Sweet Home 3D is a free interior design application that helps you
place your furniture on a house 2D plan, with a 3D preview.
Available at http://www.sweethome3d.com/,
this program is aimed at people who want to design their interior quickly,
whether they are moving or they just want to redesign their existing
home. Numerous visual guides help you draw the plan of your home and
layout furniture. You may draw the walls of your rooms upon the image
of an existing plan, and then, drag and drop furniture onto the plan
from a catalog organized by categories. Each change in the 2D plan is
simultaneously updated in the 3D view, to show you a realistic rendering
of your layout.
This guide shows you how to create a home with Sweet Home 3D version
6.6. After describing its user interface, you'll learn how to draw the
walls of your home, and how to layout the furniture. The example created
in this tutorial is available at http://www.sweethome3d.com/examples/userGuideExample.sh3d
For more information, you may also view Sweet
Home 3D video tutorials, use Sweet Home 3D help accessible
from the Help button found in the tool bar of Sweet Home
3D windows, and learn more advanced tips.
figure 1. Sweet Home 3D help
Sweet Home 3D may be run on Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 to macOS 11, Linux and
Solaris, and is translated in 29 different languages.
Depending on your system, use the following instructions to download
Sweet Home 3D and install it:
You may also edit your homes with Sweet
Home 3D Online. The features of this version are similar to the
ones of the downloadable version except that your homes will be saved
on the server of this web site once you registered.
Each Sweet Home 3D window edits the interior design of a home and is
divided in four resizable panes, with a tool bar at its top, as shown
in figure 2.
figure 2. Sweet Home 3D panes
The furniture catalog
This catalog, organized by categories, contains all the furniture
and objects you may add to your home design. You can display
the furniture of a category by clicking on the triangle beside
The home plan
This pane displays your home as seen from top, upon a grid and
surrounded by rules. You draw the walls of your home with the
mouse in this pane and layout your furniture upon it.
The home furniture list
This list contains the furniture of your home, where their name,
size and other characteristics may be displayed. It may be sorted
by clicking on each column title.
The home 3D view
This pane displays your home in 3 dimensions. You may see your home
in this pane either from the top, or from a virtual visitor point
Each pane may have the focus (i.e. receive keyboard
input), and some operations depend on the focused pane, recognizable
by the colored rectangle that surrounds it ; for example,
the home plan has focus in figure 2. To transfer focus
to another pane, use Tab and Shift + Tab keys, or
click in the pane that should gain focus.
All modifications done in the home plan are undoable/redoable
by clicking on the Undo and Redo buttons in the
tool bar. Don't hesitate to try the various operations proposed
by the program.
a new home
Before proceeding further, display the preferences dialog box as shown
in figure 3, with Sweet Home 3D > Preferences... menu item under
Mac OS X or File > Preferences... menu item under other systems.
Check the default unit used in the program, the default thickness and
height of walls, and other preferences.
figure 3. Editing preferences
To create a home, simply use the default home created at Sweet
Home 3D launch or click on the New home button in
the tool bar.
The suggested steps of a home design in Sweet Home 3D are:
By the way, don't forget to regularly save your project by
clicking on the Save home button. A Sweet Home 3D
file may be exchanged with other users and may contain imported
3D models not present in the default catalog.
You may also create images of the
3D view at PNG format, compute 3D videos
from a virtual path in your home and export
the 3D view of your home at OBJ + MTL format.
This first step is not mandatory but it speeds up the drawing
of the walls of an existing home. So try to find the blueprint
of your home and scan it if you didn't do it yet, ensuring the
image is correctly rotated. Don't import a large file in Sweet
Home 3D, this image is supposed to be a helper, not some art!
Choose Plan > Import background image... menu to display
the wizard that helps you to choose and scale an image file, as shown
in figure 4.
Define the scale of the image by moving the end points of the
colored line drawn in the image, in such a way that this line
matches a known length. Then type the real length of this line
in the Length of the drawn line field, and click on Continue.
Define the origin of the image in the plan, i.e. the point
in the image matching the point (0, 0) in the home plan. Then
click on Finish.
Once the wizard is closed, your image will appear behind the home plan
grid at the chosen scale, as shown in figure 5. If you chose a wrong
scale or location, edit them by choosing Plan > Modify background
image... out of the menu.
figure 5. Background image in the home plan pane
To draw walls, click first on the Create walls button
in the tool bar.
