Interactive Kitchen Design: Tools and Programs

3d Kitchen Layout

‎If you are planning a kitchen renovation or are getting ready to build your dream home, free and subscription online kitchen designing tools can help you virtually design your kitchen. You will need a desktop or laptop computer to use these programs as they don't work on tablets or smart phones. Opt for software that you can download and use wherever you are if you have an in-depth project.

Online Kitchen Design Tools

If you've never used any kind of virtual designing software or interactive tools, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with some free online tools. This will also help you decide whether you need to spend money on software or a subscription. Don't forget to create an account when using online tools so you can save your work and come back to it later.

NKBA Virtual Planning Tool

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is a non-profit trade association that promotes professionalism within the kitchen and bath industry. The free NKBA Virtual Planning Tool allows you to design an empty room from scratch or modify one of their pre-designed kitchens. This tool has it all, down to the smallest details such as light switches and electrical outlets. Here you can build a kitchen from the ground up, changing the shape of the room and choosing your flooring, cabinetry, counters, wall color, lighting, and appliances.

At any point, you can click on a link within the tool that will help you locate an NKBA professional in your area to share your design ideas with and help make your dream kitchen a reality. It does require a license agreement and download to use the tool.

Home Depot's Design Connect Kitchen Planner

Home Depot Kitchen Planner
Home Depot Kitchen Planner

Home Depot has a great free online interactive kitchen design tools on the Internet. With Design Connect Kitchen Planner, you can watch a video tutorial that shows you step by step how to use this free design tool.

  1. First, create a free account to join Home Depot's online community, where you can explore and share design styles, layouts, furnishings and materials with the virtual kitchen designer.
  2. Use the countertop estimator tool to measure your counters, select the color and material and create an estimate that includes delivery and installation.
  3. Save your ideas and collaborate online with a Home Depot kitchen design expert.
  4. When you are ready, schedule a free appointment with a design expert who can help you turn your plans into a new kitchen.

Ikea Kitchen Planner Tool

The free Kitchen Planner Tool from Ikea allows you to view a kitchen design before you buy it. This tool requires a download of the software on a PC or Mac before you can access it. Measurements of your current kitchen are entered first, and then you can drop in cabinets and fixtures into your layout. Different styles of cabinetry and doors can be sampled and viewed in three dimensions. The interactive kitchen design can be saved to your computer or the Ikea server in some locations, so that you can access it anywhere. The kitchen planner tool supplies you with a handy printable shopping list when you are all set to purchase.

Merillat 3D Kitchen Design Planner

Merillat Plan Your Space
Merillat Plan Your Space

Cabinet-maker Merillat's free of charge Step-by-Step Kitchen Planner walks you through a six step process of planning a kitchen:

  1. Step one has a list of lifestyle questions, which is where a professional decorator or designer would start.
  2. Step two helps you define your decorating style with visual imagery and provides images of completed kitchens for inspiration.
  3. Step three is about choosing cabinet finishes and door styles.
  4. Step four lets you explore the many options for storage and cabinet organization.
  5. Step five helps you plan the layout of your kitchen, with suggestions for a functional work triangle, options to include an island or peninsula, any planned structural changes or other architectural features, appliance, counter and sink options.
  6. Step six is about finishing touches such as cabinet corbels or decorative trim, counter top colors, wall color, appliance color and flooring options.

You'll need to register for an account with Merillat to use the planner.

Autodesk Homestyler

Another free online kitchen design tool is the Autodesk Homestyler. With this program, you can create 2D and 3D kitchen designs using real world brands and products. Create your own floor plans by dragging and dropping elements such as doors, windows, and furnishings. Explore the design gallery for inspiration and ideas and explore your options for color, size, and finish of brand name appliances and hardware.

Plan3D Online Kitchen Design

The plan3D Kitchen Design Tool package is a low-cost online remodeling and design tool. This software can create three dimensional and realistic looking interactive kitchen designs. The plan3D tool also automatically generates blueprints complete with dimensions, elevations, and overhead views. Plans can be printed or exported out. A free 3D viewer allows others to walk through your design.

Plan3D contains a large library of scalable kitchen cabinetry, backsplashes, fixtures, and appliances with working doors. Other rooms can be designed with this software as well. Cost is $2.95 per month when you buy a year in advance (or pay $35.40 for a 12 month subscription). One month of access to plan3D is $19.95 or you can buy a lifetime membership for $69.95.

Kitchen Design Software Programs

If you would rather have kitchen design software that you can download into your computer and be able to use it any time, try one of these programs, which all include design options for other rooms beyond the kitchen:

HGTV Kitchen Design Software

HGTV's Home and Landscape Platinum Suite 7.0 has improved photo realistic graphics compared to earlier versions with the same price point. They also offer a risk-free, 90 day money back guarantee on this all-inclusive design software program that lets you import photos of your current kitchen or create a completely new kitchen design. Choose paint, fabrics, cabinet styles and finishes, flooring, lighting and appliances. A version for Apple users is available as well. The program costs about $40, either downloaded or boxed with a DVD.

Chief Architect Home Designer Interiors

Earning the #1 spot on Purch's Top 10 Reviews for best kitchen design software in 2015, Chief Architect Home Designer Interiors ranks highest due to its extensive features and tools. Advanced features include:

  • Window and door designers
  • Cabinet designer
  • Construction cost estimator
  • Planning tools for HVAC, plumbing, electrical and lighting schematics

With all of its advanced features, the program still provides an easy to use interface with helpful tutorials to guide you along the way. An extensive library of over 5,000 objects allows detailed customization of flooring, counters, cabinets, appliances, and fixtures. You can also create personalized colors and textures from your own photos. The program has upgraded to Chief Architect Home Designer Interiors 2016 priced at $70.

Why Pay for Kitchen Designing Software?

Blue Modern Kitchen

The free online kitchen design tools have come a long in the last few years. When you have the option of saving your work or collaborating with a design professional, you may not need to buy a subscription or purchase anything.

However, the disadvantages of an online design tool are that you need an Internet connection to access the tool. This could be problematic if you are on site where your new home is being built and you are unable to pull up your kitchen design plans. The software programs may also have extra features that the online tools don't offer.

Tools Make Planning Your Kitchen Fun

No matter what type of program you decide to use, these tools make the planning phase of a kitchen renovation or remodel easy, creative, and fun. You're sure to find a great design to fit your needs and wants.

Interactive Kitchen Design: Tools and Programs