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Sweet Home 3D is a free interior design application (sweethome3d.com)
639 points by OJFord 55 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 115 comments

I just visited the website and have 3 suggestions:

- Update the website visuals/design, they seem a bit dated

- Put the download buttons on the front page to increase conversions

- Make a mobile version, especially for tablets. Most tablets nowadays seem powerful enough for your software, particularly the iPad. I'm sure you've thought of this before, and I have no idea what the competition is like. However, as a home owner, I can tell you interior design apps have 0% of my mind space. They should probably have more, especially considering that, combined with sites like Wayfair, IKEA, and Overstock.com, you can have a design --> purchase pipeline which is both convenient for consumers and beneficial for you via referral revenue.

Also, this isn't really a suggestion, but something I'd personally love: Machine learning interior design. AutoCAD already has ML structural design tools, and this would be simpler than that. Make it so that a consumer can enter their parameters (room layout, cost, visual style preferences) and your "artificial interior designer intelligence" generates 10 designs that the user can mix and match from. The designs would link to the cheapest seller of each piece of furniture. Alternatively, the user can manually select the main pieces of furniture, like the couch and TV console, enter their parameters, and the virtual assistant will suggest matching "in fill," things like couch pillows that people usually neglect or just purchase randomly whatever is on sale. Augmented reality viewing of the machine-generated designs would be the cherry on top and prepare you for mass market introduction of AR glasses.

I'm sure you come at this with good intentions, but god do I hate low effort 'advice' like this. Basically you're saying 'just make everything better, that'll be great!'. No shit Sherlock, I'm sure nobody ever thought of that. If you're going to offer unsolicited advice, at least give specific, actionable advice of things that are not multi-year projects by themselves. It's like telling a car designer 'yeah cool car, but maybe you should add some drag racing stripes, oh and it'd be cool if the car could drive over water, too!' Uh, thanks, I guess?

2/3 suggestions can be implemented in a few days. The devs can probably make a great looking website with ease, so why not pick the low hanging fruit? The age of the website might be the #1 thing that struck people when they clicked on that link. Consumers of interior design software are especially sensitive to good design. Maybe the devs like to maintain the retro look, but all I was saying was: hey, from the perspective of a consumer, people would be more likely to download with better UI/UX. Judging by the website, potential customers might incorrectly think that the software isn’t updated at all. Customers are brutally efficient with product selection. As for the app, I want their software on my iPad. So what?

I thought that a “low effort” comment would have zero feedback or attempt at insight of any kind. I also thought that bringing up ML might generate discussion about the future of design software so that’s why I threw it out there. That’s a big market opportunity that most people reading this on HN can take advantage of.

It's hard to be specific.

The site at a first glance looks dated and very early 00's. The colour scheme, the stripy background, the layout, the fact it isn't responsive (well it tries to be with a burger menu but fails), the GIF clipart (esp. the 'new' graphic and the flags).

As a prospective customer you might be a bit put off at first glance and think the software is dated too and go off looking for something newer.

I can tell you that this prospective customer didn’t care one iota about whether the site looks on-trend. If anything, the site design confirmed the app was likely free and — significantly — probably free of late ‘10s-era tracking/adware/user-as-product nonsense. It actually makes me want to use it. I looked at the screen shots, read the device/OS support and I’m sold. I’ll download it as soon as I have time/energy.

If it had a mobile version, I’d have run it, but I fully expect to only want to use it on larger format devices. I’m happy to be proved wrong, but I doubt a purely touch interface would ease creation of a model of my weird-shaped rooms.

> As a prospective customer

The site is selling anything; complaining that the free gift comes in insufficiently fancy wrapping is tacky.

Non-profit operations have customers too. I think they’d better achieve their mission with a nice website, referral revenue to help with upkeep, and an iOS app for wider reach. People live off of their mobile devices, especially the people that most need free software. I’d totally understand if they don’t have the capacity to do any of that though.

Unless the project itself is about the web, a polished fancy website is to me a yellow flag that the project is not open source first but trying to sell me something.