Click in the home plan at the start point of the new wall, then click
or double-click in the plan at its end point. As long as you don't double-click
or press the Escape key, each new click indicates the opposite
point of the current wall and the start point of the next wall.
To help you draw walls precisely, use walls tooltip, alignment
lines and change the plan scale with Zoom buttons. You
may also enter the length and the angle of the wall being created
after pressing the enter key.
Don't take doors and windows into account while drawing walls, because
Sweet Home 3D will automatically compute the holes in the walls where
you will place openings. As shown in figure 6, walls are simultaneously
drawn in the plan and in the 3D view, and you can adjust
the point of view in the 3D view at any time, by moving the mouse
with its left button pressed.
figure 6. Drawing walls
To help you drawing parallel walls, the angle of the walls
on the floor is a multiple of 15° by default. You may cancel
this magnetism by disabling magnetism in the preferences dialog box or by holding the Alt key pressed during
the drawing under Windows, the cmd key under Mac OS X or the Shift + Alt keys under Linux.
Click on Select button in the tool bar, to end the
drawing of walls and use tools disabled during the drawing of
When Select mode is chosen, you can select one object in
your home plan by clicking on it. You can also select one or more
objects by drawing a selection rectangle around them, or clicking
on each of them while pressing Shift key.
To move selected walls (and other objects) in the home plan, simply
drag and drop them, or use keyboard arrow keys. When one wall
is selected in the plan, you can also move its start and end point with
the mouse or split it in two walls with Plan > Split wall
Double-click on a wall or choose Plan > Modify walls... from
the menu to modify the current set of selected walls with the wall dialog box.
As shown on figure 7, this dialog box helps you to edit the colors
or the textures of left and right sides of the selected walls, and their
thickness and their height. If you want to use an image of your own
as a texture, click on the Import button and use the texture
import wizard that will guide you.
figure 7. Editing wall attributes
doors, windows and furniture
To add furniture to your home, drag and drop furniture from
catalog to the home plan or furniture list, as shown on figure
8, or select a piece in the catalog and click on the Add furniture
button in the tool bar.
The pieces added to the home are selected and drawn simultaneously
in the furniture list, in the home plan and in the 3D view.
figure 8. Adding doors, windows and furniture to the home plan
First add doors and windows to your home plan to get a realistic view
of your empty home. When magnestism is active, a door or a window dropped
upon a wall is automatically oriented and resized depending on the orientation
and the thickness of that wall.
Then add furniture and adjust their location, angle and size. When magnestism
is active, a piece of furniture is automatically rotated so its back
face lies along the wall upon which you released the mouse cursor, and
a piece dropped on a larger one will be elevated to appear on the top
of the latter, if its default elevation is at floor level.
When one piece is selected in the plan, you can change its
size, elevation or angle with one of the four indicators that appear
at each corner of the selected piece, as shown in figure 9.
figure 9. Indicators of a selected piece of furniture
The rotation indicator shows
the corner you can drag to rotate the selected piece. Hold Alt
key to toggle the 15° magnetism applied during rotation.
The height indicator shows
the corner you can drag to change the height of the selected piece.
The elevation indicator shows
the corner you can drag to change the elevation from the floor
of the selected piece.
The size indicator shows the corner
you can drag to change the width and the depth of the selected piece.
You may also double-click on a piece of furniture or choose Furniture
> Modify... from the menu to modify the current set of selected
pieces with the furniture dialog box. As shown on figure 10, this dialog box
helps you edit the name of the selected furniture, its rotation
angle, its location, its elevation from the floor, its size, its color
or its texture, its visibility and whether its 3D model shape should
be mirrored. If the selected objects contain one or more lights, this
dialog box will let you also edit their power, but this will have an effect
only at the two best quality levels in the photo
figure 10. Editing furniture attributes
Invisible furniture isn't drawn in the home plan and 3D view,
but it will still appear in the furniture list to let you make
it visible again later.
If a piece of furniture or an object is missing in the catalog of Sweet
Home 3D, you may import a 3D model file, and use it in your home. More
than 800 free models designed by contributors may be downloaded at http://www.sweethome3d.com/freeModels.jsp,
but you can also download models from other web sites, or create your own models with software like Blender
or Art of Illusion. Sweet
Home 3D supports 3D model files at OBJ, DAE, 3DS format, ZIP
files containing a file of this type, and KMZ files.
