Looking to get computer-assisted help in designing your home improvement plan? Not everyone can afford an off-the-shelf software solution that runs into the hundreds. And some of the inexpensive remodeling sketch programs you find in the cheap bins at the office supply store have adequate functions to satisfy your needs. To that end, here's a brief review of some of the products you can buy online to get the job done. I don't endorse any of them but hope the links can get you started.
For starters, there's Design Workshop Lite, a graphics program that works on PC and Apple platforms. The company offers free online tutorials, too, including one to design an entire house. The software is free, but you can purchase a CD rom with tutorials and 3D models with textures and shapes for $19.95.
Punch Software sells several versions of 3D design software, including Landscape, Deck, Patio Designer, Punch! Bathroom Designer, Punch! Kitchen Designer, Master Landscap and Home Design, Weekend Project, Home Design Studio, Architectural Series 5000, and its Home & Landscape Design Suite. The software ranges from $9.99 each for the kitchen or bathroom designers, up to $179 for its Home and Landscape Design Professional.
TurboFLOORPLAN 3D is IMSI's award-winning home and landscape design software from the makers of the professional TurboCAD program used in the design industries. The software allows you to complete blueprints as well as 3D renderings of models. You can change colors, textures, and lighting while you design your kitchen, deck, cabinets, patio, bathroom, and outdoor planting scheme by seasons. IMSI sells the entire package for $99.
Chief Architect, Inc. sells a wide range of design products and suites for home design, remodeling, kitchen and bath design, floor and space planning, interior design, decorating, landscaping, deck design, and cost estimating. The home design program allows you to lift the roof off the structure to look at the floor plan in 3D. It comes with 500 sample house and floor plans, framing tools, materials listings, and cost estimates. The designer pro software costs $495, while the landscaping or interior designer modules sell independently for $79. The software company also provides free, online training videos for all its products.
Google SketchUp is a free 3D sketching program that comes with a collection of video tutorials. You can design rooms--or furniture. There are also free online training courses in the software that can get you up to speed. If the program is too limiting for you, Google also offers Google SketchUp Pro 7 for a hefty $495.
Whether you use software or hire a design and construction professional to handle your remodeling project, It's a good idea to read our post on remodeling ROI before deciding on the right project for your budget!