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With the abundance of home design software on the market, even a homeowner who considers themselves far from design-savvy can create their dream scheme.
While only professionals or homeowners with technical chops should truly design their own home from the ground up, there are several programs, apps, and services that can, at the very least, help users communicate their design ideas. From floorplans to furniture layout, these best home design software options can help turn a dream home into reality.
Best Overall: Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design
Why We Chose It: Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design does it all, from helping to conceptualize building plans to honing in on an interior refresh scheme. It’s also easy to navigate and use.
Wizard makes it easy for pros and newbies to navigate program
Only runs on Windows
As its full name suggests, Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design With Landscaping and Decks 10 does it all. This bonafide home design software can help users—from seasoned pros to newbies—design their dream home from the bottom up, renovate and refresh their interiors, and even make their home more energy-efficient.
The software’s newest iteration allows users to import their own photos as a jumping-off point for new projects, or choose from a handful of customizable floorplans. From there, with the guidance of the program’s built-in wizard, it’s easy to design homes from the catalog of windows, doors, architectural elements, and even name-brand paint, furniture, and decor. The program also gets into the nuts and bolts of home design and can help with electrical plans as well as HVAC and plumbing planning. And, helpfully, Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design creates 3D renderings alongside 2D renderings, making it easy to visualize your project.
While the program's renderings aren’t the most realistic out of the products featured on this list, Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design’s breadth of abilities makes it the best of the bunch. One major drawback, however, is that the program is made to run exclusively on Windows operating systems. Virtual Architect Ultimate Home is a one-time download and costs $99.99.
Best for Floorplans: magicplan
Why We Chose It: Magicplan is the easiest way to create your own floorplans and elevations using your device’s camera.
Easy to navigate
Dimensions can be off, but the app allows for manual editing
Magicplan is an app geared toward those in the renovation and building professions, but that doesn’t discount it from being useful to a consumer who needs help mapping out their own renovation or room refresh. Magicplan uses the camera of the device running the app—a tablet or cell phone will work better than a laptop—to automatically compute the to-scale shape of the room into a floorplan with dimensions. (Those dimensions, as well as the room shape, can also be manually adjusted later if they’re not spot-on.)
Once rooms are mapped, they can be assembled to create a whole floor. (For smaller projects, they can stand alone as a single room.) Magicplan also offers a variety of furniture shapes and sizes that can help users figure out room layouts or uses. In addition, it offers the ability to view rooms as an elevation or as if standing in the room, rather than looking down onto it as one does with floorplans.
Magicplan is free for up to two projects, then begins at $9.99 per month, per project, per user. That cost goes down to $8.33 per month with an annual subscription. Magicplan also offers a 14-day, no questions asked, money-back guarantee.
Best for Vision Boards: Morpholio Board
Why We Chose It: Morpholio Board is the Pinterest of interior design apps, helping to hone design ideas and visualize spaces.
Items can be swapped at any time
Can pull from a wide range of sources
Can only be used on Apple devices
Morpholio Board doesn’t provide a realistic look at spaces
For those who need a little extra help visualizing their space, Morpholio Board has you covered. The app allows users to choose furniture, rugs, decor, lighting, and more from major brands and websites, as well as images from the user’s own device, to create a room vision board that will help hone design ideas. Images added to the mood board can even be overlapped as if creating a room elevation to help visualize what space might look like, though there are limits to how realistic it really looks.
Morpholio Board is a great way to visualize how certain items of furniture and different fabrics might work with each other and makes moving forward with those items easy: each room board has a corresponding list that includes the items on the board and links to the items online. Morpholio Board also has Pinterest integration, so it's moving pins onto boards is a breeze.
Morpholio Board, which is only available for products using iOS and macOS, offers its basic app for free. The pro app, which offers expanded capabilities, is $4 per month or $12 per year.
Best Free Home Design App: Homestyler
Why We Chose It: Homestyler allows users to create floorplans and elevations quickly, and for free.
Free to use
Renderings are unrealistic
Homestyler allows users to create floorplans that can be visualized as elevations as well. While it’s not the most technically sophisticated app when it comes to its visuals, Homestyler is incredibly serviceable considering that it is a free product.
With Homestyler, users can create floorplans by choosing a basic shape and dragging walls, adding windows and doors, and inserting furniture. While Homestyler does allow users to choose furniture from specific brands, it prioritizes generic furniture in its menu. One of the neat features of Homestyler is the option to change the flooring to different kinds of wood plank, popular tile, and more, as well as change wall colors. It also allows users to view a room’s elevation from any position just by dragging the perspective icon.
Homestyler is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, but the site’s FAQ suggests the app works best on PCs using Chrome or the latest version of Internet Explorer.
Best Online Design Service: Modsy
Why We Chose It: Modsy takes the heavy lifting out of interior design while still providing the user with gorgeous, personalized schemes.
Two designs give users choice
Unlimited design refreshes
For the crowd who wants to be more hands-off in the interior design process, or simply hire out the gig, there’s Modsy. The online service provides users with highly realistic renderings and product lists for two designs that make sprucing up a cinch.
To get started, Modsy users send a few photos of the room they’re looking to redesign—existing clutter and all—plus a few measurements to the Modsy team. The brand’s style quiz helps its consultants hone in on a look that will appeal to the site’s user. Modsy then creates two custom designs, delivered online in about two weeks, that are depicted in stunningly detailed renderings that show the room from all angles.
The layouts are stocked with shoppable goods from brands like West Elm and Interior Define, meaning not only will Modsy set you up with the perfect design, but it also makes buying a breeze. Not thrilled with the sofa the Modsy consultant picked out? No problem. Designs can be revised if they’re not to the client’s liking.
Modsy has three different plans that pair users with experienced interior designers. The Premium plan costs $159 per room, the Multi-room plan starts at $299 and covers two or more rooms, and the Luxe plan costs $499 per room. All three include a kick-off call and online messaging with an experienced interior designer, as well as unlimited revisions on any design. All packages offer a money-back guarantee if a suitable design isn’t created.
Today’s plethora of programs, apps, and services that focus on home design mean it’s easier than ever for consumers to take hold of, and excel at, their own home renovations and refreshes. Of course, there are particulars that only seasoned pros should handle—such as deciding whether or not a wall is load-bearing when it comes to achieving that oh-so-desirable open-concept layout. But programs like Magicplan and Homestyler make it possible to quickly visualize that, as well as figure out other pesky business like whether that sectional will actually fit in the room. Both Modsy and Morpholio Board excel at providing home refresh visuals, but because Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design provides support in designing all facets of a home, it is our best overall home design software.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Home Design Software?
Home design software includes programs and apps that help consumers envision their space, from its initial creation all the way through to interior design.
What Does Home Design Software Do?
Home design programs, apps, and services like those on this list provide an array of support in realizing home building, renovation, and design projects. While magicplan and Homestyler specialize in floorplans, Morpholio Board specializes in helping its users visualize interior design schemes while Modsy takes the guesswork out by tapping seasoned design pros to create and deliver a full scheme to the client.
How Is Home Design Software Priced?
Some home design software, like magicplan and Morpholio Board pro, is priced by the month, while other services like Virtual Architect Ultimate Home and Modsy charge a one-time fee.
How We Chose the Best Home Design Software
We reviewed customer reports by homeowners, designers, and building pros, as well as online demonstrations, to hone a list of products that perform the best given their particular function. We strove to include products that addressed a variety of home design needs as well as a range of price points.