Pros / Its 2D and 3D views give you a realistic idea of what your design will look like in real life.
Cons / This program has a persistent problem with floating objects that is hard to fix.
Verdict / While Punch Home & Landscape Design Essentials has its weaknesses, the most important tools are all there. Further, it’s nice to be able to design your home and yard at the same time.
Punch Home & Landscape Design Essentials is generally easy to use, even for people new to using interior design software, and it has plenty of design tools. While it is missing some advanced tools, the program has an extensive selection of objects and sample floor plans. Ultimately, it can help you create high-quality floor plans and realistic 3D renderings of your home.
With its 2D and 3D views, this program can give you a good idea of how your home will look after you redecorate or renovate. You can even designate camera angles from which to view your digital design as well as virtually walk through your rendering. Further, you can view your home in dollhouse mode, which displays the house as though it doesn’t have a roof – a valuable perspective that shows you how your furniture fills the space.
Punch Home & Landscape Design Essentials boasts a large library of over 4,700 objects, including exercise equipment and home entertainment centers. Its plant library has a list of over 4,000 flowers, trees and shrubs to put the final touches on your digital front yard. You can also add electrical and plumbing fixtures like tubs, outlets, ceiling fans and chandeliers; however, you can't place wiring and pipes for these fixtures. While this software has a good-size library, other programs we reviewed have even more objects. For example, our top pick, Virtual Architect Ultimate, has more than 7,500 objects to choose from. While Punch Home & Landscape Design Essential’s library is fairly large, some of the items look dated.
The video tutorials on the company’s website can help you familiarize yourself with the program before you begin designing. To start, you drag and drop rooms into your floor plan. You also drag and drop objects, such as living room and dining room sets, into the plan, but you can only place them as they appear in the object library. Once you place the object in your plan, you must rotate it in the layout so it matches your home’s design. This is a little tedious and makes it difficult to keep everything centered and together. However, with a little extra effort, you can create a functional floor plan.
We also had problems with floating objects – when we dragged an object, such as a sofa, into the living room plan, it appeared suspended over the floor. While it was intuitive to turn objects in different directions in a sample floor plan, fixing floating objects proved to be more problematic. You need to click on the object and use the dimension tools in the text box to adjust where the item sits, which is somewhat complicated. We fixed the problem, but it took extra time.
You can import photos of rooms into this interior design floor planner, but once it’s in the program, it appears as a background image, not as a layered image. To trace the room and convert it to a 2D plan, it must display as a layered image. Background images only enhance the look of the design – they don’t have a functional purpose.
As the program’s name implies, it also has landscaping tools. As such, you can update your outdoor space as you make indoor changes.
In addition to the in-application support, which includes video tutorials, tips and a user manual, the Punch website features a FAQs page. If you need further assistance, you can contact the support team via email or telephone. Reps promptly responded to our inquiries and provided helpful responses.