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We designed dozens of homes and hundreds of rooms. We carefully combed through all tools, and every program was subjected to a series of tests to measure utility, versatility, ease and user experience.
Personal experience was also calculated into the scores. We took meticulous notes during our testing phase recording likes and dislikes. These were all weighed in reaching a final verdict for each product. Every Mac home designer application we reviewed was either provided by the manufacturer or bought outright.
Furthermore, the manufacturers were not provided with our testing methodologies, nor had any influence in our evaluations. We also reached out to professional designers and asked their opinions about casual users designing plans. Home and interior design software has three main functions that we looked at closely during our review: construction design, interior decorating and landscape planning. Here is what we found helpful while using these programs.
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One of the main reasons to use a home design program is to create 2D floor plans that can easily be converted into blueprints. These plans include marks for windows and doors as well as separate levels with their own measurements. Photo import features are really useful because they allow you to open one or more pictures of a home you like and save them to use as inspiration while constructing your own plans. These can be images you find online or pictures you snap with your camera when you see a home you like.
If you open a blueprint of your home in the program, the trace feature can help you attach a room addition that scales nicely to your existing home. A cost estimator is another valuable tool. As you design your home, it provides you with a list of materials and the average cost of each, along with an estimation of the total project cost so you have an idea of what kind of funding you need to secure.
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Not all the programs in our review have this feature, but Punch Home Studio Design is one that does. Other features we looked at closely while testing Mac home design software are roof wizards and electrical- and plumbing-planning tools. Most of the programs we tested included some variation of these tools, though some included extra feature that gave them an advantage over the rest.
For example, all the program we reviewed, except for Interiors Pro, have tools to place a roof over your home.
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However, most of the apps create a standard-looking gable roof over the entire structure. Additional steps are required for more elaborate roof designs or to fuse several roofs over different home sections. Electrical and plumbing planning tools also vary by program.
Each interior Mac program we reviewed includes fixtures such as outlets, bathtubs, hanging lights and faucets.
If you are only using design software for interior decor updates, these advanced planning tools are not necessary. However, they are important if you need to make changes to a room, such as a bathroom or kitchen, where it may be necessary to move pipes and electrical wiring. Some interior design tools are used for structural changes — for example, when you want to open a room by knocking out a wall or to add or update stairs.
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However, most are fun tools that allow you to add custom-designed kitchen cabinets, textured walls or tiled hallways. We really liked the object-placement and editing tools in MyFourWalls. They were the easiest to use and the most intuitive. Nothing beats a floorplan in giving a clear view on a property.
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With Floorplanner, drawing floorplans becomes a breeze! With our intuitive editor you can have your first floorplan ready in minutes. Use our Auto-furnish feature to furnish your plan with a few clicks or pick furniture items one-by-one from our library that has over Change color, texture , size, thickness, location and orientation of furniture, walls, floors and ceilings.
While designing the home in 2D, simultaneously view it in 3D from an aerial point of view, or navigate into it from a virtual visitor point of view. Annotate the plan with room areas, dimension lines, texts and show the North direction with a compass rose. Create photorealistic images and videos with the ability to customize lights and control sunlight effect according to the time of day and geographic location.
Import home blueprint to draw walls upon it, 3D models to complete default catalog, and textures to customize surfaces.
Print and export PDFs, bitmap or vector graphics images, videos and 3D files in standard file formats. Extend the features of Sweet Home 3D with plug-ins programmed in Java , or by developing a derived version based on its Model View Controller architecture.