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Should you use Kitchen Design Software?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 29 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Kitchen Design Kitchen Planning Design

With so many people now having PCs at home it's no surprise that someone embarking on a kitchen design should consider turning to their PC to make the job easier. But is it worth the aggravation of buying it and learning how to use it, particularly if you're only going to be planning a kitchen layout once in a blue moon?

What Can Kitchen Design Software Do For You?

Planning a kitchen layout can be done with pencil and paper, true, but the constant rubbing out and re-jigging makes the process tedious. The big advantage of kitchen planning software is that you can change it all around on a whim and see the effects immediately.

There's one other reason for using software rather than pencil and paper and that's for 3D previews of your changes to the kitchen design. At the click of a button you can see a very good representation of the effect of design changes on the look of the whole kitchen. As well as trying out different cupboard design combinations you can also select different colour combinations for door and worktops, including the walls and the floor, and see what they look like straightaway.

3D Kitchen Design Software is Not Cheap

The problem is that professional software, particularly 3D kitchen design software, is very expensive, being aimed at kitchen sellers and manufacturers who will make a lot of use of it. What you might be able to do is use ordinary drawing software which is often included in suites of office productivity software. This would probably only allow you to play with kitchen design layouts in plan view though, you wouldn’t get the 3D views and previews of different colour schemes.

Free Design Software is Out There

There has been a revolution in software development over the last ten years and many products are now available free of charge to download over the Internet. This software is called 'Open Source' software and an Internet search may well show up some interior design planning software, if not specific kitchen planning software with 3d views.

Not all of it will run on Windows through, it's more likely to be aimed at PCs running an Open Source operating system called 'Linux'. If you have a tame PC guru in the house then this could be worth trying out but there are quicker and less traumatic options.

Look for Kitchen Planning Software on Magazine Discs

One avenue worth exploring is to keep an eye on the geek magazine section of your local newsagent. Nearly all PC and computing magazines give away CDs or DVDs full of trial software and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see layout planning or drawing software on one.

If you're lucky you may even find 3D kitchen design software on one of those CDs, although it's likely to be a time-limited version, or have some other restriction like not being able to print your plans out, or only allow a certain number of design changes.

Free Kitchen Design -- If You Dare!

Another option, if you're brazen enough, is to go into a large DIY store that sells custom kitchens and get them to go through planning and layout options with you and run up a layout, then quote using their kitchen planning software. Most of these stores will not charge you for doing this though of course they are expecting you to buy the kitchen from them once the design is finalised.

If you have the front, you could just go into one of these stores, get your kitchen planning done for free, then make your excuses and leave, taking the plans with you!

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