Posted on 28/01/2009. By Pete Otaqui.
A friend (hi, Al!) recently asked me about any recommendations for floor plan software. He works in a business that makes … well “small houses for kids” is about the best description, and I thought I’d post my reply.
Probably the easiest is something like Microsoft Visio. It looks and feels like a lot of the other Office applications (Word, Excel, etc) so getting started with it is fairly easy. Visio is for any and all sorts of line-drawn stuff, from flow charts to floor plans. It will have a library of ready-to-go things, and you’ll be able to add to that for re-use of your own stuff. To be honest I’d recommend this to start with, since you should be able to get stuff out it and into another package if you decide to get something a bit more powerful or tailored to architectural design later.
Smart Draw is a popular piece of business graphics software, and has a whole suite of tools especially for doing floor plans. There is a free evaluation version, and the full software costs $197 (so at the moment that’s about £197 isn’t it!?)
Sketchup is a really amazing piece of software, and there is a free version. It’s incredibly intuitive in fact just watch the introductory video and you’ll get the idea. You can use it for floor plans and also very easily turn those into full 3D models. Definitely download the free version and give it a try.
Be aware though that Sketchup is a 3D package, and while it will work well for 2D floor plans, it only shines when you step into … the third dimension. I think you should be able to export stuff from the other packages in order to create 3D models with sketchup later, if you fancied giving that a go.
Floor Plan / Architectural Software
I don’t really know anything about the more specific software for this, but this looks like a decent “top 10” roundup of software aimed at home / small business users:
And you might want to try a few google searches: