We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Publishing software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Home Designer Suite review

$99 (around £61)

Manufacturer: Chief Architect Software

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Home Designer Suite is software that allows you to plan in 3D modifications to your house.

Anyone who's ever hired an architect or had a builder remodel a home knows that modifications to plans can easily cause the price to skyrocket, especially if you (or the person you've hired) can't visualize what you want. The $99 (it's available only in US dollars) Home Designer Suite can help you plan and communicate your interior and exterior design or remodel project in 2D and 3D with a simple one-click, drag and drop process.

Home Designer Suite offers templates as jumping-off points, including layouts for interior rooms, exterior landscaping, and entire home plans of various sizes and styles. In addition, you can set home styles that define the defaults for the design components, like certain cabinetry or flooring styles.

Outlining your basic room is as simple as selecting the wall tool and drawing the correct dimension-- the feet/inches or meters/millimeters display as you draw. Then, drag and drop details such as appliances, cabinetry, fireplaces, and furniture from Home Designer Suite's library. Home Designer Suite can specify the location of the tiniest and most mundane of items like bathroom fittings, electrical outlets, and individual plants.

Home Designer Suite can also help you plan and visualize your outdoor rooms--patios, decks, pools, and landscaped spaces, including terrain. The extensive database of plants comes with Plant Chooser that helps you filter the more than 1,500 items by flower color, bloom time, leaf colour, size, climate needs, and other characteristics.

Home Designer Suite's library is inclusive enough that an advanced user, with the know-how to tweak the defaults (and enough knowledge of local building and construction codes) could almost create an architectural plan detailed enough to hand over to a builder. 'Almost' is the key word: You'll need to upgrade to the $495 Home Designer Professional edition to create blueprint layouts, CAD, cross-section elevation, plan views, or print on 18"x24" paper (the architectural standard required for a permit in many locales).

For a small or medium-scale general contracting business, Home Designer Suite could help nail down details, especially with clients who aren't entirely sure what they want; or who need to visualize their options. Home Designer Suite quickly and easily creates 3D models of floor plans, renders a 3D walk-through or a doll house view, and can even print out your model for assembly. Changes are relatively easy once you get the hang of making finicky tweaks. But even for the most advanced user, the rendering is still going to look like a 3D model--no CSI magic here.

Home Designer Suite may leave home improvement fanatics feeling shortchanged. The program is great at communicating big ideas visually to a spouse, general contractor, or even over the counter at a home improvement store, but is no help in turning the idea into reality without the help of a professional. For example, Home Designer Suite does have a "Plan Check" feature that will review your layout and point out errors based on basic construction principles (like a room without a door), but unlike the $495 Home Designer Professional, Home Designer Suite does not review your design against national building codes.

See all: PC Advisor software downloads

Home Designer Suite Expert Verdict »

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
32- or 64-bit OS, 2.4 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 5GB free disk space, 256MB dedicated video memory, supporting OpenGL 2.1 or higher
File Size: 367 KB
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Home Designer Suite is fun, easy to use, and perfect for visualizing your home improvement project or planning your landscaping, but that's really all it's going to help with. The program easily gives you the ability to design your dream home or remodel, but without adequate knowledge and construction experience, you'll need to hire the architect or structural engineer anyway, just to make sure the dream becomes a reality.

  • Arcon 3D Architect review

    Arcon 3D Architect

    Arcon 3D Architect is an affordable alternative to the big boys of CAD software.

  • Grand Designs 3D Renovation & Interior review

    Grand Designs 3D Renovation & Interior

    Grand Designs 3D Renovation & Interior is one of three 3D CAD packages bearing the name of the popular Channel 4 architectural TV series

  • Lego Digital Designer 2.0

    Lego Digital Designer 2.0

    Finding stuff for the children to do over the holidays can be a tough task. But download the free Lego Digital Designer 2.0 software and you and they can spend hours creating Lego masterpieces.

  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen review

    Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

    Like the Michael Bay film of the same name, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen isn't very deep, but it's got enough flashy visuals and screen-shaking explosions to satisfy both fans of the series and common bystanders.

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 review

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1

    Although not without problems, Microsoft Visual Studio is the premier IDE for developing applications with the Microsoft .Net Framework and at least a contender for the best Windows-hosted C/C++ IDE.

IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model