Getting new furniture can often be exhausting, searching for the cupboards that can fit flush with your walls can often be tedious which is why you should consider designing and building your own furniture using furniture design software.
The first step of building your furniture usually involves designing it which can very easily be done with furniture design software. Then once you’re done designing it you can send the blueprints to your local carpenter or build it yourself.
With this process, rest assured you are going to get furniture that fits exactly how you want it to. Cuts out the middleman selling furniture to you and can hence reduce your cost.
Not only do you have complete control over the process, but you can also see exactly how it’s going to turn out. You can choose the quality of material used and also fine-tune all the measurements to fit your exact requirement.
Apart from being a cheaper and more precise method, when you build your furniture yourself you feel a sense of satisfaction incomparable to any other.
What is furniture design software?
So far we’ve been talking about the process of making your own furniture but to get started you’ll first need furniture design software that can help you in the process of making blueprints for your furniture.
These are usually easy-to-use software where you can drag and drop elements to compose various pieces of furniture and add textures to them and see how they might look in your room. Allowing you to design furniture that fits well with your room.
With a wide variety of free and professional-grade software available online there is absolutely no reason to not use furniture design software to design your software which neatly brings us to why you should use furniture design software.
Why use furniture design software?
With an abundance of furniture design software, it’s really hard to find a reason to not use them since they allow you to design your furniture accurately to the last dot.
Not only can you design furniture that is the right size, but you can also see how the final product is going to look with textured surfaces.
Designing using software is much easier than the other older method of drawing on paper using complex geometric tools and pencils. Apart from being less complex, designs made on furniture design software are easier to carry, save and send as compared to older methods.
Given that most people have computers it’s safe to say that anyone can design furniture with furniture design software without having any prior knowledge about design fundamentals or graphical design which opens the gate for enthusiasts and hobbyists to be able to design their own furniture.
These are just a few of the advantages of using furniture design software to help you design your furniture.
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Which furniture design software should you use?
That said, how does one choose a design software that they can use? In a sea of furniture design software, it can be difficult to find one that suits you. Here I have compiled a list of a few furniture design software that I think can be used by most people, enthusiasts, and professionals alike.
We start off our list with Google sketch-up, apart from being a very versatile tool it’s also available for free. It is one of the most popular 3D modeling software available for Windows and Mac.
Google sketch-up, unlike other 3D modeling software, is easy to use and can help you design numerous designs. It can help you design desks, cabinets, coffee tables and so much more while being easy and user-friendly.
You can also add textures to your surfaces and see how they might look in real life.
Apart from being easy to use, another selling feature for Google Sketch-up is its shareability, you can easily share your blueprints with other people over the internet and receive helpful criticism and feedback.
- Its 3D modelling is intuitive and the interface is easy to use even for complete beginners
- You can develop your projects in 3D space without having to worry about drawing the projections
- It strives to be as accurate as possible with an option to add detailed measurements to all your dimensions
- Sketch-up has a huge Extension Warehouse from which you can install extensions to make sketch-up work exactly as you want it to
- You can use sketch-up objects to work fast and keep your project organised
- You can generate reports of your project using the app
- Accuracy and speed are sketch-ups first priority hence they use inferencing technology to boost speeds while improving accuracy
- You can customise the UI for better efficiency
CADPro furniture design software is an easy-to-use 3D modeling software aimed at designing furniture.
Since this software is geared towards designing furniture it can make detailed joints and premade cabinets, making it easier to use.
Even though the User Interface is easy to use it lacks no features that a professional uses. You can make detailed dovetail drawers, cabinet boxes, face frames, and more with just one click.
This greatly reduces the time required to design furniture as you don’t have to redraw the recurring elements whenever you’re designing your furniture.
For example, being able to place drawers with just one click while making a chest of drawers is much easier than having to remake a drawer from scratch for all the individual drawers.
- You can share your designs with friends/colleagues over email with a single click
- You can export your designs into a PDF containing the different projections and blueprints for the furniture
- You can import pictures of your sketches made on paper and then place elements over this paper to make a full blueprint out of your sketched out idea
- Add more detail to your design with voice memos explaining the design along with pop-up text memos and pop-up images
Sweet Home 3D has an underwhelming User Interface but don’t let that confuse you because under the hood this furniture design software is as powerful as any other.
