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Home Designer Architectural 2015 Review

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PROS / The object library is packed with furniture, fixtures and plants to allow you to design your indoor and outdoor space.

CONS / Learning to control the virtual camera takes some practice.

 VERDICT / This software offers the selection of built-in libraries that will make it easy to create what you want quickly and the freedom and advanced tools to craft projects by hand as well.

Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the Home and Interior Design Software for Mac reviews.

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Home Designer Architectural has professional-level home design tools but the user-friendliness of a product for beginners. Whether you plan to map out your dream house or just remodel parts of your existing home, our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner can help you reach your goals. Home Designer Architectural offers a realistic image of your future home and the tools necessary to make the process easy and fun. The things that can be automatic – materials list generation, dimensioning, software updates, roof creation, garden bed population, backsplash placement – are automatic, and that makes this interior design software for Mac all the more impressive.

Features

The best home design software for Mac allows you to envision what your layout would look and feel like if you decide to build it. Home Designer Architectural is very helpful in that regard. You can design and view projects in 2D and 3D, or even both at the same time with a split screen. The renderings detailed and informative. They make it easy to tell whether your life would fit in the proposed layout. You can even map out a route for virtually walking through your digital floor plan. It can be a bit tricky trying to control and position of the virtual camera to get the angles you want, but this is a useful tool once you get used to it.

This software offers interior and exterior lighting simulation so you can picture where shadows will fall. The dollhouse view offers a peek inside your home, fully furnished, without a roof, to give a clear idea how things will look.

This Mac architecture software gets high marks for user-friendliness as well. The Plan Assistant feature is one reason. It gives you access to thousands of floor plans that you can use for your next home. You will also have access to some editable house plans if you find one that is almost – but not quite – what you want. Home Designer Architectural offers the type of rendering and professional-level tools that will please a professional designer but make it easy enough for the average homeowner to use. Dimensions are automatically displayed and adjusted as you expand or delete rooms.

Deck and landscaping features allow you to plan outdoor space down to the finest detail – gravel style, lighting fixtures, decking materials and others. There is a library of over 3,600 plants, and each is attached to information about ideal climates, watering needs and other details.

The more practical parts of a project are incorporated in this software too. As you draw the outer walls of your home, the dimensions are not the only thing that is automatically calculated. The materials that go into the average outer wall – siding, insulation, framing and sheetrock – are all taken into consideration and added to the cost estimation for the project.

Tools

This software offers the tools to make any design possible. You do not have to hand-draw anything, though you can if you want to. Whether you prefer to use an editable floor plan or one that you do not have to rearrange, a wizard-style configurator will help you to zero in on the right one by asking you how many floors, bedrooms and bathrooms you want. Once you have the basic floor plan mapped out, you can use other sophisticated tools to finish the plan. One such tool is the automatic roofing tool, which allows you to top off even the most complicated designs with the roof style they need – hip, gabled, gambrel, dormer, offset and more -- or a combination of styles for different parts of your home.

Objects & Materials

The library of pre-drawn objects is massive with this interior design software for Mac. There are more than 8,000 items to choose from, including a wide variety for indoor and outdoor spaces. There are appliances, bathroom fixtures, indoor and outdoor furniture pieces, doors, windows, cabinets, indoor and outdoor plants, railings and much more. It is hard to overstate the variety. If you are looking for the right furniture for your porch, for instance, you will have a selection of Adirondack, café, marina, Roma, stone, wicker, scroll iron and other styles. The grills are divided into gas and charcoal styles – brick oven, camp, char-grill, smoke grill and other sub-styles. There are options for importing 2D and 3D objects if you do not find what you want in the vast object library.

Help & Support

The video library for this software is vast and very helpful if you are a beginner. There also are webinars and a knowledgebase if you prefer. If none of those options is solving your dilemma, there is also a user forum for professionals and one for regular homeowners. There are telephone numbers and an email address if you want personalized help. The wide variety of options for customer service is very nice for users at every level.

Summary

Home Designer Architectural is a powerful tool for designing your next home. Professional designers and homeowners alike could use this product to plan a house, inside and out. This Mac-specific software integrates the aspects that let you customize your home – wall coverings, flower beds and furniture styles, as well as the practical details – dimensions, costs and engineering concerns. The result is a plan that you can view from many different perspectives that will help you plan for the future.

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