Forming a detailed plan is the first step to starting a headache-free renovation, especially when it’s a kitchen renovation. This is where design software comes in. Ambitious DIYers who plan on reviving their kitchen may want to consider using a kitchen design software program. A user-friendly design software program can help even the most clueless of DIYers create an enviable kitchen sans hassle.
Interested in learning more? Read through this buyer’s guide and check out the list of top recommendations below. These products were built to simplify the reno process and provide additional assistance to anyone who’s redesigning their kitchen.
- BEST OVERALL: Home Designer Architectural by Chief Architect
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Space Designer 3D
- BEST FREE: SketchUp for Web
- BEST PAID: Punch! Home & Landscape Design Studio
- BEST PROFESSIONAL: SketchUp Pro
- BEST DESKTOP: Virtual Architect Kitchens & Baths 10
- BEST BROWSER-BASED: Planner 5D
- BEST MOBILE APP: magicplan
- BEST FOR LAYOUT DESIGN: Smartdraw Online Floor Plan Creator
- ALSO CONSIDER: KITCHENPLANNER.net
Before You Buy the Best Kitchen Design Software
You don’t need to be a tech wizard to use design software. In fact, anyone building or renovating a new kitchen can benefit from using a kitchen design program. Design software can help with the entire planning process, from creating a layout to choosing finishing touches. Even those who plan on hiring a designer can use design software for inspiration or to visualize their finished kitchen plan.
Both free and paid kitchen design software programs are available to use on a range of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Web-based programs are also available and are easily accessible with a browser and an internet connection. Some paid software programs also offer free trial periods. There are plenty of options to find the best interface for your needs.
Before buying or using the software, make sure to check the software requirements and compatibility. Some programs may be specific to Windows or Mac systems, Android or iOS devices, or even different browser types. In addition, many desktop software programs have RAM, CPU, or GPU requirements to take into consideration.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Kitchen Design Software
With the right kitchen design software, you’ll be one step closer to your dream kitchen. A comprehensive design software and an intuitive interface makes it easy for homeowners and experienced designers to create a kitchen layout. When choosing the best kitchen design software, consider the software cost, device compatibility, modeling options, and its overall usability.
Free vs. Paid
There are a number of free and paid kitchen design software options available. The best choice depends on a user’s budget and intended use.
Paid kitchen design programs typically include a wider variety of functions and may be more reliable when compared with free programs. Some paid programs offer the option of a free trial to help new users decide if the software is a worthwhile buy—this is a risk-free way to test if the software is suitable for your needs.
Free kitchen design software options can include a robust set of features, although they often do not offer the breadth of customizable options that the paid programs offer. Free programs are a great option for budget-conscious DIYers but often have some limitations, from slow processing to limited product libraries or rendering features.
Web, Desktop, or Mobile Compatibility
Kitchen design software options are available for web, desktop, tablet, or mobile use. Before downloading or buying a design software, it’s important to check its device compatibility. Some programs may be available for Mac or Windows systems, or iOS or Android devices. More comprehensive desktop software may have system requirements, such as memory requirements or storage space.
Web-based programs are generally easy to use as they don’t require any downloads. However, most websites are optimized for desktop browsers rather than tablets or mobile phones. If you’re having any trouble with a web-based program, be sure to check that the web browser and any active plug-ins are compatible and up to date.
Kitchen design software can include 2D or 3D modeling. 2D drafts show the length, width, and height of a layout: an overhead blueprint of the kitchen, for example. 2D drafting is helpful for space planning and laying out the design and its dimensions in an easy-to-understand format.
3D models display length, width, height, and depth. Beyond planning the kitchen layout, 3D models offer a visualization of how the design will look in real life. 3D visualization options go beyond the basics and are excellent for comparing different finishes and styles. Many 3D design software programs include a wide range of finishes and a product library, so users can see how their kitchen would look with different cabinet finishes, appliances, and other finishing touches. A varied product allows users to add in a wide range of appliances, from dishwashers to microwaves. Some programs also have the option for photo-realistic renderings or virtual walk-throughs of the kitchen design.
