Pros / This home design software offers sophisticated CAD tools that can create contractor worthy design maps.
Cons / There are so many tools that it can be overwhelming, and it takes longer to get a working grasp of all the tools and controls than other programs.
Verdict / This software presents top-notch tools for designing, including a home builder wizard and great guidance from video tutorials, so you can make a professional-quality home design. However, you'll first need to invest time and effort to learn how to use the program.
Home Designer Suite is a first-rate choice because of its wide-ranging design tool array and ability to customize all aspects of your digital home design. It has useful tools that enable you to design your new home or renovate the one you live in now, allowing you to craft your plans with as much detail as you want.
Home Designer Suite’s interface is chock-full of professional-quality CAD tools, giving you access to sophisticated choices not found in most home design software. But you shouldn’t expect to be able to learn the entire program in an hour. It can take dozens or hundreds of hours using the software before you realize its fullest potential. However, once you have taken the time to find your way around the program and get used to the controls, you will find it to be one of the most versatile and useful programs for home design.
When you launch your plan, the application asks you which units of measurements you want to use (metric or imperial), and the home style you want to design. Options include American casual, colonial, country cottage and more. Then the program gives you a blank floor plan to start your design. If you don’t know where to begin, you can download sample plans from Chief Architect’s website and customize them to your liking. All you need to do is move the rooms where you want them, and with little effort you have a custom floor plan. You can also import scanned floor plans or photos into the application.
This software automatically places a roof on each design you make. You can then customize it the way you see fit.
One of the handiest tools is its cost estimator. When you click on this tool, the program creates a spreadsheet with the cost for supplies you need to build the design you've created.
With thousands of objects to choose from in the object library, you can find appliances, furniture and household items in the sizes and styles you want. The library includes couches, beds, garbage cans, entertainment centers and much more.
When you select an object for your 3D home, you can customize it to your liking with the materials paintbrush. You can also import 2D or 3D objects into the library if you can’t find the item in the library. Chief Architect frequently updates their 3D asset library with improvements and new models.
The program does not have a dedicated kitchen builder wizard, but the user manual has detailed, step-by-step instructions to help you build a kitchen to your own specifications. You won’t get a fully designed kitchen, but it will help you plan where it will go in your design.
Another interesting feature of Home Designer Suite is the ability to export and render your floor plan to be viewed with either the Chief VR Cardboard on your mobile device, or the browser based Chief Architect 360° Panorama Viewer. This feature enables you to experience your plans like you are in the design.
Home Designer Suite has multiple terrain tools to help landscape around your digital home. You can add hills, water and gardens as well as create staircases, fences and more. With the program’s deck designer tool, you can create intricate decks, adjust the materials they are made of, their sizes and styles.
In addition, this software includes a large selection of exterior furniture and light fixtures, along with tools to create pathways, hot tubs, swimming pools and patio areas. There is also an extensive plant library with thousands of plant options to use as you create a beautiful new yard with flower beds, trees, hedges, shrubs and other vegetation. Only our top pick Virtual Architect Ultimate has more plant options.
If you have questions, you can watch more than 30 tutorial videos to help guide you through this application's features and tools. You can also access the FAQs section of the website or call the company for quick answers.
Of all the home design software packages we reviewed only three have versions available for Mac, and Home Designer Suite is by far the best. The other two don’t have nearly the power or versatility of this program.
Home Designer Suite is a versatile home design software that has all the tools you need to fully redesign your property or start a new one from scratch. Although the interface is complicated for a beginner, we recommend this software if you are willing to dedicate the necessary time needed to grasp the controls.