If you want to redesign your home or office, we’ve taken a look at the very best home design software for Mac in 2018. Nowadays the best floor planning software on Mac is mainly cloud based such as the excellent SmartDraw although there are also some excellent desktop interior design software for Mac still around. Here then is the best home design software for Mac in order of ranking.
SmartDraw is a remarkably slick and easy to use 2D diagramming software that’s excellent for creating 2D floor plans and blueprints. SmartDraw used to be a Windows only application but the release of SmartDraw Cloud means that Mac users can finally use it too. SmartDraw Cloud feels like something that was designed for OS X which isn’t surprising since the developers created it mainly using Macs. SmartDraw is extremely slick, easy to use, logical and makes it very easy to draw floor plans on Mac. One of the things that’s really impressive in SmartDraw is the sheer number of templates available. There are literally thousands of templates including a huge number of ready-made floor plans which you can customize very quickly.
The other really clever thing about SmartDraw is that it automatically snaps objects and shapes into place to keep floor plans neat and symmetrical. This is surprisingly time-saving rather than having to manually align and adjust shapes. If you want to import Visio floor plans on your Mac, SmartDraw will also import Visio VSD and VSDX files although you can’t export them in Visio format.
You can also watch how to draw a floor plan in SmartDraw below:
Lucidchart is another easy to use cloud diagramming software that makes designing floor plans very easy on OS X. Lucidchart is similar to SmartDraw although it has a Chrome extension which allows you to work offline as well. Although it has less templates than SmartDraw, it still has plenty to complete most diagramming tasks quickly and easily. There are several Floorplan templates that you an customize and adapt for your own designs. You can also import and even export to Visio format although you’ll need a Team subscription or higher in order to do this. Lucidchart also has an iPad app which allows you to create floor plans on the move (see our review of the Lucidchart iPad app for more). Overall, a simple, convenient and fast way to draw floor plans on OS X.
Homestyler is by the makers of the industry leading AutoCAD for Mac software and is an extremely powerful floor planning software for Mac and PC. The surprising thing is that unlike AutoCAD, Homestyler is completely free to use but still feels like a professional floor plan app. The only requirement is that you sign-up for a Homestyler account. Homestyler has recently been given a facelift with a new interface that’s streamlined and more responsive than the old one. The latest version even allows you to import and export DWG files.
Creating floor plans in Homestyler is simply a case of dragging and dropping elements in your web browser. You can add small details like grass, gravel and water elements to add realism to your floor plans. The neat thing about Homestyler is that, depending on the items and objects in your floor plan, it can even provide pricing for your mock ups in the “Shopping” view. You can also share designs made in AutoDesk Homestyler to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. It’s really amazing that Homestyler is a free application and for professional floor plans, you can’t do much better.
Floorplanner is a very slick dedicated online floor plan software that makes creating floor plans or redesigning your home fun. Floorplanner is designed with beginners in mind that need help creating professional and striking floor plans on Mac. Floorplanner conveniently snaps items and objects into place to keep your designs both geometrically correct and tidy with minimal effort. There are even convex tools to help you create complex rounded walls and dividers in floor plans.
Like Autodesk Homestyler, you create designs in 2D but you can render them in 3D. This is a really nice touch as it allows you to better visualize what your floor plans will look like if you were standing in the room. The good thing is that you can use Floorplanner for free although this only entitles you to one saved floor plan. You then need to pay $4.99 for each additional floor plan or you can pay $14.95 which entitles you to 5 floor plans per year with additional floor plans at $2.99 each. The pro version is $29.99 per year and gives you 15 floor plans and additional floor plans $1.99 each plus it allows you to brand floor plans.
Floorplanner is great for beginners and professionals alike and although it’s not the cheapest floor planning software for Mac, it’s probably worth it for those serious about creating professional floor plans.
You can watch Floorplanner in action below:
Live Home 3D (formerly known as Live Interior 3D) is a really well designed floor planner for Mac and the great thing is it’s one of the few to have a Mac desktop client. The interface to Live Home 3D is perfect for beginners to floor planning as it’s so clear and logically laid out without being overwhelming.
The graphics in general are also superb with high quality 2D objects and highly realistic 3D rendering. You can design in 2D and 3D with a selection of furniture and objects from the vast Trimble 3D Warehouse which allows you to download thousands of objects and models. You can switch between 2D and 3D at any time and with no waiting around to see how your floor plans look close up. Just click on “Walk” at the top of the interface to walk through your new office or home design.
The overall attention to detail in Live Home 3D is amazing with around 2,100 materials to choose from – if the building material exists then it’s probably in Live Home 3D.
There are Arc Wall and Straight Wall tools for different shapes and you can easily drag and drop doors onto the walls to add them into your floor plans. You can also share designs directly to social media, as well as export to PDF, JPG, PNG and TIFF.
Live Home 3D is the only floor planning software for Mac that we’re aware of that is optimized for using the Touch Bar in the latest MacBook Pros. It’s also fully integrated for saving to iCloud and to take advantage of 64 bit architecture in macOS Sierra although it works on OS X 10.9 and above.
