By Nate Adcock on Sat, 04/16/2011
Home Design 3D by Livecad, might be amongst the coolest (and useful) apps for iOS I have found (if only it had Visio integration). The app works well in too many ways to count. If you are planning on redecorating, redesigning a part of your home/apartment, or want to plan your ultimate dream pad, you will want to grab this app.
Home Design 3D is great on the iPod touch (on which I tested), but would be clearly fabulous on an iPad. It enables you to design 2D room configurations, complete with furniture, custom wall and floor decor, windows and doors. Once you have completed (or at any time during) the creation of your masterpiece on the 2D drawing board, you can switch to a 3D view and take a virtual walk-through. The app supports iPod touch and iPhone running 4.0 or higher, and has a separate iPad version. You can grab it here in the store, and at a mere 54MB in size, you should be able to download through your cell carrier data connection or WiFi.
Home Design makes it easy for you to get started zooming through a finished, decorated design with predefined room templates, or you can start from scratch. Creating rooms from scratch is easy, and part of the fun of creating a design that matches your own home spaces (a quick matter of touch/select/drag). One tip: (if you have tile floors) it's pretty easy to get a dimension estimate, since many are standard sizes (12" in the US being quite common)--drop ceiling tiles are also usually a similar standard size. Once you have an accurate or desired room dimension selected, you can start placing furniture, doors, and windows.
The program comes with a decent but somewhat limited list of decorative items, and appliances, so I am hoping that you can add more by downloading from a central site. To add an item to your room, simply select it in the list, and then drag it into your design where you choose. The item will also continue to appear in a thumbtack selector panel so you can quickly keep adding the same item . There are 4 categories of home furnishings (living, bath, bed, and kitchen), and 2 categories for door/window types. You can add doors and windows of various shapes and sizes, but I could not seem to find a way to add simple openings in walls or adjust an interior wall length without reshaping the whole room.
After creating a room and configuring it with furniture items, it is a cinch to edit, move or change aspects of your creation. Selecting an item will cause a pop-up menu to display that will allow you to adjust parameters (scale or orientation, etc). Item selection also produces a select icon below to allow you to move an item without being covered by your finger. You can zoom in/out, pan and resize the room display or interior objects easily using swipe and pinch gestures.
The coolest part, of course, is actually viewing your creation in 3D and adding finishing touches like wall/floor coverings and textures, paint. etc.. Simply tap on 3D mode, and the app will quickly generate a view. You can opt to use a 360 degree rotate-able view, or fly-through mode to navigate. You can also select walls, floor, etc. to apply paint and textures, and choose a custom color palette for paints. The ceiling is not selectable, which is a bit of a limitation--the ceilings in my home are painted a different color than the walls so would be nice to simulate this in the app.
Once you have completed your designs, and have perused them in 3D, you can easily share them through integrated sharing features like e-mail, or Facebook. The app also allows you to integrate your saved home design templates with the desktop version of the app. It would also be nice if you could export to other program formats like Visio. The app includes a somewhat basic slide tutorial/help feature that will get most users up to speed.
Home Design 3D is an exceptional design app. The menus are intuitive, and easy to use. My wife especially liked the concept of this app. It did crash a few times while using it, but mostly it performed well, and I was more than satisfied with the capability. A reboot of your iOS device is recommended (as with all apps) after installing it. You can grab it here on the app store. iPad version here.