13 Best Garage Design Software Options

Can we all agree that garages are indispensable to our residential setup?

From safely housing your vehicles and expensive equipment to doubling as a pro’s workshop, there’s nothing that a garage can’t do. So, naturally, you’d want to have an active involvement in designing it. But gone are the days when homeowners had to pain-strickenly draw layouts on the paper.

Thanks to the abundance of design software, anyone can sketch a realistic layout with almost zero designing experience. Trust us when we say that the process is not at all intimidating!

To prove our point and help you pick a garage design software, we’ve compiled this list of the 13 best software options. Whether you want a free version or are willing to spend some money, we’ve covered it all.

Without any further ado, let’s begin!

Garage Design Software Options

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  1. SketchUp

We start things off with one of the best 3D designing software out there – SketchUp. Featuring a simple interface and easy-to-understand controls, this software can solve your garage designing woes even if you have no CAD experience. What’s more, it has both a free and a paid version.

Why Did We Like It?

We liked how the software comes in both a trial and paid version, thereby allowing you to test the waters before you take the plunge. On top of that, the free version doesn’t restrict any feature. However, they are available for a limited time. And if you don’t want to install the software from the get-go, simply access it from the browser. Talk about being user-friendly!

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Coming to the intuitive interface, figuring out the controls won’t make you rack your brain. To start a project, all you have to do is draw your floor plan in the top view mode using the line tool.

A measurement box pops up at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to adjust the thickness by entering precise values. Moreover, the auto-alignment feature takes care of the orientation. You can import details like fixtures from the software’s warehouse, and the material library houses a plethora of colors, textures, and wallpaper.

We also liked the different view modes, which allow you to scrutinize your plan from different angles. Likewise, the walkthrough option offers a closer look at the intricate details so that nothing escapes the eye.

What Could’ve Been Better?

We feel that the push and pull tool (which helps to extrude the layout for creating the 3D model) can be a bit tricky for first-time users. That being said, there are plenty of tutorial videos, which will make the task easier.

  • Lighting effects and layer manager
  • Supports 2D designing
  • Can be used for designing attached or detached garages
  • Large icons aid visibility
  • 3D walkthrough
  • Creating the 3D model may be challenging for first-timers
  1. American Garage Builders Designer

Next up, we have the American Garage Builders Designer, which is more dedicated to garage designing. The Wisconsin and Illinois based design company have their web-based software program that helps beginners create the organization plan of their garage.

Why Did We Like It?

For starters, we were really impressed with the simplicity of operation that the software offers. Creating the layout is fairly simple, and it allows you to do so in the top view or 2D mode.

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Although you may initially rue the absence of a 3D design mode, the software’s tools are suitable for organizing the virtual space with intricate details. And we’d take this to compensate for a 3D model in a heartbeat!

You can begin by choosing the size of the garage and then choose details like different sized vehicles, bicycles, bikes, and furniture from the software’s library. Additionally, there’s the option of putting doors and windows as required.

Furthermore, you don’t need to download the software. A stable internet connection will see your work getting done online. Once done, save the result in image format and share it via mail.

Overall, the American Garage Builders Designer is a simple and practical software best suited for beginners. If you want an organizational plan without getting into the hassle of creating 3D models, then this program is worth considering.

What Could’ve Been Better?

It may be helpful to know that this program doesn’t have much detailing or isn’t very advanced as compared to the other options, but it’s still good to deliver on the basics. Also, it doesn’t have the option for sketching a layout, meaning it might not be beneficial for designing specialized types of garages.

  • Online platform
  • Easy-to-use tools
  • Assists organizational needs
  • Library contains various vehicles and fixtures of all kinds
  • May not be suitable for designing specialized garages
  1.  Floor Planner

Another one of our top recommendations is Floor Planner. If you’re familiar with designing software, you may know that Floor Planner is a popular choice for designing various spaces-be it the home or garage. It can be used to create both 2D and 3D layouts for better visualization.

Why Did We Like It?

Simplicity has its charm, and the same can be said about this intuitive software. Its user-friendly interface helps you create visually appealing designs, irrespective of how long you’re willing to spend on this software.

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In this regard, the drag-and-drop commands make preparing the layout less complicated. Hence, you can draw your floor plan line-by-line or use the editor function to automatically create the layout based on the input. Once done, the user can drag the corners to change the shape of the layout accordingly.

The software’s one-click ‘auto furnish’ tool comes in handy when you want to add details but don’t have a lot of time. Alternatively, you may pick and choose fixtures from the built-in material library, which contains over 15,000 readymade accessories.

