Friday Flash File: Online Design Fun with Homestyler

Years ago I had one of those software programs that allowed you to create a room or series of rooms and then decorate them with paint, flooring, window coverings, and furniture. I had it installed on my cheap IBM computer which had less memory than the smallest flash drive has these days. It took about twenty minutes to render a three-dimensional image of the room and yet, I played on it for hours never minding the glitches and creeping pace. Today, I wouldn’t even be able to run that program on any computer I have but I’ve never been able to find a replacement…until just recently.

AutoDesk, the creators of AutoCAD (the world’s premier design software), has a free online home design software called Homestyler. It’s very easy to use and a lot of fun. Like the software I used back in the good ol’ days, you can create floorplans and decorate them with furniture, paint, flooring, and other accessories. They also have premade floorplans which you can play with as well. There are even a collection of YouTube how-to videos that you can watch if you’re having trouble figuring out what to do. Once your plan is done, you can see it in 3D and then send it to your friends!

There were only a few draw backs that I encountered. One was that the catalogue of furniture was limited so sometimes you have to use something similar to what you want (in appearance and size) but not the exact piece. They also don’t seem to have any window coverings which, to me, is essential in room decor. So, if you want a precise design this is not for you. But, if you want to simply get the essence of how a room will look, this is your tool! For design geeks like me, you can spend hours just dreaming up rooms which will never come to fruition…like the one below.

But who cares? It’s FUN! Give it a try and let us know what you think!


6 thoughts on “Friday Flash File: Online Design Fun with Homestyler

  1. I love this! I had a trial version of AutoCAD and haven’t had the $$ to actually purchase it. This sounds like the perfect alternative! I can’t wait to try it out. 🙂


  2. I’ve been an active AutoCAD user since its 13th edition, that’s about 16 years ago if not more. What I like most about it is that it is a completely open platform and a generic design tool. As an architect, I think I’ve tried dozens of “architectural” design applications but none came close to the versatility AutoCAD offers.
    Homestyler is nifty online application by Autodesk and although very limited is almost as good as any piece of software the competition ever came up with.
    But as cbdesignco rightly mentioned AutoCAD’s price tag is its biggest disadvantage. Nothing justifies what AutoDESK charges for it as far as an individual professional is concerned. No wonder it is one of the most pirated programs in the world.


    1. Yes, price is the only reason I don’t have CAD at home, Abufares. I wish there was a “light” version that was affordable but I don’t think there is. I don’t know how useful Homestyler would be for an architect, but hey…architects like to have fun too, don’t they?


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