A lot of open source projects that are serious about the actual software have ugly websites or even nothing beyond a README.md on Github.

a paid version available on the Mac App Store, sandboxed, automatically updated and bundled with 1400 pieces of furniture and 418 textures.


> I just visited the website and have 3 suggestions

Just to be clear, 'Show HN: ' wasn't an accidental or unknowing omission - I have nothing to do with the project. I just happened across it, thought it was cool, and wanted to read the HN comments.

Got it, I had figured the devs would notice and read the comments.

I'm a long time user of SH3D.

- Yes it is dated (and very fast) - so what? The app is the important thing, the website works.

- If you need to find it, you will. I cannot recall failing to find download links (at least two of them on the home page)

- Mobile. Perhaps if you have a 21" screen on it!

ML? Not too sure about that here. Perhaps Ikea et al could run with that. I use it starting from reality. Perhaps hitching it up to a theodolite, EDM and other measuring tools would be more useful than a "what if I could read your mind and get it badly wrong" tool.

- It would look more appealing to the users, and maybe lead to more recomandations

- People might not find it and just leave frustrated, resulting in lower users

Basically they created a nice software, but then "scare" away their users with their website. Not very ideal.

- The website is a matter of personal taste. I actually like it: fast and simple. It also needs no fix ups with uBlock Origin, P Badger and uMatrix running.

- There are at least two links on the homepage labelled Download. If you Google for it then Download is linked directly in the top hit. Big G can parse it OK and so can I. Also I got a few of my non technical staff to take a look and they all downloaded it OK. One of them then asked me to set it up for them - another SH3D customer in the making 8) They had watched the video on the home page and were positively salivating!

I understand where you are coming from but if you look at it carefully it is actually quite a decent presentation in my opinion. Just the facts and no flim flam.

Wow how touchy. Was just a suggestion

> Put the download buttons on the front page to increase conversions

Conversions are visitors turned into paying customers; since there is nothing offered for pay, the site has no conversions no matter what it does.

Well, unless you count donations, but you need to move the donate link, not the download link, to improve that.

> Make a mobile version, especially for tablets.

Maintaining an additional version is an additional cost. Since, again, this is a free offering with no monetization besides donations, and no obvious aspirations in that direction, suggesting additional costs are taken on seems entitled, or, at best, badly confused.

> combined with sites like Wayfair, IKEA, and Overstock.com, you can have a design --> purchase pipeline which is both convenient for consumers and beneficial for you via referral revenue.

Is there anything on the site indicating that the creator has any interest in building a marketing platform for retail outlets instead of free non-commercial tool?

Renovations 3D is the Android companion app to Sweet Home. A little clunky, but it exists.

I dunno, I kind of like this website design. I wonder if a newer design would really help users or sites with "more shiny" visuals are just following a trend without thinking too much about it.

Needs to be a SPA with autoplaying video, nagging popups and 100MB+ of JS dependencies. Oh, and it needs to show a blank page to anyone who dares have JS disabled.

Firstly, disabling JavaScript is your choice, you shouldn't expect the web to cater to you.

SPAs can be server-side rendered (See: Gatsby) and work without JavaScript enabled however.

> I wonder if a newer design would really help users or sites with "more shiny" visuals are just following a trend without thinking too much about it.

This isn't about shinny visual, it's about what feeling someone gets when they visit the page.

I get the wrong feeling that it's old, because it use old trends. That impression will make me believe that the software is just as outdated, when actually it has been updated a few months ago.

The website has all the information I need nicely organized and labelled and the homepage has a screenshots and a video as basically the first things you see. I couldn't care less if it looks dated, it's already better than 90% of project landing pages I've seen. (And it's got translations for 19 different languages).

Maybe send these suggestions to the site admin

Thanks, I just did.

Is there a way to run Java code on iOS?

Furniture libraries from major vendors would be great!