Similar to SketchUp, this software also has a free and paid version, both of which can create 3D models in a sister site called Roomstyler. While the trial version produces a watered-down teaser, the paid version creates a more realistic model.

Lastly, the user can directly share the project via social media or publish it according to desired settings.

What Could’ve Been Better?

There are but a couple of things that we’d like to improve. First, the free trial doesn’t have a ‘print to scale’ option. Moreover, the user can’t enter the measurements manually, meaning there’s some compromise on accuracy. That said, the near-perfect values don’t generate a bad layout either.

  • Large fixture library
  • Can trace imported images
  • Realistic 3D models
  • Easy saving and sharing
  • No manual measurements
  • Free version doesn’t support ‘print to scale’
  1. Easy Garage

True to its name, Easy Garage is one such software that facilitates trouble-free virtual designing. This free program belongs to a company that specializes in both garage storage systems and garage design. Besides, it offers detailed descriptions and pricing at every step.

Why Did We Like It?

Having tried the American Garage Builders Designer (which also has a similar background), we were interested to see what this program brings to the table. To begin with, this free software doesn’t require any downloads- simply use it online through any browser. Furthermore, you can create and save multiple designs under one user account.

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Beyond that, there are two ways through which you can start the designing process. The first option includes sketching the layout from scratch, wherein the user can choose different fixtures, furniture, textures and so on. Or, a faster way is to select from the premade templates, which can be customized as per requirement.

Since the company started out with designing garage storage systems, there are many storage system models to choose from, like cabinets, drawers, shelves, etc. And the accessories include baskets, bind, slatwall hooks, among others.

What we love the most about this software is it’s description feature. Upon selecting a fixture from the library, a pop-up box tells you the exact specifications and cost. And once the layout is complete, the total cost appears on the screen, which gives you a better idea about the pricing.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Similar to the American Garage Builders Designer, some users may be disappointed with the lack of features like a virtual walkthrough or mobile app version. But given that it isn’t a core designing software per se, we are satisfied with its performance.

  • Compatible with different browsers
  • Has premade, customizable templates
  • Displays individual and overall pricing
  • Professional consultation
  • No virtual walkthrough
  1. Bighammer Do-It-Yourself Garage Designer

If you’re a true-blue DIY lover, then this next program will surely please you. The Bighammer Do-It-Yourself Garage Designer is a free and easy to use software that requires no prior designing experience. Plus, the interactive features facilitate a perfect virtual layout of your garage.

Why Did We Like It?

We are all for software that has a user-friendly operation, and this one is no exception. But that’s not the only reason why it features on our list. Compared to similar free options like the American Garage Design and Easy Garage, this software offers more detailing, thereby enabling more realistic looking plans.

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Firstly, the click-and-drag mechanism helps you draw the layout from scratch, even if you aren’t very familiar with drawing tools. Apart from that, selecting various view modes, including plan, post layout, and dimension views, allow the user to assess the layout from different perspectives. Additionally, the 3D visualization option is beneficial for creating presentation formats.

For elaborating the plan, the program’s library consists of a plethora of ready-made elements like fixtures, finishes, construction materials, etc. modeled after real catalogs. Not only that, but it also has a pricing list for each component that’s added to the drawing. Furthermore, you can specify the lumber size, roofing and placement of doors.

Last but not least, the software can create construction-related documents like material bills and metric usage reports.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Perhaps the biggest constraint for potential users is that the Bighammer Do-It-Yourself Garage Designer runs only on Windows Explorer, meaning there’s no Android or app version. Considering that the browser isn’t the fastest, there are chances of incomplete rendering. Also, it doesn’t support importing images.

  • Click-and-drag tools for easy designing
  • Multiple finishes and construction materials
  • Price-list for individual elements
  • Can be used to draft documents
  • Runs only on Windows Explorer
  • No import function
  1. Virtual Architect

The Virtual Architect is an ideal design software for those who want to personalize their garage layout without spending time on creating a plan from scratch. Available for both Windows and Mac OS, this paid program is worth the bucks!

Why Did We Like It?

There are a number of features that make the Virtual Architect one of the best-paid design software on the market. As the name suggests, this program acts as a virtual architect to take care of all your designing needs. From creating separate rooms to adding fixtures, this one can do it all.

The biggest highlight of this program is the ‘Design Wizard’ that allows users to directly import images in any format. Upon uploading the file, it automatically analyzes the plan to give an approximate measurement of the area. After that, the user can work to customize the details as required.

