Reviewed By

Ekta KohliVerified Expert in Interior Design

With over 11 years of experience in interior design and kitchen design, Ekta has worked on a wide range of projects from residential to commercial. She is currently leading the design team at Infinite Ideas Interiors, India.

Home » Design Software & Tools » 10 Best SketchUp Alternatives for Designers in 2023

SketchUp Alternatives

Designers have a tough job; it is what it is. They have to understand and meet clients’ requirements while incorporating their innovative sense of style and panache, all on a budget that benefits both parties.

Be it for homeowners or commercial projects, or even for game development, designers have to address intricate detailing in their design plans and accommodate optimum functionality by allowing some leeway for client feedback and suggestions.

Architects and interior designers in particular have a tougher job since their product designs play a major role in the lives of real estate owners. Their clients will be using the property almost all the time and the architectural design and interior design are going to stare them in the face every day. This is particularly true for those clients looking for home design as it is where they seek peace and quiet.

Much like every profession, architects and interior designers could also do with a little assistance. There are tons of design software made available of late that have truly enriched the experience of the design process. These design tools aid in creating building information models or BIMs from scratch, thus facilitating the incorporation of any mechanical design or modifications to the architectural design.

Read also – 15 Best Free Interior Design Software

sketchup interior design software

A popular choice among beginners in the field of architecture and interior design is called Sketchup. The open-source 3D modeling software allows a number of features such as:

1. It offers a free version that you can use for small projects. For more advanced projects though, you will have to purchase the paid version, which can be a little inconvenient, especially for students and beginners.

2. Sketchup users can use different file formats to share their design ideas with clients. There are also options to download and view files shared to the gallery by others.

3. It is user-friendly design software that requires very little time to learn.

4. You can create free-form 2D drawings and convert them to 3D design using parametric modeling tools.

5. The 3D rendering interior design software is also ideal for simple game development. It allows using photorealistic miniatures of furniture, décor, and even people for the art of illusion.

6. The real-time product design features of Sketchup allow designers to use advanced lighting attributes to create visual effects. You can add it to areas that will be illuminated by direct natural light or lighting installments within the property.

As wonderful as the 3D modeling software is, most professional designers find that the price of the paid version of SketchUp is a little expensive as compared to the design features available for use.

Additionally, it is not ideal for advanced sculpting and pro-level design skills, which is why users of these modeling tools are constantly looking for the best Sketchup alternatives to ease the design process. That is why today we have compiled a list of Sketchup alternatives from which you can choose the most suitable one for you.

Read also – 15 Best 3D Floor Plan Software

Choosing the Best Sketchup Alternatives

Before we share the list though, keep in mind that when choosing the best software for 3D rendering, modeling tools, and sculpting, you need to ensure that it is compatible with your system.

To begin with, it must be compatible with your budget and system configuration. If the hardware and software features are compatible, you need to check if it fits well with your operating system such as Mac, Linux, your version of Windows, Android, etc.

For Apple and Mac users with a plethora of design features at their disposal, using a 3D modeling software that facilitates the use of an apple pencil to add touch-ups and intricate nuances is very important. iPad Pro users in particular have numerable options to explore with the help of these design tools.

You must also keep an eye on the plugins and open-source modeling tools available in free versions vs paid versions of any design software. Most 3D modeling software tools allow you to test out the utilization of certain features even in free versions for a limited period of time. However, most design tools only allow a certain number of features for free usage, even if it is for a lifetime, while the coveted advanced design features are only available to paid subscribers.

living room interior design by bernice anaatatia on foyr neo

Ideally, it is best to choose a 3D design CAD software that accommodates both 2D drawings and adding 3D objects to your 3D modeling program. The home design platforms must also facilitate various design features in free form with an enhanced user experience. allowing designers to indulge in sculpting direct modeling features such as floor plans, furnishing, testing color schemes, etc. are a few of the benefits that all the choices of your design software systems must offer.

You must also check the animation and mechanical features that you can introduce into your product design. Additionally, you also must see to it that the configuration of the design software does not take up too much room and is readily available across time and location parameters.

