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10 Best Free Online Virtual Room Programs and Tools

In our modern day of looking at home improvements shows, surfing architecture and interior design websites, and spending countless hours on planning our spaces we live each day, wouldn’t you love to plan them virtually first? There are computer programs that you can purchase, books and tutorials you can buy, or you can look at this list of the best free online virtual programs for planning and designing your home .

In this case, best means – user friendly without prior knowledge of using space planning software. Best also refers to ease of accomplishing more than one task, i.e. choosing from a gallery of decor and finishes and laying out rooms and spaces.  Most importantly, they are all free and ready for you to try out paint color, move walls, all without buying a thing!

1.) MY DECO 3D ROOM PLANNER

If you want to upload your own floor plan, or play around with pre-loaded floor plans, this program is for you.  The My Deco 3D Planner allows you to insert walls, doors, windows and select from a gallery of interior finishes.  The interface is relatively simple to use, and allows you to view your plan and 3D image at the same time.  You can move the camera around the plan to see different views, and even paint the walls and ceilings from an extensive color selection.

Plan view and 3D view allow you to move camera to different angles.

Do you hate having to grab dozens of material samples at several stores and come back home and try out all the combinations in your space? Problem solved! Armstrong has a nice 3D virtual program that allows you to see different color combinations of flooring, cabinetry, ceilings, walls and even countertops while staying in the comfort of your home.

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Design a Room allows you to try out choose a room in your home, then pick a style (ranging from contemporary, traditional to global fusion) and play around with colors, textures and finishes.  Choosing finishes in a room can be a daunting task but Armstrong allows you to choose from their already installed inventory of finishes, and even allows you to choose coordinating paint manufacturer wall color! Choose from Sherwin Williams, PPG, and Benjamin Moore colors to get exact matches to go with your cherry hardwood or onyx ceramic tile floor.

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This design tool is for those of you that are in the market for designing a room and want to see the result before execution, or before paying a dime! The best thing about this free online 3D tool is the ability to learn about the products before you buy them. Armstrong’s library of flooring and ceiling selections give you an education about the product. For example when choosing the bathroom as seen above, a note to the side said hardwood flooring is not recommended for bathroom applications.  This allows the user to get the realistic look, and not just put together a room that looks cool, but isn’t functional!

Autodesk, creator of AutoCAD, REVIT, and 3ds Studio Max is known for its professional design programs for designing buildings, 3D building information modeling and 3d rendering capabilities.  They also have a great program for planning out home/office/apartment spaces called Homestyler.  This program is user friendly and doesn’t require formal training like the other professional programs they offer.

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To make floor plans, simple drag and drop commands allow you to create, dimension, and even make angle walls within your design. Doors and windows come in a variety of choices and require no prior knowledge of types, clearances, etc. What is nice about Homestyler is that it can be used for a first timer or purchase the professional version (Homestyler PRO).

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The furnish and decorate tool allows you to drag and drop cabinetry, appliances, furniture, and every decor item you can think of.  Then personalize your space with area rugs and finish items by true manufacturer’s. Choose from FLOR, SHERWIN WILLIAMS, KOHLER, and a list of others to allow you to achieve the  true look and feel of how your space will visualize and feel.

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Once your design is complete you can print out the shopping list to take to the store, or print it out and take to a home improvement store  to visualize

your intent.

Want to share your idea with friends around the globe? Homestyler allows you to post to a myriad of social sites.  Facebook, Stumble upon, Email and share your ideas or collaborate about areas to change and improve!

For those that want to  do it yourself (DIY), the next few programs are for you.  After you have planned out how the spaces will look, you are ready to start buying the materials and getting started, right? Bob Vila.com has a suite of free online tools that help you estimate how much material you need, and will help you learn how to sketch out, and measure the space to prevent you from wasting time, costly materials, and countless trip back to your local hardware or home improvement store!

The Drywall estimator uses sketch sheets and diagrams to show you how to “take off” the measurements needed to go purchase drywall with.

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The first step is to use the free provided worksheets to sketch out your room with dimensions and number each wall on your diagram. Once you do this answer the questions below about that particular wall.  Answers to these questions will help in the estimating portion at the end of the exercise.

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The next step is to layout the ceiling shape and answer the questions regarding the characteristics.  Notice the Drywall Estimator shows you how the sheets would be laid out when you install it.  This is helpful for the estimation of the quantity, but also in understanding your project before you implement it.

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The last steps involve measuring around obstructions, windows and doors. These areas will help you subtract from the overall wall spaces that were measured in the previous steps. For those of you that love to do your own home renovations, this free online tool will take the guess work out of purchasing and laying out drywall.

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The Drywall Estimator has other companions that will help with your next renovation. Paint, ceramic tile, batt insulation, and acoustic ceiling tile estimators are also available.

This 3D visual software is ideal for those that want more customization options to the average room and decor space planning program.  The online software is free with a log in required and some brief information to get started.  For a more advanced version of Sweet Home 3D it can also be downloaded on to your computer for saving, exporting and manipulation of your home plans at a later time.

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The interface is laid out into 4 sections: 1.) The furniture catalog in the upper left hand corner allows you to choose components by name in a quick fashion.  Similar to a Windows Explorer format, the tree layout navigation allows the user to drag and drop components directly into the floor plan. 2.) The floor plan shows you in  a 2D format where the walls, windows, doors, and furniture are placed. 3.) The 3D pane shows your plan in a 3D fashion immediately after placing in the floor plan. This view will help users that need help visualizing the plan as they design. 4.) Lastly, the home furniture list displays the dimensions, size, etc. of each of the components. This helps in laying out furniture to the exact size that you need.

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The added bonus of this program allows you to customize 3D furniture models, if you can’t find what you need in the provided catalog. Import your own models directly into your plans. To bring in your floor plan, import it into Sweet Home 3D, scale it, and trace over your plan so you don’t have any guess work. For those interested in walking through the designed space, a camera feature can placed along a path through the floor plan and a video feature visualizes how you would interact within all areas of the room.  This program can be simple, but it has the advanced features for those that want more from their 3D virtual planning experience.

Smartdraw is a suite of programs for visual graphics and presentations.  Graphic choices include charts and graphs such as: project charts, timelines, marketing charts and flow charts. Under the flowchart application are floor plans and individual room plans.

Source: freshome.com
Category: Architecture

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