Pros / This floor planner has one of the best tools for importing and editing personal photos of rooms.
Cons / This program lacks an object library and construction tools.
Verdict / Virtual Architect Instant Makeover is a unique interior design program that lets you design directly from a photo of a room, but is limited if you plan to reconstruct your living space.
Virtual Architect Instant Makeover is different from any interior design software out there. It lives up to its name by giving you the tools to create a plan to improve the look of a room or your entire house. This program simplifies the process of interior design. Instead of creating a blueprint of the room in 2D view that you convert to a virtual 3D view, as most programs do, you simply upload a photo of the room you want to work on into the program and make changes to a real-life image.
Once a photo is scanned into the program, you map out which portions of the room you want to update. You then highlight those areas and insert materials, textures and colors from the program's catalog to get an idea of what they will look like after you remodel the room. You can toggle between before and after views to keep a perspective on the changes you plan to make, and possibly rethink them along the way.
The software has a selection of sample plans you can use, which is a good way to get a feel for the program. The sample plans let you see how certain colors and elements look together and provide ideas for how to update your own images once you scan a photo of your living space into the program.
The program is very straightforward to use. There are several hints and helps embedded into the program to assist you as you are creating your own plans. This program relies mostly on importing photos and remodeling designs in a 3D view. Since it lacks construction tools, it didn't rank very high in our lineup, but as a DIY tool for remodeling rooms, it is one of the best interior design programs. Its photo importing tool is one of the best we tested and was one of only two in our lineup to receive a perfect score in this category.
However, if you want to knock out a wall and reconstruct a living area, this program is not a good choice. For projects that involve a lot of reconstruction, it's best to have a program that lets you create a 2D plan with the structural changes you want to make and then convert it to a 3D view.
Since this program focuses on updating existing structures and real objects in your photo library, it doesn't rely on an object library like other programs. While there's no object library per se, it does have a selection of windows and doors that you can insert into your photo design to see how it fits in with the layout of your room. Changing doors and windows within this program is more complicated than a program with a 2D view, but it is nice to have as an option.
Nova offers good support options. You can access video tutorials on its site to get you started using the program. It also has a helpful FAQ section and community forums you can access to get answers to many of the questions you may encounter as you learn the program. You can also contact customer support directly, but you'll have to pay extra for phone support. There is a free live chat option.
If you're looking for a more comprehensive design experience, consider this progam's big brother and our top pick - Virtual Architect Ultimate.
- Object Library
- Sample Plans
Virtual Architect Instant Makeover is a unique program that lets you create a plan for remodeling your home from actual photos that you edit. As such, it has one of the best tools for importing and editing photos that we saw. However, if you plan to reconstruct your home or add sections to it, this program won't be helpful. For simple DIY remodel projects, though, this program is among the best.