Normally you’d associate the modeling of 3D environments with complicated professional editing programs, but there are in fact alternatives for those who aren’t masters of 3D design. Sweet Home 3D is a free, open-source tool you can use to design all types of 3D floor plans by using a comfortable visual interface and the complete object gallery included in the program.
The application interface is divided into four different sections (although the entire modeling space is completely customizable). The first of the blocks is the furniture catalog, a compendium organized into folders with all sorts of furniture and decorative models. Add them to your design by dragging the models directly to the window with the overhead view of the floor plan.
The program already includes a huge array of items, although on the software’s official webpage you can import packages with loads more models ranging from trees and plants to magazines and decorative sculptures. You can even do a little poking around on the Internet to find packs with the entire product lines of well-known stores like Ikea.
Below the objects list there is a table with all the items you have added to your project, but the real center of the design space is the floor plan in the upper right part of the screen, where you can erect walls and place the models from the objects window as already mentioned. Although the create mode is focused on a relaxed, “freehand” mode of use, all the scene dimensions and measurements of walls and rooms can be specified down to the smallest detail just like in a CAAD design program.
Finally, the 3D view offers you a view of your project via a moving camera that gives a 3D perspective on the whole ensemble. This also serves as a preview to be used as a reference for exporting screen shots of your rendered creations with all sorts of lighting and texturing effects. Besides the furniture and decorations, it’s also possible to specify the lighting source for each room and their level of illumination, as well as the color and texture of each surface, including a set number of preset surfaces. You can also export any of your own images and even record videos.
When it comes to exporting your project there aren’t a huge number of options, since this is a rather low-profile program aimed at personal use. Nevertheless, you can export your project to a PDF that also contains a list of all included objects as well as the floor plan. Sweet Home 3D is undoubtedly an ideal choice if you wish to get an idea how any home renovations or changes to your furniture might look before you get started.