Let us take a look at the list of the best Sketchup alternatives that we have curated for the best user experience on a user-friendly 3D modeling program.

Read also – 15 Best Free Home Design Software

10 Best Sketchup Alternatives for your Design Projects

Here is a list of best SketchUp alternatives for 3D modeling that you can use to optimize the workflow:

First and foremost, let us talk about the best SketchUp alternative that you can find in the current market, which is Foyr Neo. The product comes from one of the top sources of design information pertaining to the fields of architecture and interior design.

Foyr Has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most reliable platforms that feature current design trends. It is constantly managed by a team of professionals who excel at identifying the problems faced by design professionals. The company strives to meet the requirements of a 3D modeling program in this technologically advanced era with top-notch solutions.

To begin with, Foyr is a cloud-based platform that allows you to work on your design projects Online. You can access the platform through a web browser on any operating system including Mac, Windows, Linux, etc. to create, modify, share, and perform lots of neat little tricks to enhance your presentation.

foyr neo - best sketchup alternatives

Among other design features, Foyr has an open-source library with templates and mood boards to help you out. You can design an entire project from scratch starting with the floor plans, exteriors, landscape, interior room designs, choosing color schemes, adding virtual furniture, and a lot more.

The Foyr user interface is also very simple to use. Additionally, the broad collection of tutorials is designed to help designers not only learn how to optimize the workflow but learn the fundamentals of design principles at the same time.

Foyr Neo also features a simplified sharing component wherein you can have a constant back and forth with clients conveniently. Once you feel like you have met the design requirements as proposed by the clients, then you can share the project with them via email. Since it is a web and cloud-based platform, clients can also open the 3D images and animations that you share and give their feedback. All the communications will be readily available for posterity to help with the billing process.

Foyr has hence quickly become a go-to platform for beginners and professionals alike. The best about the platform is the low-cost subscription of $49 and the 14-day free trial that opens up a gateway to high-quality professional design features.

kitchen design made on Foyr Neo

One of the favoured computer-aided design programs created by one of the giants of industry is Maya by Autodesk. Among other offerings from the developers such as AutoCAD, 3DS Max, etc. Maya has a lot to offer in terms of diverse design features and an array of animation tools.

There are several dynamics and effects to explore, not to mention a lot of features pertaining to 3D software. From Building Information modeling to 3D modeling to 3D animations to 3D rendering, you can do it all on Maya.

The most significant drawback of Autodesk Maya is the cost. It is not the best design software for beginners or for small-time freelancers or even for homeowners designing their own homes. The cost is only bearable for those who use the platform to create very specific animations.

Read also – 10 Best Maya Alternatives

autodesk maya - sketchup alternatives

Autodesk 3DS Max can only rank second among the offerings from the developers, closely followed by AutoCAD in terms of quality. 3DS Max is a version of the 3D studio that supports advanced modeling tools. It is a popular choice with architects, interior designers, and game developers alike.

The beauty and drawback of 3DS Max is its complexity. On the one hand, it seems incredibly difficult to learn especially for beginners due to its complex user interface and advanced modeling and visualization tools. On the other hand, after learning how to use 3DS Max, you can adapt to using any 3D design software that is presented to you with ease.

Of course, the cost of 3DS Max is going to stump a few users. However, if you want to use one of the best SketchUp alternatives with its range of graphic features, then you have to pay a heavy amount.

Read also – 15 Best 3D Rendering Software Alternatives

autodesk 3ds max - sketchup alternatives

An open-source alternative to using SketchUp is the 3D software that is most commonly used by architects and animation artists is Blender. The design software features a multitude of unique design options such as lighting, expressing the direction of the sun, camera angles, and video editing, and adding appropriate effects to enhance the aesthetic value of your 3D creations.

Blender is available to users as a free version, which seems to attract a lot of traffic. It also offers several cool and amazing modeling options including simulations, rigging, rendering, animating, etc. However, the major drawback of Blender is its lack of simplicity. Beginners in the field of architecture and interior design find it incredibly difficult to use this software although professionals find it rather helpful.

blender - sketchup alternatives

Another gem from the creators of AutoCAD, Maya, 3DS Max, etc., I.e., Autodesk is Revit. With a requirement for 64-bit Windows, Revit has a lot to offer in terms of design styles. From floor plans to landscapes, you can find a variety of available themes to choose from.