Designing a kitchen can be an overwhelming job for the average homeowner. A user-friendly design software makes the task more accessible. Kitchen design software programs are available for every level of designer, from the first-time homeowner to professional architects. Consider a software option with an accessible interface for your design level.
Beginner-friendly design software has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use controls. These can include premade templates, click-and-drag controls, and drag-and-drop features. Built with novice designers in mind, these programs have a shallow learning curve that makes them accessible to most. Many free software options are designed with beginners in mind, but paid programs can also include a range of novice-friendly controls.
Those with design experience may want to consider purchasing a more complex software program. These programs include a wider range of customizable features, made for those who want to flex their creativity. Although there are more design options, these programs can have a steeper learning curve for new designers.
Our Top Picks
Comprehensive design software helps to tackle the planning phase of a new kitchen. The best kitchen design software options offer a range of design options, including helping the user to create a detailed layout, placing fixtures (such as cabinets and appliances), and choosing materials and finishes. With the above features in mind, these kitchen design software programs are amongst the top picks for their usability and wide range of functions.
Made with DIY enthusiasts in mind, this paid version desktop software from Chief Architect is an excellent pick for designing kitchens and more. This home design program features smart building tools to help users create detailed scaled plans and 3D models.
This software is a top choice to create detailed layouts and beautiful renderings. To put a finishing touch on designs, users can choose from a wide library or create their own custom finishes, like custom lighting, countertops, and backsplashes. When the kitchen design is finished, this program has options to view and record 3D walk-throughs to get a good idea of what the finished kitchen will look like.
This design software is compatible with both Mac and PC computers. There is a learning curve to getting started, but the trade-off is a robust set of features to create and view custom 2D and 3D designs.
Get the benefits of paid design software for a fraction of the price with Space Designer 3D. This web-based program helps design kitchens and beyond with an internet browser and an internet connection.
Space Designer 3D offers an affordable per-project fee; however, those who need more use of the software can opt for one of the monthly subscription options.
Design features are plentiful and easily accessible from most updated web browsers—no downloads needed. The software offers 2D and 3D models, as well as photo-realistic renderings. Users can create a detailed kitchen layout and then add features like flooring, appliances, and cabinets from the varied object library to create a realistic kitchen design.
Widely used by professional designers, SketchUp is a 3D modeling program well suited to design anything from woodworking projects to new kitchens to entire home remodels. For newbie designers, the company offers a free version of their modeling software, which is easily accessible from any web browser. Considering its range of features, this web-based program has a relatively simple interface, along with a company-run blog for those who want to learn more.
The software offers 2D and 3D viewing, with all plans stored to an included 10 gigabytes of online cloud storage. Users can easily revisit their designs from different devices. The free version offers the basic web modeling features, like the core modeling tools needed to draw, arrange, and move geometry; standard material options; and access to the SketchUp 3D Warehouse, an open library that offers premade designs and models.
Made for designing kitchens, interiors, landscapes, and more, Punch! offers a versatile paid desktop software for home design. Available for both PC and Mac systems, Punch! has a variety of design features to create, renovate, remodel, or build a new kitchen.
A range of software options are available, but the Punch! Home & Landscape Design Studio is a top pick for DIYers. This software features easy-to-use 3D tools and realistic visualization options to make this an excellent option for both beginner and seasoned designers. The 3D modeling and 2D floor-plan layouts make it simple to plan a kitchen layout. Drag-and-drop features make this software easy to use, and users can select from a wide library of materials, textures, and furnishings to add detailed finishing touches.
To take advantage of SketchUp’s full features, consider SketchUp Pro, the paid version of SketchUp. Professional designers and architects use this program for modeling everything from individual products to entire homes. All aspects of a design are customizable, so users can truly create a one-of-a-kind kitchen.
SketchUp Pro offers the full suite of features to model anything in 2D or 3D. This software provides all the functions needed to design a kitchen, access to the SketchUp 3D Warehouse, and additional features such as unlimited cloud storage, high-quality rendering and presentation tools, terrain modeling tools, and even virtual reality model viewing. This robust software is an excellent pick for experienced designers who want to do more than just kitchen design. The software can be used from a web browser or downloaded to a desktop on both Windows and Mac systems.