Here's a thread from Stack Overflow on that topic. Google created a Java-to-Obj. C converter years ago. That's useful for Android, but the resulting Objective C code can also be used to some extent with Swift in iOS apps too. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/27920948/java-code-to-sw...

Now I'm wondering if IKEA offers a 3D model of their furnitures.

Too many suggestions, well I too have one for you, scratch your own itch and send a PR. Also perhaps the site design works with 10000 Downloads per day, why change something that works? From your logic the site design of HN is dated aswell?

I like the software, but I thought that giving my 2 cents on what I’d like to see from a consumer standpoint might be helpful.

Are you actually a customer of theirs?

An interesting fact about Sweet Home 3D is it employs the Java 3D API which was originally developed at Sun Microsystems. Sun/Oracle abandoned it a while back but the API is still maintained by a small but dedicated group of volunteer developers [1].

[1] http://forum.jogamp.org/java3d-f3728156.html

This touches on an underrated problem: whatever stack you choose today for your new product is what you'll be locked into for years if your product is successful.

It is almost inevitable that after a few years you'll be dependent on deprecated or abandoned libraries and frameworks.

> whatever stack you choose today for your new product is what you'll be locked into for years if your product is successful.

For for-profit projects, that's less of a problem than it might seem when stated that way. If your project is successful, the means of getting off the platform (or getting the owner to adapt it to your evolving needs, or doing so yourself, including acquiring any necessary permissions, or solving it some other way) are provided by that success.

(Heck, that's true if people understand the business case and reserve resources from the savings for projects that aren't for-profit but are internal cost saving measures, as well.)

Use clean/hexagonal architecture. Keep APIs at arm’s length.

And unfortunately, if the supreme court rules in favor of the plaintiff in the upcoming Oracle v. Google case, this type of thing would be illegal.

If they do rule that way, it’ll be interesting to see how it conflicts with the DMCA related element allowing individuals to reverse engineer abandoned services

> And unfortunately, if the supreme court rules in favor of the plaintiff in the upcoming Oracle v. Google case, this type of thing would be illegal.


Even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Oracle in the Java-on-Android case (they probably won't), it has nothing to do with what the topic brought up by the person you're replying to.

It was released under the standard license, and the volunteer contributors are continuing to maintain that codebase under that same license. That's not at all like the Harmony/Android situation.

Looks really similar to what you can get out of floorplanner.com which I’ve used for several personal home renovation projects (full basement finishing and master bathroom renovation). Very happy with it. I finally got the paid plan in order to get the high res prints that my city’s permit office needed. But ~$25 is a lot cheaper than an architect!

Hey that looks fantastic. I wish we had that when we built our place. I mostly used Illustrator for the initial plan which was ok but that looks like a way better option.

IMO, floorplanner is one of the best tools that you can get on a free plan.

I've used this in the past when looking for a new place to live. I would get the measurements of the best candidates and recreate them in Sweet Home 3D with my current furniture. It did wonders to help me optimize the costs of moving to a new place, especially regarding what I would need to buy because my current furniture would not fit. I highly recommend it.

Finding furniture that will fit, even for the simple case of a sofa going around a hallway corner, is an open problem in mathematics.


You should buy a Gerver sofa.


Please don't post low-effort memes here.

This app is great. It's widely adopted within the Home Assistant community to create interactive floorplans to control your home. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebMQwVjVewU

You can even turn the lights on, that's quite neat

Are these static renders or full embedded 3D views? Looks great either way.

They're static. And in case you're wondering: The way it's done is you render an all-lights-off and an all-lights-on version. You use one version as the background and slice the other version up into separate rooms. Then show or hide those room images depending on the state of the lights in the room.

That would explain why the photons don't pass through open doorways! But in other cases, they do. I'm confused.

This program is awesome!

You have to make sure your data is accurate, for example wall thickness actually matters if you want an accurate drawing.

Split level designs require careful planning on how to separate the various levels.

It takes a little time to get used to how it "thinks".

Also be sure and install this plugin: http://www.sweethome3d.com/support/forum/viewthread_thread,1... it can be rather hard to make accurate drawings otherwise.

