Home Renovation Software
July 18, 2013 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Buying-Our-First-House-Filter: Planning Edition. I've already read some of the other great AskMe threads about first homes and renovations and all of that, but one thing I haven't really seen (here or on the oft-recommended DIY blogs) is a solid recommendation or list of reviews of planning software related to home reno/landscaping.

We're Apple OS folks but also have Windows 7 in a bootcamp partition, so I am looking for killer tools (doesn't matter if they're free or pay) to assist us in our planning of home renovations. Yes we have Excel and I know how to use project management software...specifically I'm wondering if there are any good "home architect" programs that could help me draft blueprints of the interior and yard and use that to plan out different things (including landscaping).

Bonus Question: anybody remember a DIY home-reno blog that had something to do with $100 budgets or something like that? It was called "the $100 home" or something gimmicky like that, but it was all about finding super-cheap ways to improve your home. I'd love to find that site again.
posted by Doleful Creature to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Microsoft Visio has excellent floor plan templates. I've used it for designing a basement renovation.

Otherwise, sites I find useful are:
Ikea Hackers
Apartment Therapy
posted by blue_beetle at 8:21 PM on July 18, 2013

One of the first things I did after we bought this house was put it into Google SketchUp (now somebody else's Sketchup). It was kind of tough fighting through the learning curve, but ultimately worth it.

I investigated some of the architecture and planning Third Party add-ons for SketchUp and wasn't impressed (although I didn't give them a fair shot.

Please share what you decide!
posted by notyou at 8:43 PM on July 18, 2013

OmniGraffle is a useful diagramming tool that comes with excellent snapping and layering features that make constructing figures easy. Graffletopia has some user-generated OmniGraffle stencils to extend figure-making (example).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 AM on July 19, 2013

I got some recommendations in this question that I asked.

I also seriously considered purchasing some variation of the Home Designer Software Suite. That link goes to the full suite ($100), but if you scroll through the description, there is a matrix of the different versions available.

Life caught up with me though, so I haven't had a chance to play with any of the software, so I can't give you a solid recommendation.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:16 AM on July 19, 2013

I can't believe I missed that question, sparklemotion! Now I feel like a heel. I'm interested in things like Home Designer Suite, but is all the 3D stuff gimmicky or is it actually useful?
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:12 AM on July 19, 2013

I'm glad you posted again, I didn't get a ton of recommendations in my Ask, and there's already been a new one here.

As for the 3D, if (big if) it's done well, I can see it be really helpful for visualization. It's one thing to put boxes down on a 2D image (and I can do that with graph paper easily enough), but my brain is not good at translating that into what the space will actually be like to exist in.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:12 PM on July 19, 2013

Rapid Sketch Is what Steph's dad uses. It's one of the industry standard sketch software tools available to Realty Appraisers. It goes for $149.

There's also CADPro which goes for $85.
posted by PipRuss at 1:39 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

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