Virtual Architect offers this user-friendly desktop program for an affordable price. This accessible software is made for those with no design experience, so anyone can open the software and start designing.
Users can design, customize, and even furnish their designed spaces using a large library of materials and appliances like refrigerators and range hoods. The drag-and-drop wizard makes it simple to design a new kitchen. When the design is done, this software offers photo-realistic 3D rendering options and 360-degree panoramas and walk-throughs.
This software version is compatible with Windows desktop systems. However, Virtual Architect also offers other home design programs (with kitchen design features) compatible with Mac systems.
Planner 5D provides all the functions users need to design a stunning kitchen, for free. This home design software can run on any computer web browser with an internet connection. No sign up is needed to get started, but creating an account is recommended to take advantage of the full suite of features. Users must create an account to save designs.
Both 2D and 3D viewing options are available, making it easy to build a layout and then visualize the space. This web-based design program has a limited catalog of 5,000 or so items and includes other rooms of the home, meaning appliances and finishing choices are limited. However, this may be a worthy trade-off for budget-conscious designers.
Rendering options are also available. Although Planner 5D doesn’t offer the ultra-realistic options of paid software, it offers a free kitchen design and visualization tool. To take designing to another device, Planner 5D also offers a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
Create a kitchen floor plan with ease using the magicplan mobile app. Designed for contractors in the field, this app is made for designers on the go. The magicplan app is free and offers multiple kitchen layout designs at your fingertips.
Users can measure and sketch 2D layouts using the intuitive app controls. It’s most useful for creating floor plans—it lacks the photo-realistic 3D rendering options of other programs but makes up for these features with its ease of use. Use the simple drag-and-drop features to visualize walls, cabinets, and appliances.
The app is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Two free projects are included with a download of the app, then users can opt to pay for a monthly subscription to add additional projects and app features.
Photo-realistic 3D renderings aren’t a necessity for every kitchen design project, especially if you already have a good idea of your ideal appliances and finishes. For many homeowners and designers, a classic floor plan is more than enough to start building a new kitchen. Smartdraw is a versatile diagramming software used by novice designers and professional contracts and architects. This software is a top pick for creating 2D drafts, from flow charts and infographics to detailed kitchen designs.
By using Smartdraw’s online floor-plan creator, users can lay out a kitchen blueprint. Choose from a template or create a new design. Use the vast floor-plan symbol library to add walls, windows, and doors, as well as stamp appliances, furniture, and fixtures into the floor plan.
With no sign-up process or downloads required, KITCHENPLANNER.net is an easily accessible and free kitchen design software—just click the start button for full access to the designer. The interface is very user-friendly, with room shapes, windows, doors, cabinetry, and furniture available in the side menu. Users can select an object and then drag and drop it anywhere in the room.
Since objects are chosen from a menu, custom design options are limited with this free browser program. Users can choose from materials, countertop, cabinet, and appliances options to get an idea of the kitchen design, but they won’t be able to add specific materials or models. Both 2D and 3D view options are available. This program does not offer photo-realistic renderings, but it’s an excellent cost-free starting point for planning a new kitchen.
FAQs About Kitchen Design Software
Kitchen design software makes it easier to plan and visualize a new kitchen. These programs provide a range of planning features, from creating a layout to choosing finishing touches. With a detailed design in hand, the building can begin. Before trying a new kitchen design software, consider the following frequently asked questions and answers.
Q. Is kitchen design software totally different from other home design software?
No, kitchen design software has many of the same features as other home design software—it’s just specific to kitchen design. Since kitchen design software only targets one room, it can be less costly than full-home design software. Ultimately, it is best to choose a program that suits your needs and budget.
Q. Can I use kitchen design software without buying a license key?
Yes, there are plenty of free kitchen design software options available that don’t require a purchase or license key to use.
Q. What other software can I use for kitchen design?
A range of other software options can be used for kitchen design— any design software that will allow you to create a detailed room design can also be suitable.