Gone are the days when you design a room by sketching it on graph paper and hope for the best. With the advent of the internet, there are many tutorials and software for designing a bathroom online. These tools allow you to "build" a room in 3D modeling, and input both dimensions and objects pertinent to your design. There is no end to the software available today. A search online for "Design Software for the Bathroom" returns hundreds of thousands of results—more than enough to satisfy the most discriminating person. This article will discuss software that will help you design your bathroom remodel. We will list resources and prices as applicable.
About 3D Software
Much of the software available today has a rather high learning curve, and unless you are a bathroom designer looking for a creative solution for a client, you do not need all the bells and whistles offered by many programs. You do, however, need a computer that will handle these programs. Typically, they are memory hogs and use a lot of resources. The sites that offer these programs will tell you the minimum requirement. Here is a typical list for one of the more popular software:
Pentium 133MHz Processor or better
64MB RAM (96MB recommended)
80MB minimum free hard disk space (140MB recommended)
Super VGA graphics card/display card with
800x600(1024x768 capability recommended)
Color display 16-bit or higher
Double speed CD-ROM drive
Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher
It's always better to have more. Most modern computers will have even higher capabilities than what is recommended, but it is nice to know what the requirements are. Your computer will tell you what is installed by using the control panel.
What You Need
For doing your own work, you don't need a ton of bells and whistles that will just confuse you. What you do need is a program that will allow you to input color, room dimensions, objects, and allow you to see the room from several different perspectives. A "color picker" is essential here, because you have the capability of inputting the exact color you want. This feature is essential. You don't want to be "just close." The color picker allows you to dial in the exact color you desire.
There is also software available that gives you an estimate of the cost of tasks performed. This would be a great asset because you can have a good tool for budget planning.
What's Out There?
Prices for software that has the capabilities you need will vary widely. You can pay for high-end software that you can use for other projects beyond just your bathroom, such as planning a kitchen remodel. Let's look at some software available today, their features, and what their prices are.
From smartdraw.com, this popular 3D software has the capability of helping you design your entire home if doing a full-blown remodel. The program has a lot of features you probably won't need or use, such as integration with Excel and Microsoft Word, and is used for all around design work. At $99.00, it's a good pick.
Another good choice capable of giving you what you want in a bathroom remodel. Punch! is an all-design software that allows you to go through a remodel project for your entire home, including landscaping. Available from punchsoftware.com, it also costs $99.00, and is my personal choice.
Kitchen & Bath Floor Plan 3D
For those who don't wish to spend a lot of money yet want the capabilities of a decent 3D program, this is the software for you. At $14.95, it has the capability to pick textures, colors, and the ability to control lighting, which is a very good feature.
There are countless choices for design software online. One thing to be aware of is that many manufacturers have an online presence allowing you to design your bath using their online interactive software. The downside is this software is usually designed around their products, and it does you little good if you have no interest in their product. It can, however, help you get a feel for 3D software and even an overall design for your bathroom project.
Whatever choice you make, it is always to your advantage to see what your project looks like in 3D. As a 3D modeler, I know that getting the perspective of all views will show you where your design might have a flaw. Check out these resources, make your choice, and have fun designing your bathroom.