Many different types of drawing software are available today to help you design your own home. Many of them use the same principles and ideas as the same software program that engineers and architects use on a daily basis. These programs are generally scaled down and simplified so that even a beginner can properly draw walls and doors without having to do to many steps.
Some of the home plan programs, such as DesignWorkshop Lite and Instant Architect, have limited abilities, such as printing, 3D modeling or detail development. Many will have a water mark left on the drawing when you print it. Some will not have a 3D modeling ability, so you will only be able to draw a floor plan and flat, 2D elevations. Many will not let you further the detail development, such as drawing details or adding specific details to your drawings. If you get a student version of AutoCAD it will have a water mark when you print you drawings.
Many of the software programs require more memory than your typical word processing or email software program. You will need to make sure your computer system has the necessary system requirements and that you are getting the right software for your operating system. If you are looking at using AutoCAD then you will need to get a workstation computer that has a lot more memory and processor speed.
There are different types of drawing software you can use. A 2D plan drawing software or a 3D modeling software will generate plans. There are drawing software programs that will only generate 2D plans. If you want to be able to look at rendered pictures of your home design, then you will want a 3D modeling software program, such as Google SketchUp, that will allow you to choose different materials. Google SketchUp is free for the public but requires a paid license for commercial use. AutoCAD will generate 2D and 3D drawings for you but has a higher learning curve. AutoCAD can cost thousands of dollars, while you can try SketchUp for free if you are using it for personal use.
Pay attention to the difficulty level of each software program, as some require basic knowledge of construction and how drawings are put together, such as Autodesk Revit and Microstation. Some of the basic drawing software programs are very simple to use, but they will also only give you very simple drawings, such as Turbo CAD. If you are looking for something that will allow you to do more in depth types of drawings, including details, then you will need a more complex drawing software program such as AutoCAD. Keep in mind that many of the software programs do not allow room for growth, so once you master how to do the program, it may not allow you any editing features to customize your work, but powerful programs like Revit and AutoCAD are made specifically for architects and engineers, allowing them to customize the program for their needs.
Choose one that will have the features you need, as some are geared toward drawings houses while others are geared toward doing landscape drawings. Many of the beginning drawing software programs will have templates set up for the beginner, so you won't have to create things like doors or windows and will only have to drop them into the drawing. If you want to be able to customize your drawing, then you will need to find a more complex drawing software program that will allow you to customize the templates.
The most expensive programs may not always have all the features you will need, so do not pay extra for something that will be wasted. Many of the full-featured drawing software programs are specifically designed for architects and engineers. But there are many less expensive drawing software programs such as Google's SketchUp that offer many of the same features but take out some of the customization capabilities.
There are many beginning drawing software programs available for free or for very little money, while others offer free trial periods allowing you time to test it out first. Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD can be downloaded for a 30-day trial period. Some drawing software programs also have forums and websites of users who will help you if you run into any problems. Some of the free home plan software programs will have almost unlimited potential, and many, such as Turbo CAD, which is reasonably priced at around $150, can be upgraded to more powerful software programs or at the very least be able to be exported and opened by a CAD program that can be used by an architect or engineer to further the design.