Build a Free Virtual House

By Daniel Ketchum

One thing you want to be able to do before you sit down with an architect to discuss the possibilities of your new house is to have a good idea ahead of time of what it is you want in a house. While you can draw things out on paper, a better way to go is to use software to help you relate your ideas. And you don't even have to pay for it. Google Sketchup is available in its basic version for free, and can help you build your virtual house. The following steps will show you how to do this.

Things You'll Need

  • Google Sketchup

Step 1

Download and install Google Sketchup. Then start the program.

Step 2

Select a measuring template. Since you are building a house, you want to choose one of the two architectural templates. In this case, we'll pick the "Feet and Inches" template. Use the middle mouse button to Zoom by rolling, Rotate by depressing, and Pan by holding down the shift key while depressing. Click on Camera, Standard View, and pick Top.

Step 3

Select the Line tool or the Rectangle tool and draw out the shape of your house. Keep in mind that Sketchup helps by showing the line as colored green or red when you are running parallel.

Step 4

Switch the Camera view back to Perspective. Now select the Push/Pull tool and pull the sides of the house up. You can use the Dimension and Tape Measure tools to help you get the proportions right.

Step 5

If you are going to have a sloped roof, use the Line tool to draw the line representing the centerline of the roof. Then use the Move tool to raise it to the right height. If your house has an irregular shape, you may have to draw more than one line.

Step 6

Now use the Line tool, the Push/Pull tool, and the Move tool to shape the house by creating overhangs, doors, windows and so on. To create the doors and windows, simply use the Line tool to draw the opening. Then select the polygon and delete it. Then use the Line tool and the Push/Pull tool to create the door or window sills.

References & Resources