Not so long ago, an interior designer needed to carry a huge portfolio file with design ideas, tools for taking measurements, fabric swatches and lots of paper for sketching floor plants. Fortunately, most of these things are in the past. These days, all a well-prepared interior designer needs is to be equipped with the right apps and software on his smartphone or tablet. These amazing software tools not only help in waking up your muse, they can also assist with actual home décor work, help in marketing, aid in client communication and also manage the daily minutia of the business.
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Here are some of the best types of interior designing business software options in the market:
Professional Grade Design Software
Contrary to popular belief, interior designing involves a lot of moving parts. Design Manager, which has been at the top of the interior design software list for the past 30 years, offers the best reports in the industry.
The software tracks every nook and cranny of every interior designing project from start to finish. For example, a person can insert a custom rug into the system along with his choice of trims, fabric and finish. It will then take note of all the associated costs, including freight charges and taxes, and generate changes in real-time so that the designer can quickly create purchase orders, invoices and client proposals.
Design Manager also serves as a database and stores all records of fabric, colors or furniture in its servers. If a designer cannot remember a specific décor theme he used for a project, all he needs to do is check out the app.
Homestyler Interior Design
For a software tool with so many options, Homestyler Interior Design is so easy and fun to use. This is the go-to app for those who want to see how certain furniture and home décor items look in their home without even buying them.
Homestyler Interior Design can turn the photo of a room in a 3D landscape where you can add furniture, fixtures and lighting. It allows you to virtually clear out all the clutter and visualize different combinations of products, to see how your fully furnished home will look like.
For inspiration, Homestlyer Interior Design also allows you to browse its Dream Stream for articles, DIY, how-to’s and images. The Design Gallery allows you to “heart” and comment on designs you like. It also connects you to work of professional interior designers by giving you access to their portfolio pages, getting answers for your specific project or to get assistance with a big project.
Room Planner Home Design
Another great interior designing app, available for both iPhone and Android, is the Room Planner Home Design app.
The software allows designers to create mock-up floor plans in 2D and then turn them into 3D. You can explore the visuals of the room by adding furniture, accessories and different color palettes. All of this can be shared via Facebook to your client, allowing for faster feedback.
The app also accurately measures rooms for remodeling to the nearest 1/8 inch and uses a Bluetooth measuring device to input dimensions, so there is no need to take cumbersome tools along with you. You can also choose room shapes from the library like Square, L-shaped and T-shaped rooms, and take virtual tours. It also comes with 3D camera tools for rooms and dollhouse views. You can also use the Color Wheel to create your own personalized textures and shades, and choose from a library of objects by browising recent home décor trends.
This app is so much fun to work with, you might just find yourself taking random pictures of your room and tinkering with it.
Adobe Capture CC
This is one of the best new interactive software for designers that lets them capture any font, color, or design theme they like in a picture, which they can then manipulate into real interior decorating projects. The software combines four of Adobe’s previous image manipulation software to make Capture CC.
The app can help designers take a client’s vacation photo and transform them into color schemes for their new rooms. For example, if a client has a picture of the setting sun at a Grecian beach, these colors can be captured by the app and extracted to define their rooms.
You can also do the same for any font you like. Just take a picture of any typeface that catches your eye in a magazine, billboard or anywhere else and the app will provide you with a list of similar looking fonts in a few seconds.
You can also take a picture or choose an image from Capture CC’s Photo library to generate realistic PBR materials for 3D designing. You can also alter material and add more texture to them. What’s more, all of this can be saved to the Adobe Creative Cloud libraries for later use.
Studio by Minutes Matters
This super professional, not to mention totally cute, interior design app is the answer to your prayers. A few years ago, interior designers spent hours and hours perfecting sketches for their clients. Now, they can offer a variety of interior design sketches concepts with just a few clicks.
The graphic design software allows interior designers to start with easy-to-use templates instead of a blank screen. Professionally designed 2D CAD illustrations make the process quick and easy. The tool’s drag-and-drop feature allows clients to visualize furniture, fixtures, lightning, art, appliances and any other thing you want to add to your room design. These digital representations are an inexpensive and time-saving way to create concepts without the costly redrawing of sketches by hand.
Studio by Minutes Matters also reduces fabrication errors, overcome barriers to communication and even serves as a mini-marketing campaign for your project.
Virtual Architect Ultimate
You can now create you dream home with Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design. The new version of the software includes some wonderful updates, including interior design tools, textures, colors, objects and features that make home décor and designing fun. No wonder it is the top choice for interior designers all over the world.
Virtual Architect Ultimate has a vast library of over 7,500 items that includes window coverings, moldings, materials, furniture, flooring, paints and textures. You can also use its door, window, cabinet and fireplace designers, which allow you to select objects and edit them so that you can create your very own personalized design. It also has landscaping options from where you can design your dream garden, deck, porch and yard, so that your home looks as good from the outside as it does inside.
What’s more, the Virtual Architect Ultimate has other useful tools like cost estimator and a materials list that can help you out with your project.
Originally known as Google SketchUp, the software app comes in both the free and paid version. The app comes with an online library of free model assemblies called 3D Warehouse which supports third-party plugins.