Thanks for sharing this plugin!

You know what I always thought had inadvertently had this market cornered? The Sims. The build tools in those games get more and more sophisticated every time to the point where people can make some very crazy-detailed, beautiful homes in The Sims 4. Check out “Sims 4 home building” on Youtube. If I was going to design a home that’d be my first stop. I wonder if anyone else has done this.

Ha. Funnily enough that's exactly what led me to find and post OP. I played the Sims 4 trial recently for a laugh/to reminisce about playing the original, and wondered if The Sims is what led to my several years' desire to be an architect, or whether that was why I enjoyed playing it. (It was 85% about building the house for me - I'd use the 'motherlode' cheat several times so I could build whatever I wanted.)

Aside from its designated purpose of producing pretty 3D furniture visualizations, the 2D monochrome exports are pretty neat if you need to mock up architect-style floorplans without a proper CAD tool. Can assure you a few UK Building Regs drawings have been produced using it...

Right, just last month I was looking for a very simple tool to make a floor plan with measurements of my house. I'm not sure if there's a better one than this, but this looks like a perfect fit!

I was kinda thinking of something that maybe uses AR to measure/scan your house and turn it into a floor plan, was disappointed that it didn't really exist as far I looked.

Do you mean like Magicplan? [0] There’s a few others but that’s one I’ve used and it works fine.

[0] https://apps.apple.com/au/app/magicplan-2d-3d-floor-plans/id...

I’ve used that before. It worked well, but I found it frustrating that it required you to identify corners on the floor, where they were frequently obscured by furniture, instead of on the ceiling, where they were not.

Yeah I was just thinking the other day, apps like those would work so much better if they let you aim them at the ceiling. Your ceiling edges/corners are usually a lot more visible than your floor.

> Can assure you a few UK Building Regs drawings have been produced using it...

Australian too. We had a couple days where our normal CAD program went offline due to a bug in their license checker.

I used this to fill the gap.

Neat neat neat!! Seriously would have killed for this back when my husband and I were designing & building our house. Why couldn't the tech disruption have come sooner? :)

Isn't this pretty (relatively) old software?

I agree, it is great for homeowners to easily spitball reno ideas with a small learning curve, allowing you to share your vision with your spouse or architect.

I was using this back in 2008, I never would have guessed it's still being updated. Maybe I should take another look!

Love SH3D and its small team of developers!

I have used it in the past to model some property in 3D and use them on AirBnB and Facebook listings. The tenants and guests have always said that the mode was a major reason they decided to visit the property as it gave a clear idea of the size and proportion of the various rooms and amenities. Thanks SH3D.

Great tool and also quite easy to use.

I've actually used it to simulate/chose my furniture and furniture placement quite recently.

Here the result using the ray tracing renderer:



Yes, that's mostly Ikea furniture. And consequently the 3D models are likely to exists and can be grabbed from 3dwarehouse/sketchup.

I designed my floor plan of my home from scratch using Sweet Home 3D without any experience with either designing homes or using software like this.

Such a wonderful piece of software.

I used this to demo an internal positioning system. It can export models in obj format, which you can load and animate in three.js

Interesting how this is just making it to the front page; it's been publicly released for over a decade.

I used this successfully 7 years ago when moving into a small apartment to sort out furniture placement. Great product then at least!

For those who didn't get a blueprint to start (ie, we have a 50yo home - all that stuff wasn't available when we bought) - how do you recommend doing proper measurements? Or would you outsource that?

Just use a laser rangefinder. If you can't borrow one, they are really cheap and make room measurements a trivial task.

I measured my flat in three steps:

1) I took a lot of photos - every space from multiple directions;

2) For each photo, I manually drew the "wireframe" of the space in Inkscape on a separate layer on top of the photo - wall/floor lines, doorways, windows, furniture;

3) I printed out the wireframe layers, grabbed a pencil and a measuring tape, and started to measure.

