Before the architectural and design software sector began to grow, settling on a building plan or room layout and interior design was a much more time consuming process. It took time to brainstorm, come up with blueprints or sketches by hand, modify, redo, etc.
But now, thanks to advances in computer software and video technology, the process has been fast-tracked and made much less expensive. Very sophisticated and professional CAD architectural software applications may be purchased. On the lower end, many paint companies and home improvement stores offer these services free, as a means to attract business.
Sophisticated Home and Landscape Design Software
At the top end are the more sophisticated applications. These generally have a price tag, but are very useful for larger home remodeling projects or even planning new construction. Many of these have the capability to comply with the guidelines for disability access. Here are a couple of popular ones.
- Punch Software. Punch is one of the big players in this market niche. They offer a variety of packages like Architectural Package 5000; Home and Landscape Design Suite; Landscape, Deck, and Patio Design; and Home Design Studio Pro.
- Softplan. The design applications offered by Softplan provide what they call “virtual model design”. This consists of accurate working drawings, as well as 3-dimensional views so the user can get a realistic feel for the physical layout. Furthermore, their Softlist product will take the rendered blueprints and provide a building material list along with an estimate of the construction budget it will require.
Remodeling Software for Small Home Renovation Projects
Remodeling on a budget demands stretching the available project funds and that certainly doesn’t include purchasing high-end computer programs for one-time use. No need to despair; there are many alternatives. Here are a couple to illustrate the possibilities for limited residential upgrades and painting projects.
- Home Depot Big Hammer Software. This big-box store is one of the monsters of the home improvement store universe. The benefit of their Big Hammer applications is that they are all separated out so there is no need to purchase a complete home solution, making them handy for limited home renovations. For example, they offer 3D Kitchen Designer, 3D Interior Designer, 3D Bathroom Designer, and Project Estimator.
- Glidden Room Painter. Glidden offers this online tool to easily and quickly visualize how colors and color combinations will appear on the walls of a virtual room. Options are either choosing individual colors, or colors by a Glidden-defined “mood”. Of course, there is no guarantee that the actual paint will match exactly what’s seen on the screen because different computer monitors render color saturation differently.
The benefits of design technology to homeowners is obvious; it gives them more personal control over the renovation project, a better handle on construction finances, and it streamlines the entire process. One final note: always remember to update the homeowners insurance policy after any home improvements.
Rating: 3 out of 5