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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer has been replaced by Chief Architect Home Designer Suite (above), but you can still order the older software. Why would you want to order outdated software?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.