Top 5 Architecture Design Software for Residential Projects

As an architect, the software you use to create your designs can have a significant impact not only on your design experience but also on the way you are able to present that design to your client.  From a hand-drafted design on paper to 2D CAD tools like AutoCAD to the modern 3D architecture design software, staying up to date and using modern technology has always been crucial to delivering beautiful designs. But not every software is created equal. Some are more useful for a particular purpose than others. If you are looking for an architecture software for residential projects, a software that excels in infrastructure projects is a poor fit, irrespective of how good that software is. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe”. It is imperative to put in the time upfront in selecting the right tool.

In this article, we analyze the top 5 architecture software for residential projects and rate them based on their ease of use, value for money, and rendering/design sharing features.

Here are the top 5 architecture design software for residential projects -

   1. Infurnia

Infurnia is a cloud-based BIM architecture & interior design software. It is the most modern software on this list. Being developed in the last 5 years, Infurnia incorporates and uses a lot of modern technologies to provide a seamless design experience. Using Infurnia, you can create detailed 2D Floor plans, convert them to 3D views, draft beautiful elevations, and create high quality renders & production drawings.

Ease of Use - 4/5

Infurnia is extremely easy to learn and use. Infurnia’s interface is designed in line with modern usage patterns. With drag & drop objects, contextual menus, and always available help, Infurnia is a breeze to get started. It also comes with an entire suite of tutorials and training videos accessible within the software itself.

Value for Money - 5/5

Price - $20 - $50 per month

Infurnia is free to use for individuals for design purposes, but you have to pay a modest subscription fee of $20 per month for generating outputs like renders & production drawings. For Business users, Infurnia’s plans start at just $50 per month. For large enterprises, Infurnia offers special pricing as well. This makes Infurnia the most affordable architecture design software.

Rendering & Design Sharing  - 4/5

Using Infurnia, you can easily create beautiful HD quality renders. Users can render on their local systems or use Infurnia’s integrated cloud rendering service. Infurnia also offers users an easy way to share 3D designs with their customers using simple web URLs. Customers can see it on any internet-connected laptop, desktop, or mobile device.

Overall - 4.33/5

Infurnia is ideal for students, freelance professionals, or businesses looking to create beautiful designs in an easy and affordable way.

   2. Chief Architect

Chief Architect is a 3D architectural home design software for interior designers and builders. This software is popular in North America for small residential projects. First released in 1992, Chief Architect uses BIM tools to create a 3D model of the structure. It is available for Windows and Mac, with a separate viewer only Web application.

Ease of Use - 3/5

Chief Architect lies in the middle of the pack when it comes to ease of use. While it does have a significant learning curve for those who have not used an architecture software before, it is still easier to learn and use than most other software. Chief Architect’s design features and user experience is geared towards architects looking to design residential buildings.

Value for Money  - 2/5

Price - $199 per month

Chief Architect is a fairly expensive software. You can either purchase the full software starting from $1,196 or you can pay a monthly subscription of $ 199 per month. This makes it expensive for students, freelancers, and individual architects. For business owners, this can be a good price depending on their usage.

Rendering & Design Sharing - 4/5

Chief Architect offers high-quality rendering options, including HD render, panoramic renders, etc. There is no URL based real-time design sharing. The lighting module is powerful and highly customizable.

Overall - 3/5

Chief Architect is a very powerful architecture design software for residential projects. It is ideal for small to large businesses as the cost is on the higher side.

   3. Revit

Revit is the most widely used architecture design software in the world right now. It is used across all fields of architecture, including floor planning, elevation design, structural design, etc. Its advantage also lies in the ecosystem that has come up around it because it is so ubiquitous. It is only available for Windows.

Ease of Use - 2/5

Revit is a very complex and deep featured software. It has a very steep learning curve. Unless you are well versed in the architecture domain, it can be a challenge to learn and use Revit effectively. Once you get used to it, it does offer a lot of custom modeling features.

Value for Money - 1/5

Price - Starts at $193/month

Revit is an expensive software. Its pricing and use cases are geared more towards architects working on large projects. Autodesk does offer AutoCAD and Revit as a bundle which is slightly cheaper than getting these two software individually, but unless your work absolutely requires Revit, there are cheaper options that offer the same or better functionality for residential projects.

Rendering & Design Sharing  - 3/5

Revit has a powerful rendering engine to create HD renders. The Revit ecosystem has multiple supporting applications to provide VR and panorama views. Since it is purely a desktop-based application, there is no way to share a design via the web easily. You can only share rendered images and 2D outputs.

Overall - 2/5

Revit is an extremely powerful software, but its steep learning curve along with its price makes it ill-suited for professionals looking to mainly create Residential projects. For large architecture firms working on a variety of projects, Revit can be a very good option.

   4. ArchiCAD

Developed by Graphisoft, ArchiCAD is the most advanced Architecture Design Software available for Mac users. Like Revit, ArchiCAD is used across all different types and stages of architecture design. ArchiCAD is available for both Windows and Mac.

Ease of Use  - 2/5

ArchiCAD is a full-featured architecture design software. Even though it has a better-designed user experience than Revit, it is still a complex software with a steep learning curve. Being available for both Windows and Mac on a single license makes it a more accessible option than Revit

Value for Money - 1/5

Price - $196 /month or $2,045 for the starter edition

ArchiCAD is also an expensive software, with professional versions running almost $4,000 to purchase. This makes it a poor value for money software for students, architects, freelancers, etc. It is better suited for businesses that work on different kinds of architectural design projects.

Rendering & Design Sharing  - 4/5

ArchiCAD offers a great rendering engine with a lot of options to create very high quality rendered outputs. It has also tied up with Epic Games to create beautiful real-time experiences using the TWINMOTION technology in a seamless way. There is no web-based design sharing feature in ArchiCAD.

Overall - 2.33/5

Like Revit, ArchiCAD is a very powerful software, but the price and the time it takes to learn the software make it unsuitable for individuals and small businesses, especially for Residential projects.

   5. SketchUp

Unlike the other 4 software in this list, SketchUp is not a BIM software. It is a 3D modeling software that can be used for creating architectural designs also. This makes it very useful for creating geometric design but attaching architectural data to objects is not possible. It is a very user-friendly software. It is available for Windows, Mac, along with having a web application.

Ease of Use  - 3/5

Sketchup is relatively simple to learn and use. However, the fact that it is a general-purpose 3D modeling software means that creating some parametric objects like doors, windows, etc., which are standard in architectural software, take up a lot more time and effort.

Value for Money  - 3/5

Price - $99/year to $1,099/year

Sketchup offers both free and paid versions of the software. The free version is web-only and for basic personal use. The paid plans start at $99/year, with the full-featured Sketchup Studio going for $1099/year. There are no monthly plans, making it expensive to start with.

Rendering & Design Sharing  - 4/5

You can use VRay or Lumion plugins to create high-quality HD renders easily. Sketchup is very popular among interior designers, resulting in a number of rendering and VR related plugins being readily available. Even though Sketchup has a web version, there is no easy way to share designs via the web.

Overall - 3.33/5

Sketchup is a very user-friendly and versatile tool. It is better suited for creating concept designs or designs which do not require technical outputs since there are no BIM features in the software. Its price point and ease of use make it an appealing option for creating simpler residential projects.


Selecting the right software is a challenging task. All of the above software are extremely powerful, so the answer to what software is right for you depends on your particular use case and price point. If you have a variety of design projects in your pipeline including complex industrial and infrastructure projects, then Revit or ArchiCAD would be a good option for you. But if you are looking for an easy to learn, powerful and affordable architecture design software for residential projects, look no further than Infurnia.

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