Previously, access to and the understanding of 3D modeling programs cost easily in the thousands of dollars. “Home Planning”-Type programs that are virtually unusable have been on the market in the under-$100 range since the 90’s, but these are very limited in capabilities and difficult to use. In addition to Google Picnik, which I talk about here, I also frequently use Google Sketchup – a FREE 3D Modeling program. It’s somewhat unbelievable to me that everyone is able to get free access to such a highly functional program like this when other 3D programs are so expensive. FormZ is about $1100, while 3D Studio Max is about $3500.
A lot of people have not had CAD drafting or 3D modeling experience, but there are numerous Sketchup tutorials (video and otherwise) such as these that you can find online. It really is amazing what you are able to do with just a few tutorials and some rough measurements of some rooms.
Maybe I am just a huge dork, but before I rearrange a room or get a new piece of furniture, I like to use Sketchup to move furniture around and see how it all fits together. Our bedroom is fairly large (about 15’ by 15’ plus the bay window). Since we try to keep the other three rooms relatively free of clutter (kitchen, living room, and bathroom), the unfortunate consequence is that every other item and piece of furniture gets relegated to the big bedroom. With two bird cages, a dog crate, four dressers, three chairs, a floor lamp, a bookcase, and a queen-size bed in the mix, planning exactly how everything will best fit together is quite difficult. That’s where Google Sketchup has been helpful. You can even set it for two-point perspective, set your height, and click on the point where you want to stand, and see a space from a pretty accurate perspective:
We’re definitely a far cry from fully mastering the best arrangement in the bedroom. Previously I discussed my shortage of closet space (particularly shoe space) here, but I recently saw this video over at the I am Style-ish blog, as well as this forum post over at the PurseBlog, which have inspired me to add Ikea Billy bookcases into the room for shoe storage. Adding MORE furniture to the mix will take some finagling and rearranging, but it is possible. Amazingly, you can add furniture to a Sketchup model by simply going to the Google online “3D Warehouse”. There it is easy to find pre-modeled furniture that is approximately the same measurements as your own, or in the case of Ikea furniture, many of the exact items are available on there if you just type the Ikea name into search. Here is my preliminary plan for where the two bookcases will go:
That’s as far as I have gotten – with exams coming up I don’t have much time to clean, organize, de-clutter, and make another trip to Ikea for the bookcases. In the meantime, I will continue to torment my boyfriend with the “shoebox fort” that has sat 4 feet high on top of one of our dressers ever since I cleaned out the closet in January! Once summer break comes up and I get some semi-effective clothes and shoe storage solutions going, I’ll be sure to let you know!
Do you have any “technology” you use in your everyday life to plan or organize in your household?