Select Furniture > Import furniture... menu item to launch the
wizard that will help you to choose and size the 3D model file,
as shown in figure 11. Under Windows and Mac OS X, you may also
drag and drop a 3D model file in a Sweet Home 3D window to launch
figure 11. Furniture import wizard
Click on Choose model and choose the 3D model file in
the file dialog box. If you dragged and dropped in a window the 3D
model file you want to import, it's automatically selected. Once
the model is loaded, click on Continue.
Orientate the model with arrow buttons in such a way the front
view displays the front face of the 3D model, and click on Continue.
Change if necessary the name, the size, the elevation, the
color of the imported model and whether this model is movable, is a door, a window or a staircase. Then click on Continue.
Turn the 3D model with the mouse to get the best point of view
on the model for the model icon displayed in the furniture catalog,
furniture list and home plan. Then click on Finish.
Once the furniture import wizard is closed, the imported model will
appear in the furniture catalog and/or home plan and furniture list,
depending on the options you chose. You may use it as any 3D model of
the default catalog.
To draw rooms, click first on the Create rooms button.
Create a new room or a new surface in home plan using either way:
click at each corner of the room, then double-click at its last
point or press the Escape key after you added the last point,
double-click anywhere inside an existing closed surface (i.e.
surrounded by walls), as shown in figure 12.
figure 12. Creating with a double-click
a room that includes an half doorstep
First draw walls and add
doors, before drawing rooms. Using this method, you'll be
able to create rooms much faster by double-clicking in each surface
that matches a room of your home. Note also that a room created
with a double click will include the half doorstep of each door
placed on its walls. This feature ensures rooms join each other
correctly in the 3D view when the doors between rooms are opened.
Once you a room is created, you may modify its name, the color or the
texture of its floor and its ceiling, by choosing Plan > Modify
rooms... out of the menu, as shown on figure 13.
figure 13. Editing room attributes
When one room is selected, you may also move each
one of its points with the mouse in Select mode, and change the
location of its area and of its name with the indicators drawn under
If your home has more than one level or story, you can create the additional levels by choosing Plan > Add level from the menu or by clicking on the + tab that appears when a home has more than one level. Each level is represented by a tab displayed at the top of the plan view and used to select the level into which new walls, furniture and other objects will be added.
figure 14. New level showing in light color walls and ceilings of the lower level
As shown in figure 14, walls and ceilings of the lower level are displayed with a light color in the plan view to help you use wall or room drawing tools more easily. If needed you may also copy / paste some objects from an other level to the selected level.
The default elevation, height and floor thickness of each level can be modified by double-clicking on its tab or by choosing Plan > Modify
level... out of the menu.
figure 15. Editing level attributes
As shown on figure 15, the level modification pane shows also a table
describing all the levels of a home to help you choose the right values compared to other levels. To create underground levels, enter a negative elevation. The level height is used to compute the elevation of the ceilings of the edited level.
At any time during the drawing of your home, you can change the point
of view used in the 3D view. Two different way of viewing the home
are available, the default selected mode set with 3D view > Aerial
view menu and the other mode set with 3D view > Virtual visit.
In both modes, you can use the mouse or keyboard arrows to change the
current point of view, as shown as in figures 16 and 17.
figure 16. Mouse and keyboard actions in
aerial view mode
figure 17. Mouse and keyboard actions in
virtual visit mode
When Virtual visit mode is selected, a virtual visitor seen
from top is also drawn in the home plan. Its location and its angle
is updated simultaneously in the plan and 3D view with each move of
the visitor. This virtual visitor is surrounded by four indicators,
as shown in figure 18.
figure 18. Indicators of the virtual visitor
The head angle indicator shows the angle you can change
to move the visitor's head up or down.
The field of view indicator shows the angle that is
currently viewed in the 3D view.
The body angle indicator shows the angle you can change
to move the visitor's body to the left or to the right.
The eyes elevation indicator shows the point you can
drag to move up or down the visitor's point of view.
You can also choose the 3D view > Modify 3D view... from the menu
to change the color
or texture of the ground and the sky, the light brightness and wall
transparency, as shown in figure 19.
To draw dimensions, click first on the Create dimensions
You can create a new dimension in the plan using either
Click at the start point of the new dimension, click at its end
point, then click a third time after moving the mouse pointer to choose
the size of the extension lines drawn at each end of the dimension
Move the mouse pointer on the border of a piece of furniture, the
wall side or the room side you want to measure, double-click to accept
the temporary dimension draw in the plan, then click a third time
after choosing the size of its extension lines.
