Interior Design Software

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Whether you are a do-it-yourself interior designer or make a living providing interior design services, using interior design computer software can make the job easier. Interior design software allows the designer to make a visual representation of what they are building, before actually having it built. Using this type of software can help catch potential errors in the design and save money and time.

Floor Plans

  • The most basic software provides a way to draw a floor plan. This is helpful whether building from the floor up or designing within existing dimensions. The added capability of turning the floor plan into a three-dimensional space helps understand spatial relationships and traffic flow in a space. Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite is one program that provides 3-D capability.

Arranging Furniture

  • Some interior design software programs allow for input of furniture dimensions. Others may provide furniture templates that resize and rotate. Playing with the furniture placement on a computer screen can mean an end to hours of dragging and pulling furniture across a room. Some furniture manufacturers provide furniture and floor plan software designed with their specific furniture dimensions, so a customer can see how a piece of furniture will fit into her own interior space. Bassett Furniture and Baker Furniture are two manufacturers that provide interior design software tools on their websites.

Color & Texture

  • A novel feature of interior design software programs is the ability to play with color and texture. Through the click of a mouse walls, furniture and flooring can change color and in some cases fabric patterns. Color palette choices can become much easier to make using software programs. HGTV's Home and Landscape Platinum Suite, a software program for those building a house and its interiors, provides a flooring materials library that includes carpet, granite, marble and wood looks.

Online Design

  • Plan3D, Inc is an online, inexpensive subscription service that provides interior design software to its members. The software can be used online or downloaded to a local computer. Plans are still available to view if a member decides to end a subscription. The software allows the user to view floor plans as blueprints, in 3-D and as a virtual walk-through.

Pros/Cons

  • Interior design software is a helpful tool that can provide new ideas and help the do-it-yourself designer understand how the design process works. Some programs can offer too much complexity and require a long learning curve to use them, diminishing their benefit for all but the most experienced professionals. Some programs do allow the scanning of photographs or digital photos of rugs, art and decorative items. But ultimately, while this software can help greatly, it is impossible to simulate the exact feeling of an actual interior environment.

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