With rising cost of living, an endless mortgage payment in sight and a growing concern for the environment, more and more people are switching to living in tiny homes. Of these tiny homeowners, 87.9 percent live in the U.S., 35 percent have a college degree and women make up 64.1 percent.
On an average, you can purchase a tiny home for just $23,000. So if you’re among those who think that living in a small space is the way to go, we’ve got these home design software options to help even minimize the cost of getting your dream tiny home.
1. Sweet Home 3D
Sweet Home 3D is a totally free software which you may download straight from its website or use online. There’s a donation link on the website but users are not obliged to pay and the only time you have to create an account with them is when you want to save your online creation.
First off, the controls can be a bit complex and the navigation tools not as intuitive as other design software. It would help if the tools are labeled clearly and indicate their functions but then working with Sweet Home 3D is almost like working with programs such as PowerPoint. After about an hour or so of tinkering, you’d find it’s pretty easy to get to grips with. It’s mostly a click and drag method, there are helpful pop-ups that offer useful tips and it’s easy to get a sense of what you’re doing with the split mode view.
To start the floor plan, click and drag with the desired dimensions. Then click on the create walls button, click to start of the wall and double-click at the end of the wall. Same goes for the floor.
To add the door, go to the Doors and Windows library and click and drag to the floor plan with your chosen door type. It’s almost the same process with everything else.
As a free software, it has plenty of features and functionalities. You can import your own blueprint and images and add to its already vast library. And the coolest thing about it is you can customize the walls, floors, roofs and furniture pieces for a more true-to-life feel.
- Free software which may be downloaded or used online via a Java-supported browser
- Work on a split mode
- Set precise measurements
- Extensive and searchable catalog of objects and design preferences (color, size, thickness, etc.) organized by categories
- Automatic 3D rendering
- Custom light settings for photorealistic images and videos
- Allows import of home blueprints. Supports formats BMP, GIF, JPG and PNG
- Print and export data, images, videos and 3D files to various standard file formats
- Allows additional Java plugins
- Create a video walkthrough of the result and share it on Facebook
- Sunlight function to show how the room/house will look at a particular time of the day or night
- Runs under Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.13, Linux and Solaris
- Available in English, French and 23 other languages
- Vast selection for design preferences
- Easy to use with click and drag method
- Helpful pop-ups that provide useful tips
- No app version
- Navigation tools is not intuitive
- The free downloaded software doesn’t have built-in features for sharing on social media
- Limited choices for furniture and types of doors and windows
Sweet Home 3D Demo Video
Click here for Sweet Home 3D
Homebyme is an online 3D space planning service that’s fun and easy to use. You can download the software or use it online on its homepage. If you choose to download the software, you can work on your project offline but you’d have to be online and sign in with Facebook or through an email account to save it.
Drawing a floor plan is easy. You just have to click the wall tab and the dimensions and the walls will automatically show up. It goes the same for the windows and doors. You just have to click on the windows tab and doors tab, select the type you want to use and then drag and drop. You can also change their dimensions.
The view switches to 3D when you start placing objects. The furniture items are divided according to rooms so they’re easy to find. You just select the object you want to add and drop it where you want it to be.
You can switch back and forth from 2D and 3D views or even use the avatar for a 360-degree view. When you’re done with furnishing, you can “immerse yourself” in your new project with this feature. The realistic image it produces for the final project also looks cool and realistic.
- Free downloadable software for your first three projects and first three realistic images. You’d have to pay for the succeeding projects.
- Pack of 2 projects costs $4.99, a pack of 10 costs $22.49, a pack of 50 costs $99.99 and a pack of 100 costs $149.99
- Pack of 2 realistic images costs $9.99, a pack of 10 costs $44.99, a pack of 50 costs $199.99 and a pack of 100 costs $299.99
- 1 pack of 360 images costs $9.99, a pack of 2 costs $19.99, a pack of 10 costs $89.99, a pack of 50 costs $399.99 and a pack of 100 costs $599.99
- Operates on both Microsoft Windows and Mac
- It’s free for the first three projects
- Easy to use
- Easy to find controls
- Fun 360 views
- First person views
- Can alter dimensions for any shape or unit
- Can import a floor plan
- Can print to scale
- Shareable to social media
- A suggested shopping list for items you can add to your design
- Realistic images
- Limited or odd selection of furniture as well as their styles and looks
- Free for only the first three projects
- No option to make curved walls
- Need to be online to save a project
- Have to switch back and forth from 2D to 3D views for placing items
- Need to keep clicking “confirm” or “add item” for adding walls or items
Homebyme Video Tutorial
Click here for Homebyme
SketchUp is a 3D modeling software used for various drawing applications such as interior design, architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film, and video game design. It allows you to build almost anything from scratch and be as meticulous as possible. The free software is called SketchUp Make and can be downloaded from the website. The paid version is called SketchUp Pro and is used by many professional architects.
Unlike many design software, users in SketchUp start with working in 3D. Another difference with SketchUp is it allows you to build everything and anything from scratch. This means there’s plenty of room for you to get wild and creative as you customize and add details. On the other hand, this can also mean that working with SketchUp can be complex.
Its user interface may be daunting at first but it’s actually pretty simple. The most commonly used tool is the pencil tool and push and pull tools. So the technique is mostly drawing then push and pull. That’s how most of the 3D models are created. This makes it easy to learn even for those with no CAD backgrounds. Within an hour, you’ll find yourself creating shapes and house models.