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Just like all of our other recommendations, there’s a huge variety of fixtures and furniture available in the program library. But what appealed to us the most is the number of garage doors, which is a key component of the setup. Likewise, you can choose from different window types.

Moreover, the user can add more detail in terms of customizing the building material, storage systems, lighting, flooring, paint and so on. For this, you’ll find fabrics and stains from the leading national brands in the library.

Finally, the 3D converted model has a walkthrough feature that offers a closer look at the interior.

What Could’ve Been Better?

We feel that Virtual Architect is more suitable for users who want to remodel the existing space. Even if you want to design a garage from scratch, it’d be better to have a reference image or CAD file, which can then be adjusted according to the requirement. In that sense, you may want to try out some other software that allows sketching the layout line by line before using this one.

  • 3D visual tour
  • Space analysis
  • Generates blueprint style plans from imported files
  • Can be used on Windows and MAC
  • Doesn’t facilitate sketching from scratch
  1. RoomSketcher

Almost halfway through the list and the RoomSketcher finds an honorable mention on our list. Its time-saving interface and realistic results make it one of the most preferred design software among novices and experienced users alike. While the trial version offers quite a few helpful features, you can opt for the paid one to experience more.

Why Did We Like It?

First things first, the RoomSketcher offers both free and paid versions to cater to different user needs. While the free trial has limited features, it’s still good enough for users to wrap their hands around the tools. And the paid version makes your 3D layout all the more realistic.

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A distinct feature that makes this software a cut above the rest is its expert illustrator service. If you don’t have a lot of time for designing your garage, simply upload the blueprint or sketch and an expert prepares the virtual layout by the next day.

Another thing that we loved about this software is that the measurements get displayed as the walls are drawn. Plus, the thickness of the walls is adjustable, thereby facilitating more precision. There’s also a 360-degree panoramic view (only for the paid version) that enables a virtual walkthrough.

Lastly, RoomSketcher can be used either online or offline, as well as on mobiles and tablets. Aside from that, you can sync the project with cloud storage for accessing it anywhere, anytime.

What Could’ve Been Better?

We are bummed out about the absence of an importing feature in the trial version, which doesn’t allow you to save the final project in an image format. The only way to do it is to take a screenshot of the design window that can be later printed if required. Likewise, the ‘print to scale’ option is reserved exclusively for the paid version.

  • Drag-and-drop accessories
  • Easy direction change of doors and windows
  • Panoramic walkthrough
  • Library has a wide range of fixtures
  • No import feature in free version
  • Trial version can’t print to scale
  1. Elecosoft 3D Architect Home Designer

A versatile designing software, the Elecosoft 3D Architect Home Designer will get your job done, even if you’ve no former experience with CAD programs. Its dedicated garage designing window comprises all the necessary fixtures to make the perfect layout that’s easy to follow during construction.

Why Did We Like It?

Much like most of our recommendations, this 3D design software has a free trial and paid version with restricted and fully accessible features, respectively. Its intuitive interface and self-explanatory controls make it suitable for use by beginners, while professionals also don’t shy away from trying their hands on it.

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Moving on to the layer creation, users can either draw the walls with the pencil tool or drag a ‘pre-sized’ template. The advanced wall editor feature takes care of customization by adjusting the thickness of the walls and dimensions of doors and windows. Not only that, but it can also lock the elements that you don’t want to get changed.

We should also mention that while you sketch the layout in 2D, a window below displays the 3D model. Additionally, there are a lot of custom-made roof models that are mostly available in the paid version.

If you want to divide the garage into separate rooms, the room planning mode facilities taking up one room at a time and then designing it as required.

What Could’ve Been Better?

A significant problem that we faced was choosing a particular paid plan as different plans come with different features. This can be a confusing task, especially for first-timers who might have inadequate features or end up paying more for unnecessary tools.

  • Customizable fixtures
  • Surface toggle and multiple view modes
  • One-click 3D conversion
  • Individual room designing
  • Choosing a cost-effective plan can be tricky
  1. CADPro

No list of design software is complete with CADPro, so here it goes. From simple to complicated layouts, this 3D design program is capable of taking it all. The set of interactive features help you formulate a detailed design idea without putting in much effort.

Why Did We Like It?

First and foremost, we appreciate its dimension module, which works in tandem with the intelligent snap tools for precise designing. These high accuracy tools are responsible for automatically aligning parallels, and locating intersections and tangents. Besides, you can relocate the icons for convenient access.

