When you invest in a new home, you do your best to shape it according to your own taste. When you buy a house that has already been inhabited by previous owners, there are only so many changes you can make to the design. But when you build your home from scratch, you get to decide exactly how you want the design to be.
Designing a home is usually left to the professionals, but not everyone affords to hire a designer. Fortunately though, there is a cheaper solution: home design software.
Home design software consists in apps that allow you to create and design your dream home from the floor plan up. Unlike CAD (computer aided design) programs used by professionals, which are really complex and have a steep learning curve, these commercial programs we're refering to are considerably easier to use, while still helping you create everything from ground up in your home, from the rooms themselves to your garden, patios and so on, to only renovate specific areas of your home and much more.
Regardless of your needs, home design software is usually rich in features and offers huge object libraries that help you add everything you want to your dream home. Here's what you can do with such a program:
add the plumbing and installations
choose the shape, size, color, style, material of most objects in the house
design your house in 3D
create beautiful gardens and choose between hundreds or thousands of vegetation types
create patios and more
These home design apps come with a huge library of objects (plant libraries, furniture, appliances, TVs, outdoor furniture, doors, windows, etc).
All good programs are 3D capable. You normally begin to work in 2D, but you can switch to 3D whenever you want. Some programs also give you the option to see your project both in 2D and 3D simultaneously, with the help of the split window view.
What is DreamPlan?
DreamPlan is a home design software created by NCH software. It is an affordable software that also includes a free version and it is very user-friendly.
The program is compatible with both Macs and Windows devices.
DreamPlan works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. As for Mac users, they require Mac OS X 10.5 or above.
The software needs the 64-bit version Windows and 64 MB video card with Pixel Shader 2.0 support.
How much does DreamPlan cost?
NCH offers a free version and the possibility to purchase a license for the DreamPlan software. As expected, the free version comes with its limitations, as it doesn't give you access to all the features of the program. But even so, it is a good opportunity to test the software before you purchase it.
The paid version of the program comes in two options: DreamPlan Home Design Software Home and DreamPlan Home Design Software Plus.
The first one (Home) comes with a license that limits you to only personal use at home.
The Plus version comes with an unlimited license for 1 user anywhere.
The normal price for the Home version was $35 and for the Plus version, $40. However, at the time of writing this article, NCH had a generous September discount so the Home version was priced at $16.97 and the Plus version at $19.99.
What are the features of DreamPlan?
One of the most noticeable particularities of DreamPlan is its user-friendliness. This might not be the most complex home design app out there, but it is a perfect tool for novices who are using this kind of software for the first time.
DreamPlan allows you to add items straight into 3D view, as supposed to most programs that make you work on your project in 2D and then switch to 3D view as you go.
DreamPlan lets you load in-app a sample plan and you can also add or download any other plan on the internet, and change it according to your preferences.
The objects library of DreamPlan is not as large as with other programs. There are only around 65 interior, exterior and landscaping items, but if you want more items, you can download expansion packages from the DreamPlan website, free of charge. However, you cannot import objects from third-parties.
The program has several useful tools and one of them is the roof wizard that lets you put a roof over your house. You don't need to do any manual corrections, you simply choose the area you want a roof over.
There are a few limitations with the DreamPlan and savvy users might find them frustrating, but beginners will most likely enjoy its ease of use.