Throughout the years, every time I moved, I always looked forward to setting up the new place. During college, as the next school year approached, I would create a floor plan on a scrap of paper and imagine where I’d place the bed, desk, television and everything else.
When I got my first apartment, it was the same way, but I had the opportunity to plan out more than one room. Unfortunately, the Internet was still in its infancy, and computer software that could generate floor plans were very expensive.
Today, students, apartment renters and home owners now have a very cool web app called FloorPlanner, where you can create a floor plan and place all of your furniture, appliances and more with one simple online application.
Create Any Floor Plan With FloorPlanner
Anthony briefly mentioned FloorPlanner in his article on 3 floor design services, and of course there’s always PlanningWiz, mentioned before at MakeUseOf. But I wanted to dig a littler further into FloorPlanner to show you how functional and useful this particular web app can be when you’re moving into a new place and simply want to get a look at different ways you could arrange the furniture.
The 3D feature of this application alone makes it well worth a try – why spend all day pushing your furniture around the house when you can get a virtual look at your room set up the way you want it? Don’t like it – then try something else by clicking the mouse!
With the free account, you get access to one “house” but you’re not limited to the number of times you can delete and recreate the floor plan, so this application is a perfect scratch-pad for trying out different room designs. If you’ve ever played the Sims series of video games, this will definitely feel like you’re playing the game.
You have access to different construction “items” such as walls, windows, doors and more – but you also have access to a long list of furniture and other items such as a couch, television set and even plants.
Each item has enough design choices that you can make your floor plan fairly detailed. The library contains 14 categories from including office, plants, garden objects and even people. You can simply drag and drop the item into your floor plan wherever you like. In this case I’m simulating the design of a dorm room with one door, so first I draw out the four walls and place the door.
You’ll notice, as you create your design, that while you’re drawing out walls or placing windows and doors, the app shows you the exact dimensions in either feet or meters (you can select your choice of units).
Once you’re done building the structural floor plan (this can get even more elaborate if you’re laying out an entire house), then you’re finally ready to start decorating! Now you can start choosing from the room items provided throughout the item library, rather than the construction items you’ve been using up until now.
Controls on the left side of the display screen, reminiscent of the controls on Google Maps, allow you to pan in all directions as well as zooming in and out. Here, you can see that I’ve designed a very retro-sheek layout with authentic leopard skin rug, big screen TV and a stylish mushroom bedside lamp. Yes, that’s a banana plant in the corner – stop laughing.
Now, in my opinion the absolute coolest part of this entire application is that when you click the little “3D” button in the upper right hand corner, the entire display mode changes over to a 3-dimensional representation of the floor plan you’ve just created – complete with little bitty animation on the television screen, how cool is that?
You can rotate the entire design simply by holding the mouse button and sliding the mouse around in any direction. View the room from any angle you like just to see how the layout will actually look in real life. Sometimes, setting up a room works great in your head until you start placing furniture and realize that it won’t work because certain furniture blocks a door or a window.
While the “export to picture” feature is unfortunately disabled in the free account, you still can share your designs with others on the web. Just click on “My Account” and go to your Dashboard. When you click on the green icon under “Actions” the screen above will come up, which provides you with links that you can send to your family and friends, or an iframe script that you can use to embed the design directly on your blog!
Have you ever used any floor plan design applications? Would you use one like this just to try out different room designs? Share your opinion in the comments section below.