- 2D models
- 3D models
- Its 3D Warehouse library of free 3D models is the world’s biggest
- Lighting effects
- Layer manager
- Add model view, drawing scales, line weights, dimensions, callouts, and graphics
- Precise dimensions
- Export to PDFs, images and CAD files
- Autosave and manually save in Sketchup format
- Import JPEGs, CAD plans, PDFs and other file types
- Works under Windows and MAC OS
- Available in 10 languages
- Has a free version
- Smart and intuitive software
- You can build and create anything with it
- Lets you add complex details
- A vast library of free 3D models as well as aesthetic design options
- Plenty of video tutorials
- Tablet version for androids and iPhones
- The free version doesn’t allow import of files
- Only the paid version allows export of files
- Shareable only within the 3D Warehouse
- A tendency to stop responding when the file becomes too heavy
Click here for SketchUp
Floorplanner is, as its name implies, a software for creating floor plans. This would come in handy if you want to create the layout and interior of your shipping container home.
The screenshots below were applied in creating an actual floor plan for a shipping container home. It’s based from a 2 x 40 foot (12 meters) and 2 x 20 (6 meters) foot shipping containers.
Drawing the floor plan using Floorplanner was very simple because of its interface and click, drag and release method. You may draw out a room as a box or create single rooms.
Adding the walls, doors and other structural components are just as simple. For example, you can just click on the Doors icon to open the objects library, choose a door type by clicking it and drag it into position. The same thing goes for adding furniture.
While the general drawing of layouts and its user interface come off as user-friendly and intuitive, some of the program’s features can be hard to find. An example would be its cloning feature. Also, in order to get inside the 3D room, you’d be taken to another site (sister site) Roomstyler.
- Offers a free version with an online service
- Import JPG, PNG or GIF files
- Export in image or PDF format
- Easily share final floor plan to Facebook, Twitter or email
- Connects to Roomstyler for viewing inside the 3D rooms
- Has a free version
- User-friendly and intuitive
- Applying the furniture is easy
- 2D furniture designs are fun to look at
- Can’t print to scale
- Allows only one-floor plan
- The mobile app is available only for iPad and iPhone
- Difficult to set exact dimensions
- Zooming and panning in 3D mode can be frustrating
- No walkthrough feature
Floorplanner Video Tutorial
Click here for Floorplanner
5. CAD Pro
CAD Pro is a paid computer-aided design software for designing custom plans of deck designs, house plans, landscape blueprints or mechanical drawings which contractors and professionals can build from. It’s also used for engineering purposes such as technical drawing & drafting, home design & improvement, and landscaping design & planning.
You can download the software on its website.
It has so many buttons and features which a user might not be able to use in one project. Some of its cool features are its interactive features such as popup text notes, images, and precise audio files or verbal comments.
Its drawing tools involve creating shapes and lines with just the click of a mouse. Objects can also be customized with the drawing tools. Snap tools help with locating midpoints, endpoints, etc. on the 2D drawing.
- Advanced drafting tools
- Smart dimensioning tools
- Smart design tools
- Photo plugin
- Auto snap
- Sketch tracing
- Paint pro plus
- Auto shape tools
- Architectural tools
- Gradient fill colors
- 256 layers
- Customizable views
- Detailed fill patterns
- 2d3 Costs $89.95
- Operates on Windows
- Projects look professional
- Powerful tools
- Doesn’t support Mac OS
- Negative customer reviews on Amazon
Click here for CAD Pro
6. DreamPlan Home Design Software
DreamPlan Home Design software is a paid software, but it offers a free version for non-commercial use only. There’s a separate version for Mac OS and Windows OS. The software can be downloaded from its website.
It has plenty of intuitive design features that make the software straightforward and easy to use. Tools are organized by category and displayed as one of the tabs. Each tab has an Options button to customize dimensions. There’s also the Tip Bar at the bottom of the screen which provides helpful advice on how to use a selected tool.
Control tabs and features are found at the top, bottom, and sides of the screen. Instead of editing in the 2D view, the software lets the user create on the 3D view with grid lines over what’s supposed to be the lawn area of your project.
Building the project is as simple as choosing the feature tab and dragging to the desired location. Following the tip bar’s suggestions will also be very helpful.
- Switch between 3D, 2D, and blueprint view modes
- Easily design floor plans for your new home
- Easy-to-use interface for simple house design creation and customization
- Use trace mode to import existing floor plans
- Plant trees and gardens
- Build the terrain of outdoor landscaping areas
- Visualize your new outdoor swimming pool design
- Download additional content to spruce up your outdoor living space
- Include every detail in your kitchen design
- Explore bathroom design ideas prior to building
- Plan home decor with 3D furniture, fixtures, appliances, and other decorations
- Lay out and design your unfinished basement
- Create walls, multiple stories, decks, and roofs
- Try colors and textures before you commit
- Transform existing rooms
- DreamPlan Home Design Software for home use costs $24.99 while its commercial version costs $29.99
- Operates on both Windows OS and Mac
- Easy to use
- Tip bar for faster navigation
- Can edit in 3D view
- Plenty of tutorial videos
- Eliminates the learning curve for new users
- Has only one sample house plan available
- Has only 65 object selections and six plants
- Can’t import objects from third-party sites
DreamPlan Home Design Software Video
Click here for DreamPlan Home Design Software