On first glace, Floorplan looks like The Sims - you can construct a house, furnish it and pick all the colours that you want. Well, that is what it does, except this is not a game - it’s serious about interior design, and within a few minutes, you know it. From the outset, this software looks like a serious design suite, not just a drag and drop interface. We gave the metric edition a turn to see what we could produce.
Without the manual, you are quite lost. The box comes with a quick start guide, which will point out the main features on offer, but to make real progress, you need to dive into the manual proper. There is a couple of tutorials which will give you a good grounding on what is possible, and what you can do once you have laid out your design.
Having said that it is complicated, using only the start guide, we managed to construct a mock-up of the pocket-lint offices, laid the right flooring, and put in a close match to the bathroom. Once you have something laid out, you can really see the potential of the software - you can rotate the views, and create a photorealistic view for display to the wife or your clients. You can also set up a virtual reality walkthrough to show the different aspects of your design.
Aimed at serious renovators, builders or interior designers, Floorplan is an ideal tool to make sure that what you are aiming to do actually fits together - you can plan the layout and furnishing of your extension, or how to change the layout of your interior walls - the various views mean you can actually see what this is going to look like, in glorious 3D, as well as on a detailed 2D plan, which you can then print and use as a guide for the work.
When furnishing - and the range of options is vast - you can create a materials list so that you know what you need to order before you start the job. This also means you can budget by putting in the prices for your materials. Overall, it means more control and better planning. Suddenly you have all you need to design a new kitchen, print off the details and take it to your supplier.
There is no doubt this is a comprehensive package, but we found that mastering the software did take some time. It was by no means simple, so if I was planning to repaint a single room, I’d probably not bother - the time spent figuring out what to do next isn’t worth it, when you could be painting. If you are a regular property developer, or planning a life in renovation, then the time spent learning how to drive the software will pay off in the long run. You need to be in serious planning and preparation mode to use Floorplan and to get it right.