CNET Editors' review
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.
Sweet Home 3D helps you to design your interior quickly and easily: draw the rooms of each level of your home upon the image of an existing plan, change the color or the texture of each room, and drag and drop furniture onto the plan from a catalog organized by categories (windows, doors, living room and kitchen), in which you can import 3D models created by yourself or downloaded from various Web sites. All the changes made in the 2D plan are simultaneously reflected in a 3D view, and you can navigate in it either from an aerial view point, or from a virtual visitor view point. You can improve your home plan by adding dimensions and texts to it, print it, create a photorealistic image of the 3D view with customized lights, create a movie from a virtual path in the 3D view, and export the plan to SVG format or the 3D view to OBJ format to import them in other 2D or 3D software.
What's new in this version: Version 4.2 brings support for non-rectangular doors and windows, improvements in the background image import wizard and bug fixes.
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