Is Home Design Software Useful?

Is home design software useful? Learn how your home design ideas are used to make drawings of your new home. Home design software is designed for people who want to create a custom built house. It allows...

Home design software is designed for people who want to create a custom built house. It allows a user to build floor plans, house elevations, and 3D designs of what the house could look like. However, the various home design software cannot replace an architect, and are not recommended for creating working drawings.

"I don't recommend home design software," says George Hicks, a designer at A-1 Home Designs, a design service specializing in home and small commercial building plans since 1989. "People will come in with some kind of drawing made on cheap software. We have to figure out some way to get them unemotionally attached to it so we can come up with something that really works for them."

Home design software is gaining popularity, and people are taking on the do-it-yourself concept to make their homes more personal. Many complaints associated with the software relate to the difficulty in using it. Many users of home design software claim it takes too long to understand the software and learn how to use the features, and that it is difficult to create a floor plan.

According to, "Owner comments emphasize the fact that home design software is not as easy to use as you would expect. That doesn't mean working with these products can't be fun, but it does mean a novice user with little computer-aided design (CAD)and graphics experience will need to dedicate energy and patience to master these tools."

Instead, Hicks recommends that people looking to custom build a home go to a grocery store or a building supply store, such as Home Depot, and look at the racks of magazines and books to get ideas of what they like. He says they can get inspiration from these ideas, and then incorporate incorporate them into their own ideas and wants.

"As many plans as there are, we still have to draw new ones, because everybody's need is a little bit different," he says. "I tell people that a home is the largest emotional purchase a family will ever make. People buy houses because of the orchids in the front window, the way the house smells, the way the kitchen looks, or the way the bathroom looks. When I design a house for people, I can tell what they want because they keep repeating themselves in the areas that they are emotionally attached to."

Hicks claims that most people know what they want in custom design homes, but they do not know how to translate that into a set of plans, so that is when home design companies come into the equation.

"What we try to do is take the materials that they bring us, which may be somebody's plan, something they have sketched, pictures out of magazines and various collections they have made, look at them and talk about them, and then lay them aside to start asking questions," Hicks says. "I have a series of questions that I ask that really illustrates to me what they want."

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