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White wooden kitchen cabinet with kitchen sink

6 Best Kitchen-Planning Software Programs And Apps

Originally contributed by Ashley Hunte • last updated 1/18/2021

In order to have your perfect kitchen, you’ll have to design it. As scary as that may seem at first, it’s really a matter of finding and mastering a kitchen design software (or app) that will let you unleash your full designer prowess. You don’t need to be a professional (although that certainly would help) in order to make your kitchen come to life using great software.

There are so many great options out there that it may be a little daunting to find what you’re looking for. But it’s much easier once you take your wants and needs into consideration. You might want something you can take on the go, or you could be perfectly content with a PC-only option. You could be willing to drop some serious cash or want to go on the cheap and find something free. You may be trying to design from scratch or be basing your new kitchen off an existing one. Whatever you need, you will be able to find a ton of great options out there.

Here are six of the best free and paid kitchen design software programs that you can use on your computer or mobile device.

1. SmartDraw

  • Cost: $497 one-time purchase for a single user, or annual billing starting at $595 for five or more users.
  • Pros: Professional graphics, cloud data sharing, nice graphics, available templates, free to start.
  • Cons: The full version is pricey.

SmartDraw is a multiplatform software that can be used in a browser or as an application for a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. It also has cloud capabilities, meaning you can use it alongside others. It can be used anywhere and by anyone. While it is made for professionals, it’s still accessible for everyday use and aspiring DIY kitchen designers. It can be used to plan any indoor or outdoor space, but its kitchen design capabilities are especially noteworthy.

The graphics make it easy to read and visualize models, and if you’re stuck or can’t build a room from scratch, it also has a number of templates you can use to get your kitchen design started. You can try SmartDraw right now for free or pay for the full version – though its cost is a bit on the higher side, it’s well worth it if you plan to use it multiple times.

2. Room Sketcher

  • Cost: Free for basic use, $49 annually for VIP, $99 annually for Pro.
  • Pros: Easy to use, great customer service, can be used for free.
  • Cons: Some features are hidden behind a paywall.

With various layouts and intuitive views, Room Sketcher is an effective software with a full kitchen designer. It’s available both through Mac and PC and as a mobile app, and thanks to cloud functionality you can continue your plans on any device. It is available to start for free, which allows you to sketch directly on screenshots of your existing kitchen. You can also access premium features like floorplans, measurements, and the ability to draw from an existing blueprint. Though these features are hidden behind a paywall, the modest price for a yearly subscription maintains its accessibility for the average DIY kitchen designer.  

3. Create-a-Kitchen By Cabinets.com

  • Cost: Free.
  • Pros: Free, many customization options, allows access to the website’s catalog.
  • Cons: Can only build using products from the website.

The Create-a-Kitchen tool from Cabinets.com is quick and intuitive, not to mention free. It makes for a great kitchen design app both to visualize your space and choose from the store’s products to create and purchase your kitchen all in one.

It starts you out with one of their selections of pre-set layouts, but allows you to change styles, appliances, fixtures, tiles, and countertops among other choices, and gives you more freedom to customize your space with moldings and finishes, and adjust measurements to make sure it’s as accurate as possible. The site allows you to see your kitchen in both 2D and 3D perspectives so that you can see exactly where to place things and how much space you have. 

The downside is that you’re tied to the selection of products they carry, but this can also be a plus if you’re planning on buying your kitchen cabinets and features from the website anyway.

4. Ikea Kitchen Planner

  • Cost: Free to use.
  • Pros: Great layout and cabinet placement options, puts items into your shopping cart, can get started without an account.
  • Cons: You need an account to save plans, can only use the Ikea catalog of items.

Ikea is a great place to get products to build your own custom kitchen, and its design tool is just as helpful. Like Cabinets.com, you’re tied to building a kitchen using items sold at Ikea, but this can be either a downside or an upside depending on how you look at it.

Like many of the other options on this list, Ikea’s planner is not exclusive to kitchen planning, but the fact that it allows you to pick from the expansive Ikea catalog shows how intuitive it is. One issue with this program is that it isn’t mobile-friendly, making it a great option for kitchen design on a desktop or laptop, but not so much anywhere else.

5. ProKitchen Online

  • Cost: Starting at $1095 annually
  • Pros: Incredible graphics, cloud save, tutorial lessons, offers a free trial
  • Cons: Is quite costly

ProKitchen Online has just about everything you would expect from a professional quality kitchen design tool – plus some things you wouldn’t expect. Its exceptional 3D graphics are brought to life through VR and ray-tracing capabilities, and the website includes a number of video tutorials to get you started. Though it’s not mobile-friendly, the sheer firepower that this software packs will have you looking for a computer in any case.

The biggest issue with this kitchen design software is the price. Though it’s the most expensive software in this list, ProKitchen Online gives you the most features, and while it may be more suited for serious professionals, there’s enough there to draw DIY enthusiasts in as well. Plus, you can get started with a 14-day free trial to test-drive all the features this software has to offer.

6. Planner 5D

  • Cost: Contact them to get a quote.
  • Pros: Mobile friendly, beginner-friendly,  has tutorials available, ability to switch devices on a single account, free to start.
  • Cons: Have to pay to access all features, price isn’t clearly listed on the website.

Boasting user-friendliness, Planner 5D is a design app that works on all mobile and desktop devices. While it does offer planners for any room in the house, its kitchen design tool is intuitive with a large catalog and 2D as well as 3D rendering. It’s free to start (with more features behind a paywall), and since everything is tied to your account, you can continue your plans on any device.

Many of the kitchen design software out there are made for professional use, but Planner 5D knows that planning a kitchen may be a difficult task to learn, so they’ve designed their software to be as beginner-friendly as possible. They also offer classes to help you get started with designing (at an additional cost). It’s overall a great app for beginners to jump right on in and get started with kitchen design.

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