Here's all you need to know about RoomSketcher. We've done hours of research and tested a range of programs to create our in-depth reviews, which we've reviewed and rated in our comprehensive guide to the best home design software.
RoomSketcher: What you need to know
RoomSketcher (formerly RoomSketcher Home Designer) may be the easiest home design application we’ve used, with a very simple, friendly and intuitive interface and silky-smooth performance. However, the free version is very limited in what it lets you do and the paid versions suffer from what we think is an unnecessarily opaque pricing model that’ll keep asking for your credit card.
There are three versions of RoomSketcher: RoomSketcher Free, RoomSketcher VIP and RoomSketcher Pro. VIP is $49 per year and Pro $99 per year.
The core app is the same no matter which version you use, but if you've gone for the VIP or Free version you'll often find that you'll click a menu item or sidebar check button only for a 'buy now' message to appear – so for example when you're drawing a wall, clicking on the 'curved walls' check button invites you to upgrade. We're all for developers trying to get paid, but we'd rather not see buttons and links for features that aren't in the particular version we've got.
We wouldn't recommend the free version of RoomSketcher as it lacks several key features: 2D floor plans, 3D photos and 360º views. But don't assume that paying for the product means getting access to everything. If you go for the paid versions rather than the free one, your floor plans, 3D photos and 360º views are provided in exchange for credits. Your subscription includes 20 credits (VIP) or 55 credits (Pro) and additional ones currently cost $1.80 each; a 3D floor plan uses one credit and a 360º view uses five credits. We're not a fan of this pricing model: an app costing $49 shouldn't start asking you for money when you've saved just five projects.
It's a shame about the pricing model because the app itself is excellent. It's exceptionally easy to use and you can create accurate and interesting designs even if you're a complete beginner. The interface is simple and friendly and the tools are well organised – so for example you might start with some external walls (or use one of the predefined layouts) before adding internal ones; then you can switch to windows and doors before adding materials and populating your room(s) with furniture. Creating a simple design such as a bedroom with an en-suite, including fixtures and furniture, took us all of two minutes.
The library of objects is very comprehensive. In the VIP version there are more than 40 different kinds of beds including familiar ones from IKEA, alongside dozens of desks, a cornucopia of cupboards and even a collection of copiers. It's worth noting that the libraries for the VIP and Pro versions are different: when you reach the end of a category in VIP, you'll see a message suggesting you upgrade to the Pro version for more objects.
Adding predefined objects to your design is just a matter of drag and drop, and you can stick with the default sizes – handy if you're planning a trip to IKEA for some Billy bookcases or PAX wardrobes – or adjust the item's properties to suit your particular requirements. You can also add a label and adjust its font size. In a nice touch the app can also calculate the best fit width and depth for items such as wardrobes, which is useful if you're planning to create walk-in storage.
You can also add textures from the app's selection of materials, which is organised into categories including hardwood flooring, interior and exterior paint, stone, tiles and wallpaper. There's also a selection of paving stones for external use. The paint colors and wallpaper swatches are generic – don't expect a swatch of Farrow And Ball's finest paints or Timorous Beasties' designer wall fabrics – and you can't import your own images for custom textures, but there's a reasonable range that enables you to get pretty close to your desired color scheme.
When you think you've got everything just-so, you can take a snapshot. Unlike 3D photos, generating a snapshot doesn't use up any of your valuable credits.
The snapshot tool is very simple and easy to use: place the camera where you want it to go, turn it so it's pointing where you want it to point and adjust the elevation or tilt if you want to get an exciting angle. RoomSketcher will then generate a single 800 x 600 image that will almost certainly annoy you: for example, using the default elevation in a bathroom will create a snapshot of the bare walls because the camera's higher up than the toilet or sink. So you adjust the camera a bit, take another snapshot, adjust the camera a bit, take another snapshot, adjust the camera a bit... there's a reason other home design apps don't do this, and that reason is because it's incredibly annoying.
If you don't want to use your valuable credits on a 360-degree view you'll find yourself creating multiple snapshots and using terrible language when you realise the camera's been blocked by a door, needs to be very slightly to the left or has been tilted a little too far upwards.
Should you buy RoomSketcher?
The issues mentioned take the shine off what could be a genuinely great app. By limiting what you can do not just in the free app but in the paid-for versions too, the developers are severely limiting its appeal. If you don't mind the pricing structure then it's a brilliant option, but the pricing is prohibitive for us.
If you’re only interested in landscape design, there may be a better program for you in our best landscaping design software buying guide, while if you’re more focused on inside the home, you may want to look at our best interior design software buying guide.