Whether you’re planning an entire house or just a room, figuring out how to lay things out can be tricky. It can help to detach yourself from preconceived notions of how rooms should be laid out – the way your parents or grandparents did it, arrangements shown on estate-agency plans, or arrangement ideas you’ve seen online – and start from scratch.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools available that can make this process much easier. The best room layout planners offer a variety of features that can be used in different ways depending on your requirements. Some will allow you to create 2D floorplans, while others will also let you add 3D furniture models to give you a more realistic preview of the finished product.
To begin with, it’s important to gather as many measurements as possible – both of the walls and of the windows and doors that will be involved. You should also consider any obstructive features like radiators or fireplaces, as these will probably dictate where you can put the furniture. Once you have all this data, it’s time to start playing with your furniture options using a room layout planner.
Most of the software options below allow you to upload your own photos and drawings as a starting point, while some also come with pre-made library templates to get you started. You can then experiment with a range of different configurations, swapping out finishes and colors as you go until you’ve found the look that’s right for you. Some of the software allows you to take a virtual walkthrough of your design, while others have a more simplified 3D interface that’s easy to use without needing any prior training.
One option worth considering is SmartDraw, which has an intuitive interface that makes it simple to use even for those with no previous experience. You can create 2D plans and also view them in 3D to get a more accurate sense of how they will look, while the built-in coaching UI and visual feedback illustrate your scanning progress and real-time results.
Another useful feature is that you can import designs from other programs, such as SketchUp and Photoshop, allowing you to reuse your existing work and keep all the dimensions in the same file. The program also offers a wide range of customizable symbols, such as windows, doorways and electrical outlets, that you can use to make your plans look as professional as possible. This is an excellent option for anyone who’s looking for a more flexible and affordable alternative to paid software like Chief Architect.