I would like to introduce a new project: my reviews of free online interior design programs for PCs. There are many great programs that exist you can pay for like Sketchup Pro which cost $695 or Chief Architect for about $100. But if you want to save money, and just need to use the program for one to three rooms, there are other free options out there.
For this project, I am going to use my guest bedroom. It’s one of the smaller rooms of the house and it’s dimensions are pretty simple.
The first program up for review is Home By Me. Below are the images from my guest room design (2D, 3D, and realtime).
First off, it’s pretty obvious that there are a pair of french doors in the room that are not solid. Actually, solid French doors is not something I have found with this program, so I am sure they do not exist. Interior sliding doors, yes, solid interior French doors, no. Other issues I found:
- Limited / odd selection of furnishings- Strange hodgepodge of furniture and accessories across the board. If you are a traditional design person, you can do your living room that way but not you bedroom. Your bedroom has to be more modern/ Scandinavian.
- Limited building items- The French doors above are just one problem. In general there is a huge limitation of doors and windows as well as items like kitchen cabinets. Sure, you can change the colors, but that is about it. The style and look of the cabinets, among other things, is very limited.
- Item location mechanics- The fact that you have to really nudge everything around in the room utilizing both 2D and 3D views sucks. For example, I wanted to put in a ceiling fan in this room. You click to add, then you have to nudge it between multiple views to get it on the ceiling because one view sticks it under the bed as the first location, the other view places outside the room on the design grid.
- Wall installation- When adding a wall you have to hit a “confirm” button. It’s very frustrating.
- Adding items- You have to hit “Add Item” every time and go through all the menus again. A quick menu on the side or bottom where you could drag and drop items would make it a little easier.
- Fee- Your first three projects are free. Not bad. But then you have to pay. The selection of items available for the price does not add up.
- It’s French- Not that French is bad but not every word/ term is common to US English so it takes some time getting use to.
What I like about the program:
- Rendering- Going between 2D to 3D is actually pretty smooth and takes little time.
- Minimal design- The look is simple and not confusing it all. It’s not junked up by a lot of controls or menus. Everything is very simple and easy to find.
- It saves your images.
- 360 Views- need I say more? The 360-degree view is also a lot of fun. When you go to the 360-degree view it says something about using virtual reality on your smart phone to further immerse yourself into the room. That’s very cool if that is the case. I suppose the only way to find out is to get one of those box things for your cell phone and launch it. You can also download a 360 image. My 360 image came back pretty quickly. Not sure if this is because I did a small room or not. However, when you “immerse yourself” into the design, and there are a lot of items, it does take some time to load.
- First person views- You can literally walk through your design, which is totally freaking awesome. It’s like having a virtual experience on your PC.
- Shopping list- In case you did want to buy items you put into your design, there is a handy little shopping list created for you.
Overall, I like the program but I would not pay for it. So, really, for me, there is no long term use unless you just want to “pay to play” so-to-speak. Its that’s the case, I know there are some other programs out there that give you more for close to the same price. The 360 first person walk through experience is cool but the limited design/ building items outweighs this in my opinion. In fact the limited design/ building items is the main reason I would not pay for this program and would definitely explore other options.
Check out Home By Me at https://home.by.me/en/