Best Furniture Design Software

SketchUp is our top choice for its vast 3D library and 30-day free trial

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Photo comp of furniture

The Spruce / Design by Amelia Manley

Furniture design can mean different things to different people. To some, the term implies putting a variety of store-bought items in a room to see how they work together. Or, it may inspire images of a table being built from scratch. That's why our guide to the best furniture design software includes five distinct programs.

Case in point: Our pick for interior design enthusiasts eager to refresh their living rooms isn't the same as our pick for amateur woodworkers who want to plan out their designs before they cut any lumber. But no matter what definition you assign to furniture design, we're confident that at least one of the programs featured below will help you check a few projects off your list.

Best Furniture Design Software of 2022

Best Overall: SketchUp

SketchUp furniture design software

SketchUp

Key Specs

Cost: $0–$699/year

Platform Compatibility: Mac & Windows

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Ability to upload your own 3D object files

  • Huge 3D model library to enhance your projects

  • A free version is available

  • Access to a robust support hub

Cons
  • Not as beginner-friendly as some other software

Why We Chose It

SketchUp has proven to be a valuable tool for a wide array of projects, which is why we named it the best overall furniture design software. The program allows users of all skill levels to efficiently create small- and large-scale 3D models, including furniture pieces.

Amateur designers can do quite a bit with SketchUp Free, which, as its name suggests, is free to use on Mac and Windows. When you sign up for a basic account, you get 10GB of cloud storage, access to some, but not all, pre-built 3D models, and import and export capabilities. If you decide to upgrade to a paid plan, you're required to purchase a full-year membership, but there is a 30-day free trial you can test out before committing.

For hardcore DIYers or casual sketchers, SketchUp Go ($119 a year) should provide more than enough resources. In addition to unlimited cloud storage and your pick of more than 4 million 3D models, users can construct detailed illustrations with a series of smart drawing tools.

Best for Woodworking: SketchList 3D

SketchList 3D furniture design software

SketchList 3D

Key Specs

Cost: $125–$500/year

Platform Compatibility: Mac & Windows

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Woodworking-specific tools

  • Automated purchase and cut lists

  • Expedites the design process

  • 14-day free trial

Cons
  • High price point for casual users

Why We Chose It

While different software options exist to help DIYers build furniture, SketchList 3D offers features that are specific to woodworkers, like precise drawings and exact cut instructions. Its 3D programs replicate the tools woodworkers have in their shops, allowing users to visualize board shape, joinery, and cut-outs. Expect to come away from the design process with accurate measurements and a comprehensive materials list. 

If you enjoy woodworking in your free time, the most basic package, SketchList 3D Hobby, will likely provide you with everything you need to fast-track the planning stage. There are multiple payment options, including monthly and yearly subscriptions—though we recommend buying the software outright for $250 if you plan to use it consistently.

The great thing about SketchList 3D is that every product comes with a two-week free trial, so you can determine whether the software is useful for you before spending a cent. There's also a pretty extensive resources hub that'll help you navigate the program through video tutorials, blog posts, and FAQs.

Best Visualization Tools: Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design

Virtual Architect best furniture design software

Nova Development

Key Specs

Cost: $99.99

Platform Compatibility: Windows

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Ability to customize every piece of furniture's material and color

  • Option to upload photos of your home

  • Builder Wizard tools do a lot of the work for you

  • "Virtual walkthrough" function

Cons
  • This version is only available for Windows

Why We Chose It

For interior design aficionados, Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design lets you spread your artistic wings. Users have access to thousands of 3D items that can be manipulated to fit individual aesthetics. The functionality is straightforward and enhanced by the "wizard-driven interface," which speeds up the process so that you're not having to spend hours building a foundation.

Another benefit to the Virtual Architect software is the option to upload photos of existing furniture that you plan to incorporate into your design. This essentially allows you to create your own 3D models and move them around as you like. Renderings of your redesigned space can be generated, as can a 3D walkthrough, which is a virtual tour of your project. If any object feels out of place, it takes just one click to move it.

Users with Windows will need to pay a one-time fee of $99.99 to download the software. The company behind Virtual Architect, Nova Development, does sell home design software for Macs, but some of the features will be different.

Best Product Catalog: HomeByMe

HomeByMe furniture design software

HomeByMe

Key Specs

Cost: $0–$299/year

Platform Compatibility: Mac, Windows, iOS, & Android

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Ability to furnish your designs with real products

  • Can shop for furniture within the app

  • Free starter plan

  • Available on desktop and mobile

Cons
  • 3D images and 360-degree view capabilities are limited in the free version

Creating a design full of shoppable products is remarkably simple with HomeByMe. The app has more than 20,000 name-brand items that users can add to their floor plans, with direct links to retailers for easy purchasing. Popular stores include Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, and AllModern. If you can't find a piece of furniture you like, the 3DByMe tool lets you build your own, then view the object in HD renderings.

