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Kitchen Software

In this article we discuss some kitchen design software, programs that professionals and home designers use to design a kitchen for home or commercial use. We look here at 3D design software for kitchen designers because 3D kitchen CAD software also produces 2D kitchen drawings in plan and elevation directly from the kitchen design itself. Whilst this article it hardly an exhaustive review of kitchen design software we have researched many of the products in some depth so this should still be helpful in determining which kichen software to purchase

We have deliberately chosen to exclude the overly simple kitchen drawing programs that you can often download free online as they do not really cater for professional clientele and generally do not seem to be very flexible. We have looked closely at both commercial and free kitchen software for both Windows and Mac from all over the world and have concluded the obvious; the free stuff isn’t too good for productive use by professionals. Free kitchen design software does however have merits if you are a home user or DYI (Do it yourself) user needing to simply do a basic remodel of your kitchen at home. If you are a home renovator, builder or cabinet maker, because the cost of installing a new kitchen is quite high, it will be worth buying an easy to use simple kitchen design program rather than struggle with proprietary free software for kitchen design even if you only have one kitchen job to do this year. The adage ‘free isn’t very valuable’ is certainly true in relation to kitchen software.

The other conclusion we have been able to make is that the online kitchen design software is far more limited in ability than the fully installed-in-your-computer products. Most of the online kitchen planning software is designed to encourage you to purchase a particular brand of kitchen such as Ikea but doesn’t allow for creative forms or customised areas or the use of other brand products. We have also found the best kitchen design software runs only on Windows, so if you have a Mac you will need to run Fusion or Parallels to operate the kitchen floor plan software.

Other software not covered in depth here are some of the proprietary products designed mostly for manufacturers. Whilst these can be excellent tools and well suited to some very large modular kitchen design and manufacturing firms with extensive budgets this article is written for an audience in the small to medium size company range looking for a well-priced and very capable product that helps them design better and faster, and convert a design presentation into a sale.

 

What do you need in good kitchen software?

Ease of use would have to be the first priority. There is no point in having you or your design staff tied up at a presentation because the kitchen design software is too hard to manage. They will soon drop the whole idea in favour of a 2D pencil sketch of which your potential clients will be less than impressed. Easy kitchen design software is an absolute must.

Rapid changes to the kitchen design must be fast and easy to facilitate. The kitchen planning software must let you make small or sweeping design changes without having to fiddle around with complex commands. Whether you are designing for a client at their home or for a restaurant owner or other commercial installation you need to be able to explore kitchen layout options without a revisit to the client’s home or office.

Flexibility is a must - The kitchen planning software you choose must deliver in every aspect. You cannot afford to be restricted by the constraints of the software in any way. This applies to the content in the library of fittings and appliances to the ability to adjust walls so that they are not at 90 degrees to adjacent walls. It is rare to find a perfectly square up room in most buildings and this can make a difference to the design and layout of your kitchen cabinetry.

Accuracy - One of the distinct advantages of kitchen CAD software is that it can provide accurate drawings. The right kitchen layout software will not only be able to work in feet and inches and will not be restricted to modules of standard size components. Your designers will not be able to make costly dimensional mistakes that will affect the design or the quote and should be as close as possible to the check measure if that is required.

Simple graphics - Research has found that clients do not make purchase decisions based on the high resolution graphics of the rendered 3D image of your kitchen designs. The leading factor in the sale is actually the sales person’s personality and sales process. A good sales person with a good sales process that does not inconvenience the client and provides security and trust is the key. It is important to provide a good 3D image of your design backed by a tactile approach to materials and finishes. Getting the client involved to some degree and having them connect with the design process is always a positive when creating an ideal kitchen design for your client.

Rapid planning - If it takes too long to sketch up a kitchen design, show a 3d view of the kitchen, process a quote or provide fast response to questions, no matter how good the rendered 3D perspective picture is, the sale is lost. It has also been acknowledged that if too much emphasis is placed on the presentation of the 3D kitchen design clients will perceive there is a price premium attached to it that may actually put them off the sale and encourage them to shop for a better deal.

Automated production drawings are a great bonus if you are intending to take your initial sales consultants design ideas to manufacturing quickly without having to redraw.

Planning a Kitchen. Things to think about

When you plan your kitchen you will be mindful of many things, from the flow of movement as you collect, prepare cook and serve your food to how many people will be entering the space at any one time to ease of access of the refrigerator for those not cooking. When planning your kitchen layout design you will want to also consider whether or not you want to expose your kitchen in an open plan, maximise storage, maximise bench space and more the following extract is from a Australia's most successful kitchen designer 'Jessica Rose'...

