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There are many tools available to help you lay the kitchen layout from your head to where others can see it, from paper and pencil, through cardboard scissors, to desktop and browser-based software. This article covers most of the free kitchen design software, interactive kitchen design tools that help you create a virtual kitchen design on a computer that you can then print and discuss. You can also use it just to play – to revamp the virtual kitchen when you can not yet do it in real life. Anyhow, it’s fun just to dream! Many free tools for online kitchen design are available from the factory; websites, and in this case they concentrate on the product from the manufacturer, plus various things like equipment.
A quick Google search for “free kitchen design tools” will bring lots of hits – for example, Liquidators Cabinets, Merillat and IKEA all have free online planners. If you have selected your cabinet line, take a look at your manufacturer’s or distributor’s website to see if they have a special tool for your closet. Most of these planner tools are browser-based and quite slow as they manipulate graphical information through your internet connection. If you are using a dial-up connection, you may not be able to find it, and even high speed connections may be very slow to use. The Cabinet Liquidation Tool works faster than most for me.
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The IKEA kitchen designer downloads to your desktop and walks from there rather than through your browser, so it’s quicker to get started, but slows down once you have a kitchen full of built-in cabinets. Many of these tools work the same way: You choose a basic layout (galley, L-shape etc.), adjust the room size and location of doors and windows, then add appliances and cabinets. Some have “auto fill” tools for cabinets that might be worth a try as a starting point, but certainly will not give you the optimal layout. If you have not chosen a closet, you will be better served by a tool that covers a wide range. HGTV has a virtual kitchen design tool on their website (which unfortunately works only with Internet Explorer instead of Firefox or other Mozilla-based browsers).
I feel a bit flaky and difficult to use, but it includes a large number of appliance products and cabinets from several manufacturers. Another route to try is a free trial offered by many paid planning tools. The paid tool can be browser-based or desktop-based software. They include Plan 3D (browser-based, you subscribe and pay per month), Chief Architect, Softplan and Smartdraw (desktop-based tools that are high level and have the right price). Finally, there are a variety of lower-priced home design tools available, such as Better Homes and Gardens, Punch, Turbofloorplan, IMSI and Home Plan Pro. These programs are often available at your local computer store or can be downloaded.
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