Floor plan design software can be used to create many different types of floor plans for homes, offices, or other types of living spaces. These programs often offer pre-designed templates that are specialized for different types of rooms. Many software packages offer options for landscape design as well. Some programs also offer three-dimensional (3D) views of the design.
Most of these software packages allow users to create a two-dimensional (2D) vertical cross-section of a room or building. Standard floor plans usually show doors, windows, furniture, and cabinetry. Depending on the level of detail offered by the floor plan design software, the plan may also show design details, such as paint color or the type of flooring used in the space.
These programs may also offer graphic options to add visual details to the floor plans. While most supply standard images for door and window openings, some also feature scaled graphics for cabinetry, common furniture pieces, and landscaping items. Many of these optional graphics can be inserted and manipulated easily.
The options for interior design graphics in floor plan design software package may vary. Some provide photo-realistic imaging of furniture pieces or plants. Others may offer color or texture options, such as the ability to simulate hardwood floors or tile on the plan.
There are many uses for floor plan software. For example, an individual planning to sell his or her house may be able to use it to create a set of real estate quality plans. Many people use it to help redesign room layouts. Teachers often use the software to create classroom seating plans. A floor plan may also be useful to create seating arrangements for parties or weddings.
A common option in a floor plan design software program is to offer 3D views of a room. These programs typically allow an individual to visually, and virtually, inhabit the proposed arrangement of a space. Some of these 3D designs can be manipulated in such a way that a user may feel that he or she is moving through the space at eye-level.
Many of these software packages offer free trial versions on the Internet. These freeware programs typically do not offer all the potential options that the full versions do. Many purchased floor plan design software packages include a greater number of features or advanced technical tools.
Often, the more technically complex the software, the closer it mimics professional Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programs. Many professional architects draw construction blueprints on CAD software. Even the most technical floor plan software, however, will likely not be able to create professional quality blueprints or construction schematics.