When designing a kitchen you need to first get an idea of how you use the kitchen. Here are list of questions to ask:

How much do you want to spend? This is big one as kitchen costs vary dramatically.
Do you entertain?
What selection of finishes are you after?
Do you need seating in the kitchen? 
How many people are in the kitchen at one time?
Do you have small children and is safety a concern? 
Is the look more important than the functionality? 
Are you doing the kitchen for resale purposes or to stay?
Do you cook allot or a little? 
Do you use the cook top more then the oven?
Is storage more important than bench space? 
Are you right or left handed?
What height are the people who will use the kitchen and or do they have any disabilities that may affect access? 
Do you have Tupperware or any tall vases? 
Do you do bulk shopping for food, therefoe how big does the pantry need to be? 
Do you want to open up the space and make the most of the natural light? 
What size appliance are you after? 
Do you desire open shelving or a more stream lined look to hide the mess? Hiding the toaster and kettle is popular. 
Are you after a traditional or modern styling and does the kitchen colour scheem and style match and compliment the rest of the house?
Do you use the microwave alot? 
Do you prefer to have a wall oven, under bench oven, or free standing oven?
Do you want a canopy or built in range hood?
What type of cooking you do most of with respect to the cook top, or in the oven?
Are strong smells and issue for you? 
What surfaces you are looking for?  

At the time of this article we discovered the following CAD products designed specifically to cater forkitchen and bath design:

List of kitchen design software:

  • KicthenCAD, is a generic named software that currently refers to Designer Pro Kitchen and Bathroom software. (See last entry in this list).
  • Articad Pro, Articad Light, Artiquote, Articad I-Design, Articad I-Choose, Arti-Sketch, Arti-Vr, Autokitchen, are a comprehensive set of high end professional kitchen software primarily for the ‘big end’ of both budget and mass production.
  • Instant Kitchen And Bath is a ‘toy’ in our assesment
  • Encore 3dha Kitchen & Bath Designer Pc & Mac, Punch 3dha Kitchen And Bath Designer, are both the same software in different labelling. Perfectly ok for the home user.
  • Dosch 3d Kitchen Designs
  • Home Design 3d Kitchen And Bath Edition for non professional use 
  • Pro100 claims to be better than other products although it was not our pick due to poor interface and support beyond the USA
  • KitchenDraw, Professional pay-as-you use software. Not our pick but has merits if you are ok with paying everytime you use the software. The cost can add-up quickly if you are not very aware of the time you have the software enabled.
  • SmartDraw, is pretending to be kitchen design software but is nothing more than a drag and drop 2d floor plan software. Not worth even looking at compared to the others.
  • 20-20, 20-20 Design, one of the first purpose built packages and perhaps one of the largest in the professional market but expensive and a little unweildy. It is extremely comprehensive but definitely not a champion in the ease of use department. Recommended for larger manufacturers though.
  • Cadsoft, Hgtv, Envisioneer, have a package that will design your home and marry in with 20-20. but having to have two programs, one to do the walls and building and another to deploy the kitchen design seems a little complex.
  • Kitcad, looks like a programmers project arther than a serious contender. Not recommended.
  • Designer Pro Kitchen and Bathroom, editors choice. 

 

Designer Pro Kitchen and Bathroom is our pick as the best all-round kitchen design software. It ticks all the boxes we mentioned about choosing great kitchen design program.

Its rendering is the only thing we could fault with the software as it does not have an option to get highly realistic rendering but as we said this is not that important. The other minor let-down is the Bill of materials list is not as detailed as we would like out of the box. It did not provide a complete cutting list of every individual cut piece of material which could be handy for manufacturing. We are told you can adjust the standard Bill of Materials to include more data if desired. The other good news about this product is that it can also double up as complete architectural and interior design software as well as a deck and landscape design tool in the same way as Chief Architect® but without the price tag! The kitchen and bathroom component of this software is one of many aspects of the program, so if you are involved with other cabinet design then that’s great news.

The best part of this kitchen drawing and modelling tool is the price. We were not sure why it was priced so low compared to the competition until we spoke to a major supplier who advised us that the software is one of many in the developers suite of products and that by keeping the cost low they have managed to capture the largest slice of today’s kitchen design market.

If you are remodelling your kitchen (or even your home) then this tool allows you to do that easily. We particularly like the way that you can insert and modify the cabinets without needing a big library to select from. The cabinets are all parametric so that when you change the length for instance it automatically swaps out single doors for double doors etc. Proximity technology is well thought out in this software too with objects like cabinets and soffits bumping against walls and other objects without needing to have great control of the mouse. It even knows when you are near the corner of a room, swapping a standard cabinet for a corner one. All these automation have manual overrides and that we found very easy to master. We also liked that you could do most tasks in any of the elevation, plan or 3d views. From a sales perspective we can see why this is the most popular software as it was exceptionally quick and easy to make changes and show the different look and feel of different options. 

 

 

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