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However, in our opinion, the reason behind the software’s popularity is its ease of sketching, and there are quite a few features that make it happen. On the one hand, you can download free plans to ‘remodel’ the layout as required.

Alternatively, you can also select the sketch-tracing tool that offers real-life like tracing. For this, sketch the plan by hand, scan and upload it on the software. It gets automatically converted into a traceable template that can be Fur modified. And the photo tracing allows you to do just that with a scanned photograph.

As far as detailing is concerned, the integrated library comprises fixtures, furniture and equipment with adjustable parameters and dimensions. Finally, the finished design can be made more descriptive using text, audio and visual special effects.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite being the taskmaster that this software is, there are a few things that could’ve been better. For one, drawing a curved wall can be challenging unless you use one of the tracing features. Secondly, we felt that there are limited options for doors, windows, etc. Considering that it’s a paid program, we’d have liked more variations.

  • Intelligent snap tools for precise designing
  • Smart photo editor modifies digital images
  • Compatible with audio and text description
  • Suitable for remodeling, repair and landscape design
  • No free trial
  1. Chief Architect Home Designer

The Chief Architect Home Designer is a multi-purpose software that can be used for designing light duty commercial structures. Its streamlined designing process is meant to speed up creating layouts for both novices and professionals. Apart from that, the program allows exterior detailing.

Why Did We Like It?

One of the first things that grabbed our attention is the automatic 3D rendering. Just like the Elecosoft 3D Architect Home Designer, the 3D model is generated as the user sketches the 2D model. Plus, you don’t have to spare extra time designing the 3D plan, which is a bonus!

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The streamlined designing process skillfully blends efficiency with speed. Thus, users can create precise layouts without having to spend a lot of time. Not only that, but the powerful design tools ensure zero compromises on quality.

Beyond that, its smart object design capability brings accessories directly from product catalogs, which can then be modified as required. And thanks to its CAD engine, users can customize plans, generate intricate CAD details and read AutoCAD files from the same interface.

Last but not least, the fixture library has a host of premade customizable floor plans, vehicle sizes, finishing and colors to render a life-like appearance to the final plan.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Unlike most of our other recommendations, the Chief Architect Home Designer doesn’t have a free trial version. Although the software can be rented for a limited time at a low cost, it might not be enough for first-timers to get accustomed to the tools. In that sense, it might be better to purchase a plan from the get-go.

  • Offers basic exterior designing
  • Convenient switching between 2D and 3D modes
  • Cost calculator estimates potential cost
  • Multi-view modes
  • Doesn’t have a trial version
  1. SmartDraw Building Design Software

As we near the end of the list, the SmartDraw Building Design Software makes a deserving entry. One of the easiest programs to use, it’s a popular alternative to many complicated and more advanced software. If you want to design a basic structure for your garage, then this one is worth considering.

Why Did We Like It?

SmartDraw Building Design focuses on creating 2D layouts, including blueprints, floor plans and building sketches. Apart from the paid version, a free trial can be downloaded from the official website on a computer or tablet. Furthermore, the tools have a drag-and-drop mechanism, thereby cutting down on your designing time.

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Despite coming across as a rather simple program, we were surprised by its efficiency. Firstly, the full version has over 4,500 templates to choose from. Hence, you can select the one that resembles your garage the closest and then modify the dimensions as required. There’s also the option of drawing the walls, for which the sides align automatically to create perfect sketches.

Additionally, there’s a huge library of customizable symbols and visuals that can be used to demarcate the space for vehicles, equipment, doors, windows and other fixtures. A good thing about this program is that upon adding, removing, or adjusting a shape, the plan is automatically adjusted to maintain the formatting.

Lastly, multiple users can work on the same project through SmartDraw Cloud or by integrating the software with different file sharing applications.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Given the software’s limitations in terms of creating a 3D layout or adding model fixtures to the plan, we think it’d be better to use the free version. That said, it’s extremely beneficial for beginners or users who don’t want a lot of detailing in their plans.

  • Premade templates
  • Design elements’ library
  • Compatible with multiple drives
  • Free support
  • May have limited use
  1. DraftSight

Another highly efficient 2D CAD software is DraftSight, which is available in both paid and free variants. Its straightforward interface and intuitive controls have earned it a target audience ranging from beginners to experienced users. Plus, the program’s newer versions come with improved features.

Why Did We Like It?

Straight off the bat, we were impressed with the precision on offer. The Cartesian coordinate system enables users to manipulate the command line for entering measurement values, which can otherwise become difficult with conventional mouse-based controls. Moreover, the toolbar and context menu provides for a smooth navigation experience.

