Blog article header - 10 essential features of best floor plan software

The 10 Best Floor Plan Software Features for New Homes and Remodeling Projects

- News

If you are a home builder, an interior designer or a remodeling professional, relying on a robust floor plan software is essential to communicate your vision to homebuyers and contractors, whatever your home design project is: a new home construction or a remodeling project.

This is what people usually usually search for on Google:

  • What is the easiest floor plan software?
  • What is the best floor plan software?
  • What is the best software to design a house?

We have tried to answer these questions as simply as possible and identified the most useful features that you should find in your floor plan software to make sure that you'll be able to draw a complete house easily without spending hours on it.

Here are the 10 essential features that we have identified to help you make the best choice:

  1. Surface areas and customizable measurements
  2. Import an existing floor plan
  3. Easy roof designing
  4. Print-to-scale floor plans
  5. Rooms qualification, annotations, and technical symbols
  6. Ability to customize slab and ceiling heights
  7. Library of customizable openings
  8. Easy 3D from 2D floor plans
  9. Simultaneous 2D and 3D views
  10. Catalog of home projects with collaborative options
Floor plan drawing

Why you need a Floor plan Software?

Floor plan software helps you get a clear and precise visualization of an existing or new home project. You'll be able to get an interior design project with a visual representation of each room in detail, but you'll also be able to get exterior visuas with deck, roof, terrace, garden, backyard, pool and outdoor layout.

If you choose the floor plan software that best fits your business needs, you will have one of the most powerful sales tools at your disposal.

First, it enables you to accelerate the homebuyer’s decision making. By showing your client the final result of a home project, you help them to understand your vision quickly.

It also enables you to be on the same page with your contractors by being able to clearly and percisely communicate your vision to them with detailed documentation.

However, not all floor plan software provides you with the same experience and options. Before making your choice, it is important to carefully assess which features are essential and which will help you to create your new home or remodeling floor plan project, save time and come out with the best visual representations of your vision.

1. Surface Areas and Customizable Measurements

When you start a home design project, especially a remodeling project, you may first want to draw the floor plan of the existing house. You may just want to evaluate the available area in the house, get dimensions, and probably start playing with the different possible layouts.

Keep in mind that not all floor plan software will allow you to do that so easily. You will have to check if the drawn floor plan includes measurements of walls and partition walls, as well as surface areas calculation.

You’ll have to check if you can customize walls and even add wall dimensions, such as height or thickness, where necessary, or add annotations on your floor plan. It can sometimes ease the communication with your contractors.

Some of the best floor plan software also offers you the ability to download a surface area table that includes the entire project's surfaces split by rooms.

2D floor plan of a small house with technical symbols

2. Import of an Existing Floor Plan

For a remodeling project, be it a kitchen remodel or a bathroom renovation project, or even the remodeling of a complete house, you may already have existing floor plans available that you can use as a model. In the best floor plan software, you can import an existing floor plan and use it as a layer that you can draw on. This will save you a lot of time and will ensure all dimensions are accurate. Once imported and redrawn on the software, you can let your creativity go to work and imagine a completely new project by removing walls, designing a new kitchen layout, and proposing a brand new home atmosphere to your clients.

3. Easy Roof Designing

Most CAD software offers very complete roof features and framework layout modules. All roofs, however complex they may be, can be made with this type of software. However, designing roofs with this type of software is often complicated and sometimes requires technical knowledge. If you are not an architect or a home designer, it will almost certainly be difficult for you to achieve what you want to do, or you may expect to spend hours of work to obtain an uncertain result. Among the easiest-to-use floor plan software, few are able to offer an effective tool for designing a roof. This feature is nevertheless essential if you want to visualize the exterior of a house in 3D or even if you plan to design attic spaces with sloped ceilings.

Cedreo, for example, offers an extremely easy-to-use roof design module. The magnetism and the automatic roof insertion are options that really help. Once the floor plan has been drawn, one click is enough to place a basic roof. It is then possible to modify its shape, remove a section of the roof, modify the roof slope, the overhangs, add gutters and downspouts, etc.

Front of a US ranch designed in 3D

4. Print-to-Scale Floor Plans

Being able to print your 2D floor plan to scale - meaning in a clear way on a single page - is essential to communicate with homebuyers or even contractors. The printed-to-scale floor plans are part of the sales material presented by housing professionals in commercial proposals.

Print to scale features are only available in floor plan software for professionals. It is usually automatically set up for you with default parameters which can eventually be customized.

Manual floor plan drawing

5. Rooms Qualification, Annotations, and Technical Symbols

These features are essential to your floor plan.

To easily identify the different functions of the living spaces and instantly understand how they are connected to each other (living areas, bedroom areas, kids area, garage, deck, etc.) some floor plan software lets you add colors on the different rooms of the floor plan.

The floor plan software for professionals also offers the possibility to add annotations to any element on the blueprint. Useful if you want to highlight particular details for your contractors for example. Room names, of course, can also be modified if necessary.

