Homestyler is a capable online home interior design app that doesn't charge you money to see good quality images of your design. It's a little laggy compared to other browser-based apps, especially with more complex designs, but it's a good alternative to paid-for products.
Before we get into detail, it's important to stress that despite the very similar logo this isn't the same Homestyler previously made by CAD legends AutoDesk. That was discontinued in 2017. This app comes from the EasyHome retail chain from China, and has made our list of the best interior design software 2020. There are also companion apps for iOS and Android: they add augmented reality features so you can try out different ideas over real images of your home, all while using a tablet.
Easyhome Homestyler review: Price
When we tested the app, there appeared to be an issue with the Homestyler Points system, which is supposed to limit some of the better quality renders to people willing to pay for them: the features that were supposed to cost money didn't. The app's FAQ promises that the app and its renders are completely free, so we suspect that the Points are a throwback to a previous version and no longer applicable. However even if they're resurrected in a future update you'll be able to render in HD without payment, something that can't be said for a lot of rival apps. Something like Virtual Architect - our top pick - has a simpler pricing system.
You can export your plan in DWG format for use in other apps, and there are social media share links for your rendered images. In a nice touch, Homestyler also displays a QR code that you can point your phone's camera at for easy access on an iPhone 11.
Easyhome Homestyler review: Design and features
When you launch the app you'll see some basic demo projects and some templates that you can adjust to suit, or you can design your own room(s) from scratch. The interface consists of a main viewing window and two toolbars: the one at the top covers file operations, changing views and importing plans from other apps while the one at the left has the tools you'll use to define your space.
The left hand toolbar has three key tools: build, which you use to create the room you'll be designing; catalog, which is where you'll find its library of furniture and accessories; and style, which is where you'll find floor and wall coverings including tiles, mosaics, wallpapers and simple blocks of color.
The main draw here is the catalog, which is packed with products from various brands and whose items are rendered in very realistic 3D. They're why this app exists for free and why the mobile apps enable you to try out furniture in augmented reality: it's an opportunity for EasyHome to show off its wares. The company has digitized products from over 200 different manufacturers scattered around the globe and the hope is that the various manufacturers will place ads on the app.
They look great – although there's a tendency towards the overly showy; this is an app that also enables you to put Grecian columns in a studio apartment – but unfortunately moving them around is a bit of a pain: items are difficult to select with the mouse and we often found ourselves banging items of furniture into walls and muttering curses. Items can be resized, even the branded ones, and there's a lift option for items you want to fit above floor level such as raised storage or shelving.
There are some nice touches here. The Material Brush enables you to copy a texture from one part of a room to another, such as from wall to wall. If you decide to change the type of an item such as a window, Homestyler adds an option on its properties box to apply the changes to every other window of the same kind. There's a little 3D view that appears at the top right when you're working in 2D, and you can change the camera location and angle in 2D mode to keep the preview where you want it.
Easyhome Homestyler review: Results
When you're happy with your design you can create a high quality render. There are multiple options here including different kinds of lighting and backgrounds, different aspect ratios and different resolutions: the default renders an image in less than a minute. That's a resolution of 960 x 540; you can up that to HD resolution (1920 x 1080) for free or to UltraHD in exchange for paid-for Homestyler Points. That latter option takes about six minutes to render a fairly simple room; the more complex your design and lighting choices the longer it'll take. The results are great but you'll really need to think about your lighting: if you don't you'll end up with some pretty gloomy-looking rooms.
Hi-res renders aren't your only option here. You can create panoramic images, isometric aerial views or top-down floor plans, all with a choice of lighting and quality settings.
Should you buy Easyhome Homestyler?
We found EasyHome Homestyler to be inconsistent: when it's good it's very good, and when it isn't it's really frustrating. If your main concern is producing good quality 3D renders of your designs, something that many rival apps charge a lot of money for, then the cost savings will more than compensate for these niggles. If that's not a priority, however, you might find that a rival app like Floorplanner delivers a slightly smoother and less swear-inducing experience.