Review: Design your interiors with Sweet Home 3D Portable

Design and customize interior spaces with this sophisticated 3D freeware.

Sweet Home 3D Portable is a free interior design tool from eTeks that lets you make as many changes as you want to your home before so much as moving a chair--and not just furniture placement but the stuff you really, truly don't want to do over, like painting the kitchen. Sweet Home 3D Portable is just like the regular version of Sweet Home 3D, only it's fully portable so it runs without having to be installed in Windows. Recent updates include custom furniture materials, new wall textures, and improved photo angles.

The program's main display is divided into four panes: 1. The Furniture Catalog, a tree view listing all kinds of furniture and common objects; 2. The Home Furniture List, comprising all the objects in your home; 3. The Home Plan, an interactive floor plan of your home; and 4. The Home 3D View, a rotatable 3D simulation of your Home Plan. Of course, you must first draw and save a Home Plan. That involves things like room dimensions and wall thickness, so be prepared to do some measuring; but you can rough out a room and refine the details over time until you've accurately reproduced your entire home. But no one says you have to design real rooms at all: You can also use Sweet Home 3D to create your own interior spaces or an entire dream home. We started with a very basic layout that let us see how easy it is to move virtual furniture and add design elements and then view the results in 3D. It's pretty cool!

While Sweet Home 3D Portable isn't difficult to use, we highly recommend starting with the excellent Help file and tutorial. Sweet Home 3D can save tons of time as well as give you virtually limitless design options. The Portable version just adds more versatility to a sweet app. In the end, it's much easier (and cheaper) to try as many color schemes and layouts as you can think of before trekking to the big-box home center.

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