for you to use in the program.
The object library contains thousands of licensed branded products. It includes interior and exterior paints, solid surfaces, wood floors, blinds, stone and other products. You’ll be able to try them before purchasing in real life. Precision Lighting Planner will allow you to experiment with the house lighting, including ambiend light, shadows, fall off and other important parameters.
As for versions and licensing, Punch comes in six various versions. DIY enthusiasts will benefit the most from purchasing $99 Premium version. It has the optimal amount of functions, omitting more specialized ones for the sake of lower price and easier entry into the industry. $199 Professional version has several additional features, such as advanced floor management for 12 floors (vs 6 floors in Premium version), window, door, trim, fireplace, ceiling, mantel designers and security system tools, site planner and pool designer. $399 Architectural Series has even more features aimed at professionals.
Icovia Space Planner – Interior Design Only
In a surprising move, Icovia has transformed into a full-fledged web service. It is now a subscription-based web application, allowing you to plan your next design or renovation or design a new room for scratch. Instead of a one-time payment, Icovia is a subscription service with a monthly fee of $20/month.
Being a web service, Icovia does not require installation – you’ll just need to open the website and log in. As for the feature set, Icovia seems and feels pretty limited compared to more traditional software. It lets you create custom rooms and design them with various elements.
As you can see, there’s a lot of various software designed for the remodeling of your room or the entire house. As for what’s to choose, we’d advise Chief Architech Home Designer Suite. The application offers a lot for its price, and if you’ll need some additional features, the $199 Architectural version is what you need. Punch Home & Landscape Design Premium seems to be a nice alternative as well, although we’re not too happy with its over-simplified features. SoftPlan is the ultimate package here, combining tons of features into a single powerhouse. However, the $2500 price tag for the most basic version makes the heaviest entry barrier for this program.
Whatever you choose, every program here has a free trial, allowing you to use it at no cost for a limited time. We’re sure you’ll find the application that would be the best for you!