Overall, Live Home 3D is an excellent floor planning software for Mac users and at $29.99 is extremely good value for money considering there’s no monthly subscription. There’s also a free trial and a 30 day money back guarantee is you’re not satisfied with it.
You can watch how to create a floor plan in Live Home 3D below:
Roomle is a very attractively made 2D and 3D room planning app for Mac and iOS that makes it very easy to create floor plans. Roomle is very slick and extremely well thought out making it easy for beginners to floor design to create professional and attractive looking floor plans. Roomle is free to use although you need to register in order to save designs, send directly via email and work on more than design at once. For professionals or furniture buyers, there are also business packages available. Roomle has a surprisingly minimal interface with very few visible tools.
Roomle puts a big emphasis on walls and floors giving you full control over the thickness, material and type of walls and floors in your designs. You can very easily change floorings, wall colors and drop furniture from Roomle’s extensive catalog of objects and materials. The smart thing about Roomle is that it’s integrated with the furniture catalogs of major manufacturers such as Ikea, Samsung and Vitra meaning you can use (and purchase) objects from these brands in your designs. You can plan in both 2D and 3D and use the 3D orbit view to get a birds eye or ground level view of how your floor plan would feel like for real. There is less detail in the 3D view compared to most of the other floor planning apps for Mac featured here
The export options are limited – there’s no DMG support for example and you can’t share directly to social media but you can save floor plans in JPG format. You can also print them directly from your browser or the Roomle iPad/iPhone app. The Roomle iOS app is one of the best mobile floor planning apps we’ve tried allowing you to pretty much everything you can do in the web version. There’s even a Roomle Viewer VR app which allows you to view rooms with any VR viewer on iPhone.
Considering Roomle is completely free to use, it’s an amazingly accomplished floor planning app for Mac users.
You can see Roomle’s impressive 3D walk-through in action below:
OmniGraffle is easily the best desktop diagramming software designed specifically for Mac and an excellent alternative to online floor plan software. OmniGraffle is designed specifically for OS X (there’s no Windows version) so it naturally looks and works great on OS X. OmniGraffle is extremely powerful and is a popular alternative to Visio on Mac although you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version ($199) to get Visio import features and advanced diagramming tools. However, the Standard version of OmniGraffle is more than enough to create floor plans. OmniGraffle has a limited number of templates but the good thing is there is a mini-industry of user-generated OmniGraffle templates and stencils out there, many of which you can download for free.
You can watch how to create a floor plan in OmniGraffle below.
ConceptDraw is a professional drawing tool which is suitable for creating complex diagrams of all types including floor plans and building designs. ConceptDraw has a wide variety of templates for things such as office layouts, piping and instrumentation diagrams, heating and ventilation systems, air conditioning (HVAC) and emergency exit plans. You can also just have a bit of fun with it such as map out the floor plan for the apartments in Friends but at $199, it’s an expensive tool to just indulge in a bit of doodling. However, if you’re looking for an all purpose diagramming tool or a an alternative to Visio for Mac users, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look. You can also try a free trial of ConceptDraw before buying.
Google Sketchup has evolved from a free online 2D design tool to a very powerful 2D and 3D modelling software that produces professional floor plans. The most confusing thing about Sketchup however is the number of versions available. The flagship version is Sketchup Pro which is a professional tool costing $695. However, there is also a more basic free version called Sketchup Make 2016 which allows you to design floor plans and has a Mac desktop client. That seems destined to be phased out now though as Google has launched a beta version of Sketchup called my.SketchUp which also works for free in your browser and gives you 10GB of free online storage space when you sign-up for an account. Note that my.SketchUp is still in the early days of beta and subject to instability, crashes and bugs although it has a simple and responsive user interface.
There are naturally big differences in features between Sketchup Make/my Sketchup and Sketchup Pro to be aware of too and they can be summarized below:
There are also far fewer floor plan templates in the non Pro versions of Sketchup to get you going although it’s very easy to create them from scratch. One thing that Google SketchupPro really excels in is furniture and objects – there’s an enormous database of 3D models of just about any type of furniture or object – for chairs alone there are 35,000 choices.
SketchupPro isn’t cheap at $695 but it’s a very powerful professional floor planning and interior design tool. There are many SketchupPro video tutorials to help you get started and you can watch how to get started with Sketchup Pro below:
It’s hardly surprising that furniture giant Ikea has gone into the world of floor planning software and Ikea Home Planner is Ikea’s way of helping you re imagine your home (and then buy its furniture of course). Ikea Home Planner is a plugin for Chrome, Safari and Firefox that allows you to create floor plans in your browser. Although it’s nowhere near as advanced as most of the other software featured here, it is completely free to use and fine for creating simple mock-up floor plans. Ikea Home Planner allows you to place objects around a floor space to rearrange your home in 2D and 3D. The smart thing is you can “look” around the room at ground level in 3D mode to see exactly how your new home design would feel. Of course, because it’s an Ikea product, you can get pricing for all of the objects so that you can order them in store or online where available. Unfortunately but understandably, you are limited to objects and furniture in the Ikea catalogue although as anyone that has been to an Ikea will know, that’s pretty extensive. It’s also limited to lounge and kitchen floor plans although this will likely be expanded to other rooms soon.
