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Top Home Design Software Programs

Cheap and Easy Architecture Software for Beginners

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If you have a dream, you can draw it. These easy software programs are made for beginners, but some rival the sophisticated CAD software used by professional architects.

Which program is best? For tips in choosing, see: How to Select Home Design Software.

The world of software is always changing, so as you shop, check to be sure you are buying the latest version. Have you found something new? Send your software reviews.

Architecture Software We Love:

1. Home Designer Suite by Chief Architect

Home Designer Suite 2014 by Chief Architect
Home Designer Suite 2014 by Chief Architect
Complex and powerful, the Chief Architect Home Designer Suite has sophisticated tools for designing and remodeling houses, kitchens, baths, decks, landscapes, and interiors. Start with one of the 1,500+ sample plans, or follow your own inspirations. With just a few clicks you can change colors, styles, and materials, and also generate 3D views of your project. This much power can be complicated, so you may want to take advantage of the free step-by-step videos on the Home Designer website.

2. IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN Home & Landscape Pro

IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN Home & Landscape Pro Architecture Software. Photo: Jackie Craven
IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN Home & Landscape Pro

Home & Landscape Pro from IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN is a souped-up version of their Instant Architect software. It claims to have out-of-the-box simplicity for beginners, but some users have found it a bit difficult. It also offers powerful CAD tools and many extra features for advanced users. The ease and adaptability of Home & Landscape Pro make it an especially good buy for the CAD savvy.

3. IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN Instant Architect

IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN Instant Architect - Architecture Software. Photo: Jackie Craven
IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN Instant Architect

IMSI TurboFLOORPLAN Instant Architect offers instant gratification for the beginner. This home design software program doesn't have all the "bells and whistles," but includes more than enough options to create floor plans, cost estimates, landscape designs, and masterful 3D illustrations. Plus, Instant Architect is budget-priced.

4. Punch! Home Design Suite

Punch! offers a variety of respected home design software programs that will let you move from simple home designs to complex electrical and plumbing systems. Some programs are for the MAC, others for the PC. Browse this list to find the program that best meets your needs.

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5. Google SketchUp® (FREE)

Download the free SketchUp program, and you can draw 3D images of your building project. After you've created your 3D image, print it out or upload it to a "3D Warehouse" to share with others. The Warehouse also has drawings you can add to your own 3D picture. In 2012 Trimble Navigation Limited bought SketchUp from Google. Trimble intends to support existing users and continue to provide a free version.

6. DesignWorkshop Lite (FREE)

The cost-free DesignWorkshop Lite software program lets you build your own 3D models of buildings, landscapes, exhibits, or any kind of spatial design. For a small price, you can also order complete documentation, tutorials, and additional example building models. DesignWorkshop Lite has a dual platform for both Macintosh and Windows operating systems.

7. FREE Floor Plan Tools

If all you want to do is draw a simple floor plan without fancy 3D views, you might not need the high powered software listed above. Instead, check out these easy, free online drawing tools for arranging furniture, planning kitchens and baths, and creating 2D plot plans.

8. Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Software

Better Homes & Gardens Home Design Suite
Photo: PriceGrabber

Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer has been replaced by Chief Architect Home Designer Suite (above), but you can still order the older software. Why would you want to order outdated software? If your needs are modest, (1) sometimes older software is cheaper, and (2) sometimes older computers appreciate older software.

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9. HGTV® Software

Home and Garden Television (HGTV) has become an industry, so it's not unexpected that home design software would be part of what they offer. Created by Nova Development, HGTV software has received mixed reviews, but if you're a fan of the cable station, you might want to give it a try.
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