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Building a Home

My Review of 5 Free Floor Plan Apps

Published on:

6/09/21

written by:

Carrie Barker

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When preparing to build my custom home, I legit drew my floor plan out on a piece of paper. It wasn’t perfect and it was nowhere near to scale, but it got my point across to my builder. Nowadays, there are a bazillion apps that you can fiddle around with and draw up plans. I decided to test some out for you, so below is a review of 5 free floor plan apps I tested.

I’m going to share my limited experience with each of the 5 popular floor plan apps (spoiler alert … I am not a fan of any of them, really).

MY REVIEW OF 5 FREE FLOOR PLAN

So let’s just talk about my overall experience testing free floor plan apps. Honestly, I didn’t find any of them all that intuitive. Plus, the free versions offer such a limited and basic amount of options. Some of the options aren’t free at all but do offer free trials for you to experience the app before deciding if you want to pay for it.

In my experience, the best floor plan apps are premium priced and beyond the scope of what you need if you are just looking to ‘sketch’ out your future floor plan and don’t require all the pro features.

In full disclosure, I didn’t spend very much time with each app because I didn’t need to create a floor plan. All the apps I tested seemed to have a little bit of a learning curve and I didn’t want to spend the time watching ‘help’ and ‘beginner’ videos for 5 different apps. 

If I was truly in need of a floor plan app, I would spend at least one hour on each app to figure out which one is the best fit for me. My pros and cons below can help you narrow down which apps you want to spend that hour or so learning how to use :).

So without further ado, here are the 5 free floor plan apps and the basic pros and cons of each option.

FLOOR PLAN CREATOR

PROS

  • The middle-tier paid version offers more helpful features and is very inexpensive (only $4.95/yr)
  • Fairly intuitive but could take a while to really understand how to use this app 
  • You have the option to add furniture in rooms; this is helpful 
  • I like that you can view your plan in 3D 
  • I like that you have the option to go back and forth between your mobile devices and computer

CONS

  • The free version is very basic and you are only allowed ONE project (you have to pay $6.95 for any extra projects)
  • You only get a low-resolution export with the free version 
  • I didn’t see any video or documentation tutorials, but maybe those are available in the paid versions

ROOM SKETCHER

PROS

  • You get up to 5 free projects
  • There is a tutorial video library to help you learn the app and a library of help documents
  • With the paid versions, you have the option for 2D, 3D, panoramic views, and live walkthroughs of your floor plan
  • You can have professional plans drawn for you (however, I’m not exactly sure how the ‘professional’ draws the plan … I wasn’t clear on if you give them an idea of what you want or if they just come up with a plan)

CONS

  • The lowest cost is $49/year 
  • The free version is not very intuitive and I wasn’t sure what to do 
  • The free version offers only very basic floor plans
  • There are minimal features available with the free version
  • I had to create an account and download the app on my computer (I didn’t like this!)

SMARTDRAW

PROS

  • There are several floor plan templates available to edit as a starting point (very helpful!)
  • This app is much more than just house plans (i.e. house plans aren’t the only focus; there are other graphic design options as well)  – this can be considered both a pro and con

CONS

  • The free option includes only very basic options 
  • Smartdraw has a relatively low monthly fee ($9.95/mo) BUT it appears that you have to pay for an entire year so you end up spending nearly $120 to get the premium features

FLOORPLANNER

PROS

  • It appears that you can do A LOT of cool things with the paid version (but not the free version)
  • This app offers many support documents and videos on the website (to help with the learning curve)
  • I liked that I could go from 2D to 3D to see the room in both ways
  • I also liked the option to view the room as if standing in the room (very cool!)

CONS

  • It appears you can only create one room with the free version
  • I couldn’t figure out how to do a floor plan with the free version; I was only able to design a single room

HOMESTYLER

PROS

  • You have the option to design in 3D
  • This app offers furniture from real brands to add to your plans (this is helpful if you want to see how furniture will fit into a room)
  • You can get a panorama view of the floor plan as if you’re walking through your future home (very cool!)
  • It appears there are some great features if you’re willing to pay AND you’re willing to take the time to get through the learning curve

CONS

  • This app is expensive if you want the features available with the paid version (the Pro version is $19.90 per month)
  • HomeStyler seemed a little ‘techy’ and more advanced to me 
  • This app was certainly not intuitive to a basic user (i.e. non-pro) like me! 

I’d love to hear about your experiences with floor plan apps in the comments below. As I said above, I didn’t spend hours watching tutorials or reading help docs to learn how to use these apps. If you know of an easy app that offers many features in the free version, please share in the comments! 

Curious about where to even start when creating your custom floor plan? Download my *FREE* Floor Plan Questionnaire to help you think of EVERYTHING when designing your floor plan :).

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I’m Carrie Barker.

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