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The layer manager will come in handy for users who feel comfortable working with layers. In this regard, the flexible viewports can be locked or edited for optimum layer control. Long story short, you can edit a layer for a particular viewport without disturbing the primary model or base layer.

An all-out feature is its import capabilities, which allows the user to attach images and multi-page PDFs for reference or as part of the design. The 30-day trial begins once it’s activated for printing or saving a project. After that, you will be required to buy a plan, which also includes a 3D option.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Frankly, we are bummed out about DraftSight’s tendency to keep crashing. Not only does the software take longer than usual to load, but the website version is also pretty unstable if the internet connectivity falters. Hence, it may be a bit annoying to work with it, especially for larger projects.

  • Special entities can be added to the drawing
  • Cartesian coordinate system
  • Batch printing feature
  • Supports various file formats
  • Slow to load
  1. Lumion

Lumion is a 3D rendering software that promises to get over with the job in a jiffy. The combination of an easy interface and powerful tools breathe life into your layouts. Besides, the realistic effects help you create precise models while running short on time.

Why Did We Like It?

For starters, the program’s minimalist interface saves you from the hassle of searching for the right tool. In addition, many of the functions are streamlined, which results in faster designing and quality results. Once you get the hang of the functions, designing the space shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

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As far as detailing is concerned, the integrated object library deserves all the praise. Its one-touch control mechanism means that you can add any object, material, or visual effect with a single click. And if you identify an arrangement that might come in handy in future projects, you can save it with a few clicks. It’s that simple!

Furthermore, users can create a more simplified layout with wire-frame models. Plus, there’s the option of importing 2D or 3D models from almost any software for readjustments or customizations.

Last but not least, the program is equipped with an auto-recovery tool that saves the current project in case of a system crash.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Some users may feel that the final results seem a bit cartoonish and may not be comfortable with using Lumion for professional purposes. However, this will also depend on the system’s graphics card and processing power. Also, a lot of otherwise basic features are included in the relatively expensive pro plan.

  • 360-degree panoramic view
  • Virtual walkthrough
  • Vehicle add-ons
  • Lighting effects<
  • Final image may appear cartoonish
  • Paid version is expensive


Garage Software Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is My Preferred Software Compatible With All OS?

While many programs are compatible with a particular OS, there are others that can run on any system. For instance, Virtual Architect is suitable for use in both Windows and OS. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that although the program may be compatible with all OS, it might not be compatible with mobile devices.

  1. What Are The Key Features That Should Be Considered?

Simply put, the expectations from a software depends on the requirement. Generally, first-time users look for advantages like an uncomplicated interface, easy-to-use tools and trouble-free rendering. On the other hand, more experienced users may focus on things like perspectives, multi-system use, etc.

In general, the key features to consider are precision measurements, virtual walkthrough and extensive accessory library. These are the things that actually help in creating realistic-looking layouts.

  1. Where Can I Save My Project?

Different programs have different saving options. While most free trials require you to create an account for saving a project, others may not have that option altogether. Likewise, a paid design software comes with an additional cloud storage facility that allows you to access the project from any compatible system.

  1. Should I Opt For A Free Or Paid Version?

We’d strongly suggest trying the trial version since it helps you form an idea about the operation. But a majority of the free trials have restricted usage.

If you think you are happy to spend some bucks for a full version, then you should go for the paid plan. Another advantage of a paid software is that it gives you more time to learn about the tools and interface.

  1. Do I Go For a 2D Or 3D Software?

Ideally, beginners should choose a software like Chief Architect Home Designer that simultaneously generates the 3D model while designing the 2D layout. This way, you can ensure creating a plan with perfect measurements and fixtures. However, there are many programs that facilitate one-click conversion from 2D to 3D. Both options are convenient to use.

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Final Words

Given the multi-purpose utility of a garage, it comes as no surprise that designing one demands utmost attention. And that’s where design software comes to the rescue. After all, who would mind feeling like a complete pro with virtual designing?

That brings us to the end of today’s guide, but we want you to leave with a couple of pro tips. First, always check the system requirements of the program before installation, even if it’s a free version. Second, spare some time to go through available online tutorials. This way, you’ll have a general idea even before trying the software.

Hope our efforts help you find the ideal program for your needs. Till next time, adios!

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Aida Vasquez
Aida has been part of Architecture Lab ever since 2011 when she started ghost writing for the website on art and design topics, today she is our veteran design contributor, covering a wide array of topics that fuel her creativity.

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