You can start by drawing lines and shapes, zoom in and out of surfaces to turn them into 3D concepts and crop, stretch, rotate, resize and paint anything you like. The LayOut feature in the paid version of the app allows you to add model views to pages, adjust weight lines, add dimensions and graphics and choose drawing scales. Any changes in your SketchUp model will be reflect in LayOut and it they can be exported as images, PDFs and CAD files.
Additionally, SketchUp has introduced brand-new features which enhances your client’s experience. The Augmented reality features enable you to experience 3D models by merging them with the world around you. With the Select option and Entity Info feature, you can get all relevant information about edge lengths, areas of surfaces, volumes of solids, as well as group and component definitions.
SketchUp’s Tape Measure tool allows you to accurately measure a surface or unit and helps you in viewing its dimensions strings. You can also turn layers on and off to adjust the visibility of certain parts of your design concept and/or move section planes to get the perfect interior view of the model.
Live Home 3D
Live Home 3D is a home designing software tool that helps create staggeringly complex and detailed floor plans, three dimensional renderings and walkthroughs of future homes.
Live Home 3D allows interior designers to create 2D floor plans and stunning 3D renderings of future houses, built up to two stories with a loft. Its Project Gallery section includes a multitude of floor plans and kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom interior designing ideas. It also offers you free access to online help, video tutorials and a Quick Start guide.
You can also draw your own customized house plan from scratch using Live Home 3D’s Straight Wall, Arc Wall, or Room tools or you can simply trace the imported floor plans. Interior designers can personalize the 2D representation of furniture and fixtures as well as view real-time dimensions for ceiling, walls and floors in 2D plan view.
The Smart Dimension tool can be used to set distance between the walls, furniture, art and other underlying objects. You can also walk through your 3D interior design, move furniture, set multiple cameras to see the house form alternate angles, adjust natural lighting by setting up geolocation and overcast, as well as adjust the lighting of the house to get a realistic view of the interior of your future house.
Autodesk AutoCAD is one of the most complex software around. Despite this, it is used by almost all architectural and interior design business firms, making it a must-have.
AutoCAD gained popularity because of its true-to-life details and high productivity tools. The software allows designers to view and edit DWG filed from device storage, emails and cloud storage like the Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. It allows users to quickly create, change and mark-up drawings new drawings on the fly. It can draw and edit shapes using object snap and advanced editing tools like Arc and Offset. It also allows interior designers to view coordinates and properties of an object as well as select, move, scale and rotate any object that they wish to. AutoCAD can also create, lock, rename and delete layers and GPS to orient yourself within the drawing.
It also provides the option of importing values from Leica DISTO and sharing your CAD designs with others in your team.
Business Management Software
One cannot sing enough praises of this unbelievably wonderful business management software for interior designing. The software stands out in a sea of client management and customer service software.
The list of things Dubsado does is too exhaustive to list. This extremely powerful software works as a full time operations manager.
Here are some of its key features:
- Lead management
- Email scheduling and tracking
- Creating contracts and agreements
- Payment processing via Pay Pal, Square, Stripe and e-check
- Making proposals
- Time tracking and time sheets
- Creating design proofs
- On-boarding questionnaires
- Multi-user functionality
- Client and project management
- Creating and sending questionnaires
- Sending emails, forms, invoices and contracts automatically
It is no wonder Dubsado has a cult following.
About 80 percent of interior designers around the world use Ivy — and with good reason. The business management software can create customized product catalogs, save favorite items for future projects, create line sheets and manage deliveries. It is also a rich database of tips, tricks and webinars that provide users with information about running an interior design business.
Here are some of its best features:
- Project sourcing and tracking
- Time tracking, both billable and non-billable hours
- Automated and formatted tear sheets
- Budget management
- Idea management
- Cost-to-completion tracking
- Time tracking and expense tracking
- Resource management
- Client portal
- Delivery scheduling and management
- Contacting vendors
- Access to webinars
- Accounting by syncing with Quickbooks
- Contractor detail management
- Real time invoicing
- Networking and multi-user accessibility
Besides this, it has a wonderful mobile app and costs just $29 per month!
Trello is an interior designer’s secret weapon. The business management platform gives designing teams perspective on their current and future projects and how to turn them into meaningful tasks.
Here are its awesome features:
- Organizes and tracks team tasks
- File management
- Marketing and social media
- Checklists, with progress meter
- Deadline reminders
- Easy uploading of files and attachments
- Data filtering
- Archiving card records
- Activity log
- Managing VAT returns
- Chase supplier orders
- Time tracking and time reports
- Travel planner
- Assign tasks
- Email notifications
- Mobile functionality to access boards on the go
- Information retrieval and back-up
Whether it is interior designing or a just a fun family vacation, Trello keeps you organized.
Thanks to the internet, now it is so much easy and fun to spend hours on home décor and interior designing. The truly great part of these aforementioned apps is that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand them; they are easy to use even if you do not have any prior knowledge of interior design business software. They also allow you to multi-task, like creating floor plans, choosing furniture from multiple galleries, sharing concepts with clients or team members and even creating a cost mark sheets. Best of all, many of these apps are free!