Software to measure room layouts.
September 19, 2017 7:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm refitting my home and often need to take measurements to figure out what materials I need and what will fit where. I need a simple tool to draw rooms and shapes and figure out what can fit in. But wait! It's not that simple. My house is a boat and EVERYTHING curves in several directions at once.

This is not a frequent need so I haven't looked into software for it.
In fact up to now, I've been using powerpoint, because it lets you draw lines of a specified size and then move them about.
There has got to be a better choice though.

It needs to be either free or quite cheap. I'm not going to be doing a massive amount more of this.

It needs to be quickish and simpleish to learn.

It needs to be quite flexible. A normal room planner will probably not work because it probably can't handle all the curves.

2D is ok for now (in fact it's probably preferable).
But maybe long term I might think about learning something more complex and making a 3D model.
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You are probably looking for Trimble SketchUp. It allows you to create scale models (2d or 3d) with AutoCAD like functionality ("draw a line in this direction that is 10.675 feet long"), but has a really gentle learning curve. I think that there are still free versions.
posted by voiceofreason at 7:30 AM on September 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

For 2d, Inkscape does curves fairly nicely. It isn't great at dimensioning, but I've gotten along with careful use of grids and snap-to to create objects of a known size that I can then lay out as necessary.

And it's free and open source.
posted by straw at 7:37 AM on September 19, 2017

Can you contact the boat's builder for plans or drawings?

Otherwise, SketchUp is what I used to create a model/plan of my house based on measurements I took.
posted by notyou at 7:41 AM on September 19, 2017

Sweet Home 3d is super easy to learn.
This is a YouTube video tutorial for how to create curved walls.
posted by slipthought at 7:49 AM on September 19, 2017

Another vote for Sketchup. Once you get your floorplans in, it'll automatically calculate useful things like surface area, even for irregular shapes.

Also, depending on how precise you need to get, sometimes it's way easier to eyeball something and draw it out by hand than to figure out how to get the software to do it. If that happens to be the case with your rooms, you could always draw out a hard copy and scan it, and then trace the image in Sketchup or Inkscape to have a digital version for further manipulating.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:10 PM on September 19, 2017

Right, I've downloaded sketch up.
It looks daunting, but I will have a go hopefully this evening.

In answer to some questions.
Can you contact the boat's builder for plans or drawings?

Nice idea, but the boat is over 100 Years old from a different country and has been modified over and over.
In its time it's been a family run cargo boat, a party boat, a bar, a house. So, that's probably a non starter.

Also, I enjoyed the Sweet Home 3d Tutorial but that is a curve in one dimension. My walls curve in all 3 (mybe more), it's a whole different ballgame.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:48 AM on September 20, 2017

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