While professional furniture designers are opting for paid software to work through all the small details, regular homeowners prefer simple programs that can help them visualize their dreams. If all you need is to make a rough design of the furniture you want to install in your home, you can take advantage of a variety of free furniture design programs available on the market today.
Professional furniture design software is usually not required for average people who want to design their home interior. We reviewed five of the top free programs that can help you with furniture design without making the process too complicated.
Free furniture design software
1. Google SketchUp
Google SketchUp is one of the most popular free 3D modeling software. It has many uses, one of which is furniture design. You can build a variety of different 3D projects, be it a computer desk, bookshelf, or a TV stand.
Google allows you to share your projects online to get feedback from other designers. All you have to do is upload your project to Google’s Warehouse website or place them into Google Earth. You also have an opportunity to browse other SketchUp user’s projects to get fresh ideas or even use them as part of your own design.
In order to use this free software, you need to have 20 MB of free space on your PC with Windows 2000 or higher and at least 128 MB of RAM. It takes only a few minutes to install.
Amateur vs. Professional
Google SketchUp is a great program for amateurs. However, if you are designing furniture on a professional level, you might want to consider getting the SketchUp Pro version 5 or higher. These Pro versions are not free but are still less expensive than AutoCAD.
While it might take some time to become proficient using it, you can get started doing small projects right away. We were pleasantly surprised by the more or less intuitive interface of Google SketchUp compared to other furniture design software. The program provides you an animated instructor panel, which you can keep open for hints.
We appreciated the simple interface, which is a big canvas with the toolbars around it. Only one left-hand toolbar is sufficient for most of your work, however, you can change the settings to display up to twelve task-specific toolbars for your needs.
More than 100 swatches
Flexible modeling tools
Allows online project sharing
| Not suitable for most professional projects|
2. Polyboard Cabinet Design
This is a great free software for designing cabinets. You can choose handles, glass, shelves, and doors to make the right cabinet design. The cabinets are created using 3D modeling, so you have an opportunity to see even the smallest details as clear as possible.
Amateur vs Professional
This cabinet designer software can be used by both amateurs and professionals since it allows you to customize a variety of details. As a bonus, you can determine the cost of your cabinet designs.
Besides offering a 3D model option and a variety of details, this software allows you to create a cabinet, which is ready for manufacturing. You can choose all parts of the cabinet from a long list of materials.
You can add the number of slopes, add vertical divisions, and choose the space between them. You can choose the design of shelves (either fixed or mobile) and select the materials for panels, edges, and frames.
This program offers CAD features, such as zooming, a choice between 2D and 3D, etc.
This software runs on the Windows (XP/7/8/10) platform only. You need to have only 11 MB of free space to install the free Polyboard version.
Please note that in order to obtain the full features of Polyboard, you’d need to have a paid version. However, if you are an amateur cabinet designer, a free version of this software is most likely sufficient for your needs.
| Big choice of materials|
Wide choice of fittings
All the important CAD features
| Free version is not for professional Use|
3. Master Design ART-SHOP X-Lite
This furniture design software is available free for Android. It allows you to draw the furniture, which is ready for production. While this software is mostly free, you might need to pay money to get additional tools for your professional furniture building projects.
This software allows you to get an aerial view of the environment. Besides positioning and customizing your furniture, you can work with the interior design. You can position the camera to get different viewing angles. When you have finished with designing the furniture, you can choose a suitable finish.
You can choose from 3,000 items and several thousand finishes. You can import your project to other applications by Master Design.
You can download an application for Android or get software for Windows.
While this is an accessible software for both amateurs and professionals, Master Design Furnish has a rather steep learning curve. If you’ve never worked with CAD software before, you need to prepare for learning how to work with this software. The design is rather unrefined. It has multiple windows, which might be hard to get accustomed to.
The application is fairly easy to set up. You need to go through a few simple steps. The preset options can be changed later when you get used to using the software.
|Easy to set up|
Impressive abundance of libraries
Suitable for professional furniture design
Manageable currency options
Easy object import
|Steep learning curve|
4. Sweet Home 3 D
This is a simple home design software, which allows you to design all your rooms, including the kitchen. It’s easier to use than most of the CAD designing programs. However, this doesn’t make it suitable for professional use. The program has a good selection of objects but won’t allow you to make complicated designs.
The program offers about 100 objects in the library. You get 22 plants, trees, lights, bathtubs, and more. You can use them to decorate the room but it won’t allow you to design wiring or piping.
You have access to an online gallery that contains sample plans, which you can incorporate into the program. Using previously designed furniture plans can help you create a simple project of your own.
Drag and Drop
This program has a useful drag and drop feature, which allows you to drag and drop the objects into a 2D design. You can view it on a 3D screen later. The 3D model provides a realistic view of the objects you create. By clicking on the object, you can edit the color or material. However, you can’t edit the objects directly in 3D.
This program has a moderate learning curve. If you’ve never done furniture or home design before, prepare yourself to spend some time learning how to find your way around the software. While this program is particularly suitable for interior design, it can help you with furniture design as well.
|Large object library|
Quick customer support
Simple 3D modeling
Split 2D/3D screen
|Not suitable for professional projects|
Offers limited furniture design options
5. SmartDraw Cabinet Designer
SmartDraw is one of the most popular design programs available on the market. While it’s not completely free, the manufacturer offers a free trial version, which is full enough to let you create a variety of projects. The SmartDraw cabinet designer program can be used to design all types of cabinets, closets, and other furniture for kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and more.
You can start with about 12 cabinet templates and then integrate several hundred visuals. The automatic formatting features help amateur designers arrange and align the projects in order to create a usable design.
Amateur vs Professional
Whether you are using a trial or a full version, SmartDraw provides you with an opportunity to create a professional furniture design. Meanwhile, the software is fairly easy to use and can be a good choice for amateur designers.
Thanks to a dozen templates, new users aren’t faced with a blank screen. You can start editing a template to suit your needs. After a while, you can start a new project from scratch.
SmartDraw offers a sufficient number of objects to work with. You can add walls, windows, doors, fixtures for the cabinets, and closets depending on your preferences. You can plan anything from a garage to a laundry room.
Suitable for both professional and amateur use
Wide range of planning symbols
|Only the trial version is free|
After reviewing these five free furniture design software, we came to a consensus that the best choice for amateur furniture designers is Google SketchUp. It has all the necessary features to get you started from scratch without a steep learning curve. However, if you are thinking about advanced furniture design, you are better off buying professional software.