You can watch Ikea Home Planner for Mac in action below:
Sketch is a beautifully designed digital design application that’s mainly aimed at user interface and UX designers but it can also whip-up some pretty good floor plans. Some of the companies that use Sketch for web design include Google, Apple and Facebook so that gives you an idea of how highly rated it is. Although it’s not cheap at $99.00, it’s definitely worth a closer look if you’re a UI or UX designer or if you like your apps designed specifically for Mac. Sketch is Mac only and features state-of-the-art boolean operations, multiple pages and boards and makes things quick and snappy when working on multiple projects with symbols and shared styles.
You can see how you can use Sketch to design floor plans when one Sketch user decided to redesign her apartment using it. She even created a useful free Sketch floor plan template to save you time creating your own. There’s also a growing collection of free Sketch plugins created by the devoted Sketch community to enhance your floor plans. You can try a free trial of Sketch before deciding whether it’s the right floor planning software for you.
Finally there’s Sweet Home 3D Which seems to have been around forever on Mac. Sweet Home 3D is a free interior design application for Mac which allows you to create 2D and 3D floor plans. Sweet Home 3D is unusual in that it has both a Mac desktop client and a web version. However, unfortunately we can’t recommend using Sweet Home 3D anymore because both the web version and Mac desktop client use Java. There are too many problems with Java on OS X, not least that it’s impossible to uninstall Java on Mac that it’s not worth the hassle anymore. Apple is gradually phasing out support for Java and so we don’t recommend going for a Java based solution like Sweet Home 3D when there are so many other options available.
You can see Sweet Home 3D in action below:
Mac Home Design & Floor Plan Software Checklist
There are a few things to be aware of when choosing home design software on Mac.
- Most of the best interior design software for Mac is online and although some have already moved to HTML5, the majority still use Adobe Flash. It’s therefore recommended to use Google Chrome rather than browsers such as Firefox or Safari as it tends to perform better and be more stable with Flash based software. Although Firefox and Safari both work with Flash, they are more prone to block elements especially if your version of Adobe Flash needs updating. Chrome generally works better with Flash and is faster and more responsive when running Flash based applications such as floor planning software.
- Avoid Java based home design software on Mac. There are simply too many problems with Java on Mac, not least that its impossible to fully uninstall Java from Mac. Although there isn’t much floor planning software on either Mac or PC that still uses Java, Sweet Home 3D still does and is one of the most popular which we mention at the end of these reviews.
- Floor planning software doesn’t need to be expensive. The great thing is that some of the best software for creating blueprints on Mac is completely free to use. Autodesk Homestyler and Roomle are perfect examples of professional 3D floor planning software for Mac which are professional interior design software for Mac which don’t cost a cent. Others like Live Home 3D are produce high quality results and are very reasonable priced at around $30 while most of the rest use a subscription based pricing model. Some like Floorplanner offer freemium versions which limit you to just one saved floor plan and then charge you for each additional floor plan you create. The days of needing expensive CAD software or dated apps like HGTV Home Design For Mac are gone.
- Although VR is still a fledgling technology when it comes to floor plans, it’s ideal for doing walk-throughs of 3D floor plan designs. So far however, only Roomle supports VR with a VR Viewer app for iPhone which works with any VR viewer. This is likely to change though as more floor planning apps embrace VR on Mac.
As we’ve seen, there’s some really excellent and free floor plan software for Mac out there both desktop and online. If you’re in a hurry and just want a 2D floor plan with nothing to download or install, you can’t do much better than SmartDraw for its huge number of floor plan templates, ease of use and slick interface. Lucidchart is also another very easy to use online floor plan solution that lacks the same number of templates as SmartDraw but makes it easy to draw floor plans on OS X.
If you want a dedicated floor plan or home design software, Floorplanner, Live Home 3D, Autodesk Homestyler and Roomle are all superb applications. For professional floor planners, we’d have to say Homestyler is the best as it’s made by the same makers of AutoCAD for Mac, is incredibly powerful yet is totally free to use.
However, Roomle is an excellent intermediate option and far more accessible for those starting out in floor design plus it has the best mobile apps for iPad and iPhone of any floor plan software out there. Live Home 3D meanwhile has the best desktop floor plan app for Mac, is superbly thought out and excellent value for money at $29.99.
Finally, Floorplanner is also really well done but it can be expensive as you have to subscribe to a monthly subscription fee and doesn’t offer any major advantages over the other floor planning software for Mac featured here.
We hope this guide to the best floor plan software for Mac has helped you. If you’re interested in diagramming in general, you may also be interested in our look at the best alternatives to Visio on Mac. If you’re into CAD, check out our look at the best CAD programs for Mac.
If you prefer to use a graphics tablet when drawing or making diagrams, check out our guide to the top drawing tablets for Mac.
If you have any comments, experiences or suggestions for other floor planning software on Mac, let us know in the comments below.