the best free resources for planning a remodel
when you’re planning a remodel, a large portion of time and money is allocated to the design and planning; the actual demo and construction is just a subset of the entire project. however, with so much money being spent on the planning, there are several excellent ways to get design assistance and advice for free - if you know where to look! using these resources can save you a lot of money as well as time once/if you’re ready to hire a professional architect or designer. let’s take a look!
houzz is one of the greatest resources in the way of home remodels. asides from countless articles on everything remodeling and endless inspiration pictures, the houzz sketch tool allows you to input products into an idea board and even create comprehensive floor plans. you can easily create product boards or perspective room views which makes pricing a breeze.
pros: the concept and perspective board tools are free and simple to use. the floorplan tool is free as well, but i've found it to be a bit more difficult to work with. all of the products have actual user reviews, ratings, and prices alongside their listings, which is extremely helpful in the planning stages of a design.
cons: only able to use houzz products, limited to a 2d/perspective view.
often times, kitchen and bath showrooms offer free consultations on your project, which can include as much as a floorplan and rendering of a design that you discuss with a certified designer. the kohler design center in wisconsin, for example, will provide you with an entire floor plan, renderings and bill of materials, just for making the trip there.
pros: free expert advice
cons: these consults are done in anticipation of making a commissioned sale, so it will be very focused on product and purchases, which will be limited to the brand or brands that the showroom you visit carries. the quality of your consult can be very hit or miss depending on the showroom you go to - be sure to check online reviews and offerings before going.
sketchup is an incredible tool for building 3d spaces. linked to an entire "3d warehouse" that allows you to input virtually any fixture into your project, you can get an extremely good sense of what your space will look like, from floor to ceiling.
pros: though there is a pro version, the basic version is free! many major vendors work directly with sketchup's warehouse so product models can easily be imported (scaled! - not a trait to be overlooked) and placed.
cons: sketchup is one of the easier cad programs on the market, but there is still a learning curve for anyone getting started on a new cad program. there’s also no built-in rendering extension, so you will need to find a plug-in or download if you want a photorealistic rendering. additionally, sketchup is open-source, so you will need to sift through some third-party models for the true vendor models.
havenly is an online interior design service that offers online "room makeovers" through prepaid packages. they provide shopping lists and 3d perspective plans for rooms based on your style and pictures of the current space you have. you'll need to pay if you want a full service package, but havenly offers an awesome chat feature that allows you to talk online with an interior designer for free.
pros: free advice if you need a quick and easy consult from a professional designer
cons: the chat feature is very limited in regards to deliverables, but you do have the option to purchase a package for more information (these are priced surprisingly well and worth a look if you’re just looking for a room facelift).
do you have any other resources you've found useful during your projects? let us know in the comments!
x - mk