If you are going to use a floor plan software to generate your floor plans, you will need to know if you can add symbols to it. This is important for the following reasons:

- It allows your contractors to visualize the technical element they’ll have to take into account (plugs, water inlets, air conditioning, etc.)

- So that home buyers can identify the technical details that will be useful in their daily life in the home but also visualize the different living areas with non technical symbols like furnishing.

Among the items that need to be highlighted on a 2D floor plan, the different wall types are important enough to be mentioned. When drawing a floor plan you may want to draw attention to whether the wall is waterproof, isolated inside or if it is a simple partition wall.

2D floor plan of a small house with room colors and technical symbols

6. Ability to Customize Slab and Ceiling Heights

If you need to design a home with different slab heights, be sure to look the different options that your software can provide you with.

Using different slab heights can be a choice to delimit spaces in an open room. It can also be a constraint, in particular in remodeling projects, that you have to deal with. Anyway, it is key to be able to manage slab height differences on floor plans and to visualize them on 3D views .

Ceiling height can also be customized in some of the best floor plan software. This is useful to create false ceilings to highlight a particular area, to hide technical details, or to create a spectacular design effect in a room.
If your floor plan software enables you to manage slab and ceiling heights, it should be very easy to precisely draw your interior design projects. Make sure you take into account the International Building Code that is used for commercial and residential buildings and describes the minimum ceiling height you have to plan for in habitable rooms .

Double height kitchen and dining room designed in 3D with Cedreo

7. Library of Customizable Openings

Customizable wall openings give you a clear and exact visual representation of the home project. That's why you should try to be as precise as possible when integrating openings into your 2D floor plan, whether in terms of dimensions or visual representation, the latter being important in order to create 3D renderings.

Some floor plan software have tools that allow you to draw your own windows or doors. It is useful if you plan on integrating tailor-made openings into your project but it can be very time consuming. If your objective is to get a clear representation of your house project quickly, whether it is a 2D floor plan or a 3D view, you may want to look for a more efficient solution.

Most companies that make floor plan software offer a free trial version that we strongly advise you to sign up for. This is the best way to evaluate if wall opening library is extensive enough to fit your needs. The opening dimensions available in product libraries often correspond to standard dimensions. Nevertheless, you should be able to modify them slightly and customize the colors and materials as needed to be as close as possible to what you want to integrate into your new home or remodeling project. On professional software, the same colors used by manufacturers would usually be availabe for you to use.

Custom wall opening in 3D floor plan software

8. Easy 3D from 2D Floor Plans

3D Floor Plans are a powerful sales tools too. Ideal to help clients visualize a floor plan layout and assess the space available for circulation once the home is furnished.
But creating a 3D floor plan can sometimes be harder than you think. Some software eases that process of creating 3D floor plans by providing you with an option to do it automatically. Sometimes the option is available when creating the HD visual. The software automatically places the camera at the right place just above your 3D representation. The only thing you have to do then is to click on the rendering button to get a high quality 3D top view of your floor plan. You can either choose to show the roof or not and/or the upper floors of the home depending on what you want to show to your clients: 3D Floor Plan Top View with Exterior Details, 3D Floor Plan Top View Without Background or Isometric 3D Floor Plan.
2D floor plan tranformed in 3D floor plan instantly

9. Simultaneous 2D and 3D views

It can be frustrating to continuously switch from 2D to 3D when creating a floor plan to check if openings are well placed, the roof looks like what you have in mind, 3D objects are at the right place, etc.

In the best types of floor plan software, 2D and 3D views are available on the same screen. It means that when you draw in 2D, you will see your house being created in 3D instantly. It should save you a lot of time and make the process of creating a 3D floor plan much more intuitive.

Cedreo floor plan drawing workspace

10. Catalog of Home Projects with Collaborative Options

If you are a Home Builder, you may want to reuse floor plans you which you have previously used for other clients. Having your floor plans catalog available within your floor plan software enables you to create a new project based on a model floor plan. You don’t have to draw from scratch, just change the layouts according to your clients’ needs and you’ll be able to produce a new home proposal in no time.

A catalog of home projects can be particularly efficient, especially for people working as a team. Collaborative options can be useful. A member of your team will be able to create floor plans from scratch. He can give other team members the right to create new projects based on these model floor plans and slightly modify them according to their clients wishes.

To go further

These 10 features are not the only things you need to take into account to determine what is the best floor plan software for you but these are the essentials to help you to easily and efficiently draw your house floor plans.

To make sure you choose the software that best fits your business , some other elements have to be taken into account like the type of projects you are going to design, the average number of completed projects per month, etc.

You also have to think about the type of software you actually need. In some situations, CAD software can be more appropriate than professional floor plan software which can be seen as a sales enablement program. Nevertheless, both CAD and sales enablement programs can be used as complementary tools , handled by different people in your team.

The best way to make the right choice is to test different software by yourself. Free trial versions are available in most of the cases. Cedreo offers a 14-day Free Trial version .

These articles might be of interest to you: