Interior design / ID software
April 3, 2005 10:58 PM   Subscribe

Fear of decorating: Is there actually good interior design software? I'm looking for something that lets me visualize room dimensions, colors, textures, materials, furniture dimensions, actual furniture, etc. I'm using Windows XP.

I'm pretty much of a lost cause when it comes to interior design and decorating, but I've decided that it might be time to learn a thing or two. I'm getting a house soon and it would be nice to make it feel like home. To that extent, I'm also interested in other ideas about how to learn to make rooms feel like more than just rooms.

I just can't stand watching HGTV with its sickly sweet jingles and hosts anymore.

If there are books that I should get that aren't too annoying for the design-disinclined, that would be good too.
posted by ontic to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My favorite book to give to new homeowner pals is The Essential House Book. It's a good book to use to start with the basics. Also, get familiar with online houseblogs and forums...check out the links and blogroll in the right hand column for a comprehensive list.

They don't make my favorite 3D design software anymore, but new products have come onto the market since. I just haven't used any of them. The products put out by Chief Architect get higher marks than most. This product, called Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer, has gotten some interesting reviews. And, in that price range, it wouldn't be an enormous risk.
posted by jeanmari at 5:43 AM on April 4, 2005

Best answer: This room planner from is a pretty cool tool just to figure out what stuff can go where. You plug in the dimensions of your furniture, the dimensions of your rooms, and you can spend hours dragging all your stuff around.

And this tool from benjamin moore lets you paint sample rooms in a host of different colors. You might be surprised at the outcome - I rethought all sorts of colors I thought I liked after seeing them "on the wall."
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:00 AM on April 4, 2005

As far as software goes, Behr's website has a great color chooser called Color Smart (click "browse colors" on that page). It's really nice for coordinating colors within a room, and you can try colors out in various settings.
posted by zsazsa at 7:00 AM on April 4, 2005

Great thread! I'm a recent homeowner, and have done a few small decorating tasks. But I'm a bit hesitant, and would like to have some kind of tools (besides books and my imagination) to help me out.

ontic - I'm just the opposite. I love watching HGTV. I feel like I'm doing research. I may not use anything they show, but it gets stored in memory for the future.

I'll have to check the links at home.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:27 AM on April 4, 2005

(TivoFilter) My wife has a great technique to watching HGTV. On a Tivoed episode of any of those 25 different home remake shows, she watches the first 3 minutes where they describe the problem (too messy, no central focus, whatever). She then fastforwards through all the how-to, most of which is obvious, and watches the last 3 minutes where they show the finished product. It actually ends up still being fairly informative and you get some good ideas.
posted by udeups at 8:49 AM on April 4, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the above ideas, keep them coming if there are any more out there.

Had to laugh out loud when I read the last two comments. At first, I felt like I was doing research. I've learned a couple really good things. Then, after the 5,000th time hearing someone describe how he was having problems with his "space", I started Tivo'ing it and doing exactly what your wife does, udeups. I still watch "House Hunters" for the sheer comedic value -- mostly of the direction (walk into room, comment on size, walk out of room before camera is off you, repeat).

But there has got to be something written on a higher level out there.
posted by ontic at 11:10 AM on April 4, 2005

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