The free version of HomeByMe, which can be accessed via mobile and desktop, comes with five projects and three photorealistic images. When you run out, you can either purchase a one-time pack for $16.50 that consists of five more projects, 15 snapshots, and three 360-degree images, or opt for a subscription ($29.99 per month or $299 for a full year), which adds professional usage rights to the mix.

Users also have the option to hire an interior designer within the app. Plans start at $69 for a single room redesign and go up to $139 for three rooms. This service includes a 3D rendering of the reimagined space and a style board with recommended paint colors, textures, and products.

Best for Inspiration: Morpholio Board

Morpholio Board best furniture design software

Morpholio

Key Specs

Cost: $0–$11.99/year

Platform Compatibility: Mac & iOS

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Ability to see what furniture will look like in your home using AR

  • Includes color sampling tool

  • Basic version is free to download

  • Integrates with Pinterest and SketchUp

Cons
  • Only available on Apple devices

  • No rendering capabilities

Why We Chose It

Morpholio Board is a virtual mood board for interior design. Collect furniture from practically anywhere on the internet, including Pinterest, and search through the software's own curated library to find products in your desired color palette. Any item added to your board from Morpholio's catalog is pulled into an automated list, providing easy access to purchasing links. Using AR technology, the app can show you what any piece of furniture will look like in your space.

If your room design is being guided by a specific color story, Morpholio offers powerful tools not seen in more conventional furniture design software. The color capture feature lets you match hues you find out in the real world while the color seed function allows you to search for products with similar pigments.

Many of the tools mentioned above are available through Morpholio Board's free version, though you'll have to upgrade to the Pro plan ($11.99 per year) if you want the color capture functionality and automatic shopping lists. Also, the app is only compatible with iOS operating systems.

Final Verdict

The best option for furniture design software really depends on how you plan to use it. Some programs—like HomeByMe, Virtual Architect, and Morpholio Board—are geared toward interior design, while SketchList 3D caters to users who build their own furniture. But if we had to pick just one program, it'd be SketchUp because it falls somewhere in the middle: You can create your own 3D models or work off existing templates.

FAQ
  • How Much Does Furniture Design Software Cost?

    If you're using the software for interior design purposes, you can find free programs that allow you to browse thousands of furniture pieces and create detailed room layouts. For more advanced features, like photorealistic renderings and 3D modeling functions, expect to pay a monthly fee between $10 and $50 or a one-time fee of $100–$250.

  • Is Furniture Design Software Easy to Use?

    Most furniture design software is easy to use or learn. All of the best programs have tutorials that'll guide you through the first few projects. Still, some software billed as beginner-friendly may have a bit of a learning curve, so take advantage of free trials where you can to determine whether a program is too complicated for you.

  • Is Furniture Design Software Worth It?

    If you’re working on a DIY project or taking up woodworking as a hobby, furniture design software that tells you exactly what you need to buy can save you money in the long run, especially when you consider the high cost of lumber and other materials. If you only plan to use the program for a single project, it might make more sense to sign up for a monthly subscription rather than buy the software outright.

  • Is AutoCAD Good for Furniture Design?

    Autodesk’s AutoCAD software is one of the most well-known options for 3D modeling. It has a wide variety of applications, including furniture design. However, AutoCAD is primarily used by professionals. There is a steep learning curve, so homeowners without prior CAD software experience may find it challenging. 

    A program like SketchUp offers a more approachable entry into 3D modeling. Also a CAD program, SketchUp's features aren't quite as intimidating.

  • What Is the Best Room Design App?

    The best room design apps let you create a floor plan, decorate it to your liking, and view the finished product in realistic 3D renderings. Two of the best programs for this are HomeByMe and Morpholio Board.

    With HomeByMe, you can add furniture and decor to your layout from a roster of popular retailers, then admire your design in 360-degree photos. Morpholio Board provides a way for you to virtually house all of your design inspiration, from shoppable products to color palettes.

Methodology

To choose the best furniture design software, we reviewed programs that had at least one of these overarching purposes: to help build furniture and to help arrange furniture. In addition to the software's intent, we looked at the following factors:

  • Types of features available
  • Quality of 3D graphics
  • Skill level required
  • Access to user manuals and video tutorials
  • Cost
  • Whether or not there's a free trial
  • Device compatibility

For any programs that our editorial team wasn't able to test personally, we relied on research and customer reviews to make reliable recommendations.