This software is not limited to designing furniture and can be used to design houses and building floor plans as well. That helps with some nuances such as the position of holes in the wall to attach the furniture on the wall. This is the kind of attention to detail that helps this software stand out.
Sweet Home 3D also sports a drag and drop feature where you can drag in components to the workplace to the position you want to set it in and the software will take care of the rest.
One of the best features of this software is that the code for the software is GPL 3 which essentially means that you can modify the source code if you wish to and don’t have any legal restrictions while using the software.
- You can add furniture to your designs with ease thanks to the searchable and extensible catalogue of furniture that has been organised into categories
- You can change the material dimension and material (i.e colour and texture) of the design and its subelements
- You can design the furniture in a 2D space while viewing it in realtime in a 3D environment
- You can highlight some details using annotations to annotate room names, text, dimensions and arrows to reveal important details
- See how your designs might look in real life by simulating lights and different environments
- You can import other projects and add backgrounds and change textures on them
- You can use plugins made by other users to streamline your design process
4. Blender 3D
Blender is by far one of the most popular 3D modeling software so it should be no surprise as to how blender made its way onto this list.
One of the limitations with Blender is that blender is a general-purpose 3D modeling software which means that it’s slightly more complex to use and for most people, it’s pointless to learn it since it has such a difficult learning curve.
In case you don’t mind learning how to use Blender you can learn how to use Blender through youtube videos. Blender has a great community supporting it.
For those who have been using blender so far this choice becomes a no-brainer as this software is full of features.
- Enjoy great looking designs with high-quality textures and lighting available in simulation mode
- You can easily branch out your designs to work on various variations of the same design at the same time with a non-destructive workflow
- Create and share your projects with otters by sharing the project file, this way the other person can change whatever they want and customise it to the next level
- Blender is an open-source project that has loads of community support, a part of which is the community developed plugins. You can even design your own plugins if required
Coming up number five on our list we have woodwork for inventor, another great app from Autodesk. This furniture design software is popular for its skeletal modeling design approach.
The skeletal modeling design approach is faster than most other approaches for building out industry-standard BOMs and panels.
This furniture design software is used mostly by professionals but it’s not limited to just professionals, some amateurs and enthusiasts use it as well.
One of the major selling points is the long 45 day trial period and even after that you can continue using the software but with limited access and features.
- You can easily swap materials thanks to the material assignment feature
- You can focus more on the design with mortises and tenons being generated automatically
- You can define the position of each element on the axis precisely
- You can keep track of your component sizes with an inbuilt size calculator for the various parts
- You can keep an eye on the cost of the design with the Bill Of Material feature (BOM)
SketchList was created to make it easier and quicker for carpenters and woodworkers to design furniture and this is exactly what they’ve been able to make with SketchList.
The previews are made to be as realistic as possible so that you can understand how the final product will look once you finish making it.
With a primary focus on independent woodworkers, SketchList strives to be as easy as possible and probably requires the least amount of setup required among the other software on this list.
The User Interface is a bit clunky and old school but that should not be a problem for power users.
- From its inception Sketch list has strived to be the easiest to use furniture design software
- Apart from being easy to use it was also important for SketchList to be easy to set up with as little set-up as required
- This software is mostly used by individual woodworkers but can be used by anyone since it has most of the tools required for a pro as well
- You can share the project files with people who have SketchList
- You can use a wide range of textures
- You can view how the design will look under natural light
Side by side comparison
|Exports to PDF
|Aimed at designing furniture
|CADPro furniture design software
|Sweet Home 3D
|Woodwork for Inventor
All the options are very competitive and it’s difficult for me to pick one out of the lot but if I had to pick one I’d either pick Google sketch-up or blender. While Google sketch-up might be out of the question due to the high price, it does have all the features anyone could want while designing furniture and floor plans, on the other hand, we have Blender 3D which has multiple drawbacks but is free to use and can get the work done as far designing furniture is concerned.
Yes, most apps have this functionality but some don’t.
No, the software automatically generates the other views for you.
Most of the programs we’ve talked about so far are available on the app stores for the respective platforms but in case they’re not there you can download them front the official website.
No, you cannot import projects from other programs into SketchList
Yes, there are a few free options, I would recommend using Woodwork for Inventor, the free version is limited but is good enough for beginners