Room planning, the digital way
July 21, 2017
What furniture will fit well in your space, and what’s the best way to arrange it all? You can make your best guess … and find out that the “perfect” couch you just bought doesn’t leave enough space for the coffee table. You can persuade a friend to help you drag everything around until you get it right. Or you can do a dry run with a handy, free online planning tool.
Your choice, of course. But if the dry run sounds simpler and smarter to you, read on.
Favorite online room planning tools
There are lots of planning tools out there. To cull the herd for you, we used three main criteria.
- The tool had to be free.
- It had to be useful and fun without being too complex — we’re homeowners, not professional designers.
- We didn’t want to be sold to. A number of planning tools have particular products, such as flooring or furniture, built right in. Our attitude is, we’re not shopping at the moment, so we’d like a distraction-free workspace, thank you.
So here are two that made the cut. Once you have your room (or your whole house) laid out, you can experiment with ease. Doors, closets, windows, furniture, and accessories are all drag-and-drop. Which definitely beats drag until you drop.
Before you get started, you might want to check out these 20 tips from professional designers. We sifted through dozens for key dos and don’ts.
Fun, flexible Floorplanner
Warning: design nerds might find Floorplanner somewhat addicting. It lets you create a room-by-room rendering of your home in as much or as little detail as you want, and view it in 2D or 3D.
Once you’ve got all your room dimensions, windows, doors, and stairs in there, you can not only size and arrange furniture, but also play with that glass wall, addition, or outdoor living space you envision. Keep it straightforward or go full-on dollhouse with colors, furniture styles, wall coverings, and flooring. You can even incorporate your own photos.
You need to sign up, but there’s no charge for the basic account, which allows one project (of up to three floors).
Floorplanner is robust enough for professionals, but simple enough for most of us to get the hang of pretty quickly. That said, we suggest watching a few of the tutorials first. You might waste time or get frustrated if you dive in without an introduction to the various tools. To see the range of results you can get, check out the gallery for what other homeowners have done.
If you ever sell your house, having a complete map like this available to buyers won’t hurt. Not surprisingly, Floorplanner is designed partly with real estate agents in mind.
Keep it simple with PlanYourRoom.com
Want to get right into it? If tutorials of any kind try your patience, PlanYourRoom.com might be for you. This more basic, more self-explanatory tool is sort of like plain old graph paper. You can experiment with furniture size and placement, traffic paths, door clearances, etc., but you won’t need an eraser every time you edit the plan.
You have to register only if you want to save your design (you can print it), so you can give the tool a quick try without giving up your info.
Filed Under: For Homeowners