Although it’s not a must-have software, there are some great programs out there that will help you perfect your furniture designs or get you started on building new projects. Here are some of the best of the best!
I am often asked about software for drafting furniture design, schemes, and more. Here are some tools that I use on a regular basis for this type of work. There are many different software packages available for this purpose, but these are the ones I use on a regular basis.
Best Overall: SketchUp
Why We Chose It: SketchUp’s ease of use, range of affordable pricing plans, and capability to provide value in a wide variety of projects make it a top choice for beginners and experts alike, making it our top choice.Pros
- Free version available
- Robust support forum
- Slightly different workflow than other design software
- The bottom two tiers do not offer a desktop app
SketchUp has been building its reputation as top design software for nearly two decades, offering the opportunity to efficiently plan and visualize small- and large-scale three-dimensional projects to amateurs and professionals alike. Reviewers praise the app’s ease of use, especially for users who are approaching design for the first time—even if its structure and workflow may be a little different from its competitors.
In Sketchup’s most basic (and free) version, users can run the company’s core modeler through their web browsers, eliminating the need to download any external software or share credit card details to start creating a new design. Free users also receive 10GB of cloud storage, access to a wealth of free 3D models, and the ability to preview designs on their mobile devices.
Still, if you upgrade to SketchUp Shop for about $120 per year, you’ll cash in on unlimited cloud storage and other perks, like the ability to upload your own custom photos and textures to better visualize your work. The second paid tier, SketchUp Pro for about $299 per year, offers a desktop app for easier use. Industrious users can pay nearly $700 per year for the software’s most advanced offering, SketchUp Studio.
To ask questions about using the platform, you can contact customer support by filling out a ticket online, but for faster results, many common questions can be answered in the app’s robust and active community forum. The software is known for being user-friendly: It’s certainly an easy application to pick up quickly, and a perfect opportunity to expose a curious beginner to online design. Some aspects of the app, such as its toolbars and menus, are customizable, enabling users to add or delete commands depending on how often they’re in use.
This tool is best for users who are looking to DIY their own three-dimensional project as well as professionals who are looking to streamline their design workflow. Consider Sketchup for furniture design, developing and visualizing a floor plan, or sketching a larger three-dimensional project.
Best for Woodworking: Sketchlist
Why We Chose It: Sketchlist offers tools that provide specific value to woodworkers, from cut lists and shop drawings to material layout diagrams and photo renderings. Pros
- Easy to use
- Specific tools for woodworking
- Free trial
- High price point for casual users
- No in-browser option
While many different software options exist to help professional designers and DIYers build furniture, Sketchlist offers software specifically for woodworking. Reviewers rave about how much easier the software makes woodworking jobs, from settling on a design to pricing out materials and making exact cuts. Sketchlist’s virtual three-dimensional boards can replicate the tools and materials you already have in your shop, and users can visualize board shape, joinery, and even countertops with just a few clicks. Expect to come away from the design process with a detailed material list—cutting measurements and all—as well as a clear design.
The most basic package, Sketchlist Hobby, comes with a one-time cost of about $200. For more advanced features—a customizable interface, part list generator, the ability to import photos, and more—users should invest in the more expensive Sketchlist Pro. Sketchlist Hobby customers can learn more about the software through blog posts, video tutorials, and a detailed FAQ archive, but support is also accessible via email. Those who purchase Sketchlist Pro can also rely on live support for any troubleshooting—a great perk for professionals who use the tool for their livelihood.
Sketchlist is compatible with Mac and PC desktop computers. The company prides itself on a user-friendly process, so getting started is easy. All users receive a 30-day trial, during which time they can look at tutorials and sample projects to see what kinds of woodworking tasks might fit their skillset or interests. Sketchlist can be used for visualizing rooms and designing cabinetry in addition to planning freestanding furniture projects, but beginners may want to stick to smaller undertakings until they’re more comfortable with the software and the building process.
Best for Professionals: Solidworks
Why We Chose It: Solidworks is a top-of-the-line software option with a wealth of capabilities for anyone designing three-dimensional products—furniture or otherwise. Pros
- One of the most revered names in design software
- Extremely advanced software with many capabilities
- Not wholly compatible with Mac OS
- Can be very expensive
- Not for beginners
In business for more than two decades, Solidworks helps users design any kind of three-dimensional product using whatever set of parameters they wish. Plenty of professionals use Solidworks, and for good reason: It offers top-notch visualization features, workflow assistance, and time-saving functional tools, like the ability to produce a full cut list for materials.
Solidworks is continuously held up as an ideal program for modeling and parametric design, although most users concede that there is a high level of skill and/or practice needed to use the software efficiently. It is not a good app for beginners or hobbyists, and would likely be the best fit for students or professionals who hope to make a career in some form of three-dimensional design.
The system settings and functionality of the app are highly customizable. Still, for all the rave reviews this software has earned from professional engineers and designers, its high satisfaction may come with a high price tag. The software pricing is available by request only, although discounts are generally available for students and members of some professional networking groups. Customer support is available via chat, phone, email, and social media.
- Google SketchUp (3D Furniture Design Software)
Platforms Supported: Windows & Mac OS
Google SketchUp is probably the most widely used free 3D modeling software in the market. Like SolidWorks, Google SketchUp supports a range of features for building projects like cabinets, bookshelves, and coffee tables.
One of the handiest features of Google SketchUp is that you can share your design online with other designers to receive creative feedback from them. With the help of the furniture design software, you can also look-up other’s work to get inspiration and also use them as a reference for your own design.
Features of Google SketchUp
- Lighting Effects
- 2D & 3D Models
- Layer Manager
Pricing: There is a free version of Google SketchUp furniture design software. However, you can enjoy its enhanced features at ₹21,901 per user per year.
- Polyboard Cabinet Design (For Cabinet & Cupboard Designs)
Supported Platforms: Furniture Design Software for Mac & Windows
Polyboard Cabinet Design is specifically dedicated for designing shelves and cabinets. With the user-friendly interface of this 3D cabinet design software, you can customize your cabinet according to your requirements. The 3D furniture design software further offers a huge collection of handles, door textures and glasses. With the help of its 3D modeling interface, designers can observe, add and modify even the smallest of details.
Polyboard Cabinet Design Helps Design:
Pricing: The price of this furniture design software varies based on the design you are working on.
- CADPro Furniture Design Software (Drafting Software to Design Wood Furniture)
Supported Platforms: Furniture Design Software for Mac & Windows
The drafting software for designing wood furniture as well as doing interior designing. Designers can trust the software not just for visualizing, designing, ideating and sharing all work but also creating all sorts of designs from simple to the most complicated ones.
The most convenient aspect of CADPro is that you can directly export and send your design via email, as it provides the option of sending your design or save your blueprint in the PDF format. It is compatible with various other software.
Additionally, it can also be integrated in such a manner where one can sketch, scan and upload designs and continue their work on CADPro. The furniture software provides additional features which can be used to communicate with clients as well as teammates.
Features of CADPro Furniture Design Software:
- Draw and Edit
- CAD Symbol Library
- Auto Shape Tools
- PaintPro Plus
- Readouts & Ruler Options
- Architectural Tools
Pricing: CADPro provides CAD Pro provides free symbols and clip arts.
There was a time where you would just go and buy a design software and start designing furniture. Well times have changed and these days you will need the right tool for the job. So what is the best software for designing furniture? That depends on your needs of course, so I decided to research various types of software and put together my list of the best of the best.