How to create a 3D model of your home renovation vision

Do you have many DIY dreams but not sure where to start? Let a free or low-cost three-dimensional floor plan program guide you.

While creating a 3D model is no substitute for professionally created plans and blueprints, it does give you a chance to experiment with ideas before hiring a contractor or architect. And some programs are easy to use: if you can use a tape measure and draw objects on a computer screen, you have the skills. Here’s how to get started.

You need all the measurements of the room or project area to recreate it. A retractable 25 foot tape measure is the latch tried and true tool, but you can also get rough estimates using augmented reality tools like Google’s free Measure app for Android or Apple’s iOS 12 Measure app of the same name. Some apps, like Magicplan for Android and iOS (prices start at $3), can both take the measurements and put together a floor plan.

Measure everything: the length, width, and depth of the walls, doors, and windows in the room, and don’t forget about fixtures like radiators. You should also take measurements of the furniture, appliances, and other items in the renovation zone. If you are looking to purchase furniture, appliances or shelving, please refer to the product specifications online (or on the packaging) for measurements.

You can find numerous home design apps with different prices in your app store. And some retailer apps, like those from and Wayfair, use augmented reality to display virtual objects, like furniture, in a room.

But if all of this is new to you – or if you’re adding a room – the free edition of Sweet Home 3D for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers might be your best bet, as you get an intuitive interface and many more draft options. The application has many appealing features for beginners, including an illustrated user manual and video tutorials. (A full version of Sweet Home 3D with more theme options is also available for under $15 in the Microsoft and Mac app stores.)

Sweet Home 3D has a free online edition that works in a web browser. Another browser-based drawing program, SketchUp Free has paid versions.

Planner 5D has free versions for both Android and iOS, giving you plenty of room to play before having to make any in-app purchases. The program also works on Windows 10, macOS and on the web.

Next, create a scale model in the program’s workspace, which will typically look like a grid of squares representing feet or meters. Refer to your dimension list and use the program’s tools and grid to create walls, rooms, doors, and other central elements.

If you’re initially intimidated by drawing a room from scratch, check your program to see if it includes templates or sample files. With a little click and drag, you can usually adjust these examples to fit the outline and dimensions of your own space.

Having determined the external dimensions of the room, fill in the interior space with furniture and appliances. Most design apps have an object browser window that lets you drag 3D models of common objects (like tables, sofas, and bar carts) onto your floorplan, where you want them. More stylish furniture may require an in-app purchase.

Depending on your software, you can also choose different window and door designs as well as stylized wallpaper, floors, curtains and other interior items to make your model as close as possible to your renovation dream.

Some apps offer a split screen view between the 2D floor plan and a 3D model that you can rotate and rotate. Other programs show the project in flat 2D view and you add the extra dimension with a tap or click. Seeing your space in 3D gives you a better idea of ​​how everything works within the space. and can highlight issues you may not have seen on the apartment floor plan, such as: B. Sprinkler systems that prevent cabinet doors from opening fully.

When you are happy with your creation, move on to the next phase. Print it out to use as a guide as you work, or send a copy to your contractor so you’re both on the same page when it’s time to start the job.

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