It is popular with designers working with mechanical designs, home designs, electrical planning, plumbing lines, structural engineering, etc. It does take some time to learn and use Revit, much like other Autodesk products, and it is a little costly. However, they do provide a 1-year free version package for educators and students to help them adapt to design features fluently.

Read also – 10 Best Floor Plan Creator

autodesk revit - sketchup alternatives

An exclusive design software available to Apple users is Shapr3D. It is available on iPad Pro and other Apple devices to facilitate enhanced design options for experienced and apple-dedicated users.

Among its many exciting features, Shapr3D is available as a mobile app that is commonly used for engineering projects, making 3D prints of innovative creations, etc. It is compatible with almost all CAD programs, and once you complete the foundations and animations, you can import the file to STL or STEP file formats.

Apart from the drawback of being unavailable to users of other operating systems, Shapr3D is a viable option for design professionals.

Read also – 21 Best 3D Rendering Software for Interior Designers

A versatile, open-source 3D design software available for designers from all walks of life is FreeCAD. As the name suggests, it is available as a free version to all and is ideally suited for professionals in the fields of mechanical designs of engineering.

As an open-source program, FreeCAD has a massive library that is specifically suited for people using the software to compute scientific data. Although not the best open-source 3D library as compared to other programs on this list, FreeCAD can be quite helpful for mechanical designing.

As a Sketchup alternative, FreeCAD sure does a good job, although the lack of feasible 3D features puts architects and interior designers at a disadvantage.

Read also – 15 Best Kitchen Design Software

freecad - sketchup alternatives

A little on the low-tech end of this list is LibreCAD. It is a 2D platform that allows you to work with a number of operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Apple-based platforms.

The user interface on this design software is pretty simplistic. It allows you to sketch and create 2D drawings, add polylines, modeling and transformational tools. The application is available in a small size so it runs faster than 3D modeling programs. The drawback still stands that as a 2D platform in this era, it lacks the potential to develop high-quality sculpting and 3D printing options.

Read also – 5 Best Online Cloud Rendering Software Programs

librecad - sketchup alternative

As the name may have given it away, a 3D CAD software that has been beneficial to people who work with solid modeling is SolidWorks. The 3D modeling software was developed and published by Dassault Système to be available on Windows platforms.

As a SketchUp alternative, it is a simplistic software program that is well-suited for beginners in the fields of design. For students, it is quite helpful to learn new design techniques using the tutorials and implement what they learn easily.

It may not be the best option for professional designers but for amateurs, it will do in a pinch.

Read also – 20 Best Home Design Apps for House Interior Design

solidworks - sketchup alternative

Apple Pencil. As we have mentioned, it is a boon to Apple users, especially those with Apple Pro. The product design does accommodate fundamental sketching and offers immense control over the design process.

There are several other software programs available at varying price ranges. These include tenable options such as TinkerCAD, Rhino, Fusion 360, and other incredible 3D CAD options for Windows, Linux, and macOS. You can always try the free versions of the paid software programs and determine for yourself if they are the right fit for your design needs.

Read also – 20 Best Floor Plan Apps To Create Your Floor Plans


Looking back at the top design consultants recommending their favorite schemes, we realize how easy these design software tools make it for architects and interior designers to incorporate their favourite design features. The photorealistic visualization features make it possible to implement design ideas shared by industry experts such as in Foyr articles, STL magazine, People magazine, Architecture Digest, etc.

Consider the learning curve of the software program and make sure it simplifies your process with more drag and drop options rather than having to sketch elaborate and cumbersome 2D drawings. Not only will the right 3D design software simplify the design process but also aid in small business functions such as billing, preparing presentations, creating lucrative design plans, and a lot more.

Choose the 3d Modelling software that best suits your design needs and that of your target audience and amaze people with your creative skills.

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