Step 2) could probably be semi-automated with some edge detection. Step 3) could probably be done if I had any recent experience doing photogrammetry. But fully manual solution wasn't that bad; I did my measurements over the course of a month, and finally made up a full floorplan in SweetHome3D with accurately sized furniture in one evening. This let my wife and me design a new furniture arrangement and buy appropriately sized movables in a single hour.

For people who, like me, lack the "mind's eye" and spatial imagination, having the flat digitized like this has immense value.

> Step 2) could probably be semi-automated with some edge detection.

All 3 steps can be done automatically with magicplan.

However once you get the results you'll probably need to manually measure and adjust because it's not quite accurate enough. But it's a really good start.

Wow, that's the exact app I wish I had then. But it'll come in handy, I have a new place to measure up pretty soon, thanks!

A simple tape measure will work fine. But make sure not to forget about wall thickness.

For an exterior an inch or 2 of accuracy is fine, but for interiors you should try to be accurate to around 1/4 or 1/8 inch (.5 cm).

It doesn't take as long as you might think, especially if you have a helper.

Make a rough floor plan (on paper), then measure and mark each wall on the plan.

Then enter all that into the program, and just stare at it - make sure it looks right. (It's far too easy to mess up, or not do the wall thickness right.)

Then go back and measure the location of doors and windows (including height, and offset from the floor). Put all that in.

Resist the urge to put in furniture until you are mostly done.

If you have multiple levels things will be more complex - you will need to know floor thickness, and ceiling height.

I got as many blueprints as I could of past renovations (my home is from 1938 and has seen major renovations multiple times). This was useful to get an idea of e.g. exterior wall thickness and to have some reference to validate measurements against.

I got a big A2 piece of paper to make a precise drawing at about 1:25 scale of the major walls. When dealing with things like wall thickness, I found that much easier than trying to enter my measurements directly in SweetHome3D, especially because I had never used it before, and the workflow takes some time getting used to.

I personally used this app to create the whole floorplan - https://www.magicplan.app/en/

Then I just double checked wall length with a tape measure, because I wanted 100% exact measurements, out of the box the app was 95% accurate. In my experience this is more than enough for the purposes of furniture placement planning and things like that, and it's pretty fast to do too.

You can get 'As-Builts' made, we did this recently in preparation for some remodel work - often people looking to break into home design will look to do them. I would check with home designers in your area and see if they have anyone they recommend.

Also check with your city - blueprints are on file going quite far back in many places.

Download a grid paper template and use a tape measure.

Is there a free / open alternative for exterior / architectural work? I know there is AutoCAD, and Chief Architect, but they are all quite expensive.

FreeCad has an Arch workbench. It's impressive but takes some time to get comfortable with it.


It's not free, but Chief Architect also makes a lightweight version called Home Designer: https://www.homedesignersoftware.com/

Well might be overkill, but considering its HN: Unreal Engine

Just fyi, and I've run into this across multiple distros, if you are running on gnu/linux, you might have to use the "SweetHome3D-Java3D-1_5_2" launch script instead of the standard launch script if you get an error about your 3d renderer.

I used to use it but since I have moved on to gltf 2.0 and it hasn't implemented that yet (only export to obj) I have focused on blender instead.

Yes, I couldn't get the latest version to run on Arch at all, had to use an earlier java version and it wasn't suitable for my needs.

It works great under Slackware 14.2, with the LTS java Slackbuild :)

Used this for my recent home remodel. Definitely in the oldie but goodie category. Makes me wish for more software like it.

What this really needs is a way to import your existing home from photos. Such a thing would have been ridiculous to imagine a few years ago, but today I could imagine approaching the problem with machine learning.

I recently downloaded the app “dream.land” after seeing this [1] Reddit post that uses photogrammetry to give realistic 3D models of whatever you scan (I did my living room). If you could augment furniture models in real-time on top of that I think you would be on to something!

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/nextfuckinglevel/comments/dzoyav/fo...

