IMSI – FloorPlan 3D review

complete home design package
Photo of IMSI – FloorPlan 3D
£39.99

Thanks to the success of TV programmes such as ‘Changing Rooms’, people all over the country have been annoying their neighbours and putting their families through major stress by ‘redesigning’ the interiors of their houses. A note of cynicism there? Well, we have nothing against a bit of painting and decorating, but once you move into the mini-JCB territory and start talking about RSJs and pneumatic drills, we think there might just be better ways of spending your time.

Be that as it may, one of the problems of doing major work to your house is trying to visualise the results. Will that extension match the original theme of the house, or will people mutter ‘carbuncle’ as they walk past? With FloorPlan 3D you can at least get an idea of what the finished result will look like, because this software is pretty much an architect’s toolkit in a box.

Start with one of 1,000 existing house plans (yes, you can also design your new house from the ground up) or put in your own dimensions and you’ll have the basic design on screen without too much hassle. That’s because this is really a CAD program in disguise. Actually, there’s not that much disguise, really. You do get a front-end that guides you through the basics, plus there are plenty of tutorials to teach you the more advanced topics, but ultimately this is a powerful graphic design tool.

Which is a good thing, because it means that you have plenty of processing power available to visualise your creations. Design your extension or interior, add furniture, fixtures and fittings, wall and floor textures, windows and doors, then click a button and wait. After a while you’ll have a properly rendered result, so you can view your new design from several different angles. You can even create a virtual walkthrough to see what it would look like once finished. The quality of the graphics is excellent in this respect, although the program requires a fairly hefty PC to get the most out of it.

Nice touches include the option to design to a specific budget, plus a bill of materials to let you know the approximate cost involved in building the home of your dreams. The only thing not included in the box is patience and the names and addresses of some half-decent builders.

Company: IMSI

Contact: 020 7221 4600


Verdict
Hark... to the sound of hammering up and down the land. If you do feel the urge to completely redesign your home, then the contents of this little package will help make it easier. It's a bargain at the price, but be prepared to invest a little time learning how the program works; CAD software isn't learnt in a day. Once you finalise your design, plan for years of discomfort and expense as your dream home slowly takes shape. Ultimately, it might be cheaper just to apply for the divorce now.