In both cases, the new dimension won't have any extension line if you
don't move the mouse between the second and the third click.
figure 21. Drawing dimensions
To add free texts in plan, click first on the Add texts
Click at the location where you want to add a text in
the home plan, and enter its text in the dialog box that will appear.
figure 22. A free text with bold style
At any time, you may change the size and the style of the
selected texts with the text style buttons.
Once you designed your home, you can print it with File > Print...
or File > Print to PDF... menus, and preview the result with
File > Print preview... menu. By default, Sweet Home 3D prints
the furniture list, the plan and the current 3D view of home, using
default paper size, margins and orientation.
Choose File > Page setup... from the menu to modify this default
choice, as well as the scale of the printed plan, the header and the
footer, as shown in figure 23.
figure 23. Page setup
Creating photos of the
Click on the Create photo... tool to create an image
of the 3D view with the size and the proportions of your choice,
and save it in a file at PNG format.
As shown in figure 24, the pane used to create photos lets you choose
also the quality level of the created image. With a fast quality level,
the created image will look as in the 3D view, whereas with the best
quality level, the image will be more photorealistic. At the two best
quality levels, you may manage the illumination of the image by adding
lights at a different power level or by changing the hour.
figure 24. Creating photo
Computing an image at the best quality level may take a very
long time depending of your home and the power of your computer.
Nevertheless, note that you can still modify your home during
this calculus. For technical reasons, only one Create photo
pane may be opened at the same time.
Creating 3D videos
Click on the Create video... tool to display the pane
used to create a video from a virtual path in the 3D view. As
figure 25 shows, this pane lets you choose the format of the video
and its quality in a way similar to the photo
figure 25. Creating video
To create a video, choose in the 3D view the initial location of the
video camera and click on the red button in the video creation pane.
Then move in the 3D view to the next location of the video camera and
click again on the red button. Repeat these steps for each location
where the camera should pass by during the video.
Each time you click on the red button, a new point is added in the video
creation pane to show you the path of the camera. As Sweet Home 3D takes
also into account the vertical elevation of the camera, its 2 rotation
angles and its field of view, you may create all kind of animations.
Once the path you created is satisfying, click on the Create
button to start the computing of the video frames, then once this computing
is finished, click on the Save... button to save the video in
a Quicktime file. You may view this video with differents tools like
VLC or transcode it in an other
format. Figures 26 and 27 show two videos computed from the path shown
in figure 25 and transcoded to MPEG-4 format:
figure 26. Video with the same quality as
figure 27. Video at the best quality
Use playback buttons to check roughly the path of the camera
in the 3D view, because computing a video may take minutes to
hours depending on your home, the quality you chose and the power
of your computer.
Export to OBJ format
If you want to reuse your home in 3D software like Blender
or Art of Illusion to improve
its rendering for example, choose 3D view > Export to OBJ format...
from the menu and import the generated OBJ file in these software. This
menu item will write in the selected OBJ file the description of all
the objects displayed in the 3D view, it will create a MTL file describing
their color and finally, it will save the images of the textures, you
may have used. The figure 28 shows a rendering done in Blender once
a few lights were added in the scene.
figure 28. Rendering of an exported home in Blender
The features of Sweet Home 3D may be extended thanks to plug-ins, that
you may even develop yourself
if you're able to program in Java.
A plug-in is a SH3P file stored in the plug-ins folder of Sweet Home
3D. To install a SH3P file in this folder, simply double-click on this
file under Windows and Mac OS X. Under Linux, you'll have to copy the
SH3P file in the subfolder .eteks/sweethome3d/plugins of your
user folder if the double-click doesn't work.
Once the plug-in is installed, relaunch Sweet Home 3D to let the new
menu items and/or the new buttons matching the plug-in features appear.
For example, the Home
rotator plug-in adds two items to the Plan menu able to rotate
all the items in the home plan clock wise or counter clock wise.
To uninstall a plug-in, remove its SH3P file from the plug-ins folder of Sweet Home 3D,
and restart the application. This folder
is shown when you click on any SH3P file listed in the Plug-ins section of the Libraries in use pane. The latter pane is displayed by clicking on the Libraries... button shown at the bottom of Sweet Home 3D About dialog box.
Thanksto Pencilart for her contribution
to the translation of this page.