Yeah, something like this, but going a step further to extract a schematic floorplan with furniture. It's a hard problem to be sure, but the pieces are coming together in research now. I expect it will be possible in the next five years or so.

There's a lot of those. Ikea has one. Here's a list of 25 of them.[1] The first may have been Autodesk Kitchen Designer, a tool for planning semi-custom kitchen cabinets. Newer ones use augmented reality on a cellphone so you can see the item in your room.

The big problem with these is getting a big collection of 3D models of real furniture and keeping them current.

[1] https://designingidea.com/interior-design-software/

Can this support multiple floors and angled roofs?

I am using floorplanner at the moment and I can't seem to figure out how to put a "half-storey" attic floor.

Plus floorplanner's community forum seems to be dead.

It's in the FAQ: "How can I create a roof on top of a house? Sweet Home 3D supports the creation of ceilings seen from below, but doesn't manage the creation of roofs yet. Nevertheless, you can use various tricks to cover a house ..."

How does this compare to Homestyler (https://www.homestyler.com/floorplan/)? This doesn't work on my Chromebook because it says the java is incompatible, but homestyler works fine.

This reminds me of 3D Home Architect, by Broderbund, the publishers of Prince back in the 90s! The Print Shop!

Wow, I had no idea the same company published Prince of Persia and The Print Shop. The first time I heard of that name was from NES Spelunker in the 80s, since it was the first logo that showed up in the title screen of the game, and it was quite memorable for anyone who loved the game.

Ha! I used The Print Show in an Apple IIc back in the day. My parents must have loved them for all the paper and ink ribbons I chewed through. I still see the Brøderbund logo as blazing green on black in my mind. (google, google ..) And Captain Goodnight! Nostalgia overload!

I like the website. Keep it simple

So I used this last time we moved, quick and easy way to check all the furniture would fit in the new home. I found it easy to use, the 3d rendering was a hit with my 5 year old son

Previously I've used SketchUp for these kind of things - the free version does a good enough job and the library of objects is really great. Does anyone know how these 2 compare? (If not, and someone is interested I might be tempted)

I found this easier to work with than sketch up

I designed my home before remodelling in Sweet Home 3D and it worked very well

I used it several times for making a detailed plan of my home before going shopping for furniture.

One time it even helped me correct "the expert from the shop" and avoid a costly mistake on my soon-to-be kitchen.

Highly recommended.

It’s awesome and it is written in Java. Surprise, heh?

My wife and I used this somewhere around 10 years ago when reorganizing our apartment. It was great!

My SO and me rearraged our future home with that, it's really useful.

Read this as "a free inferior design application" I must be tired :p

how is this different than homestyler?

On a different note - are there spec to 3d design apps? I'd love to just write what I want and see a 3d render.

Do you mean a high level description of doors, walls, etc. or something that, with a lot of work, you could build up to that, like OpenSCAD?

I mean I say :

Wall: {

  Start = x,y
  Width = 9in
  Height = 9ft

Shelf: {

  Ref=wall1, wall2

  Start = ....

  End = ...



I just checked openscad. Thank you! Very good ! What other script to render programs do you know of?

I don't I'm afraid. Good search terms might be 'parametric CAD' or 'constraint', which are inherent features of script-based programs (but not exclusive to them, e.g. Fusion360).

Thanks for the pointer! I've recently discovered another trick- typing "openscad vs" in search bar

There is a myriad of these softwares. I wish there was some standardization and a text format

So this says the app lets you design in 2d and renders in 3d. Has anyone used this that could answer a question- can I design walls too? I want to make kitchen cabinets.

I'm so disappointed that this isn't a 3d remake of that classic survival horror RPG,


I’m sorry but this looks like crap.

I’ve designed my apartment with openjscad (which I find way easier than any UI tool when you have actual measures) and rendered it in blender.

Perhaps the rendering part is a bit more work, but in the home redesign space a few hours doesn’t really count...

Doesn't seem as user-friendly, and doesn't naturally takes into account wall-thickness, etc.

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