What Is the Best Software for Designing Woodwork Projects?

There are lots of our readers who are often curious about what is the best software for designing woodwork projects. As we will find out, there is no straight-up answer pointing out to a particular app. That is because opinion varies since apps are not made alike and tend to offer different features. Some would focus on the finer details of how to draw woodworking plans. Others help in giving a rough design of the furniture you expect to make in your home.

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Whatever the kind of furniture design software, any professional woodworker would take advantage of the technology. To start with, the woodwork design software gives you a compelling edge over what the average person can make from their woodwork design. If this already piques your interest, then the next part of this post will further raise it. We have created a review of the top software applications that can help you design woodwork projects without too many complications. The list is not exhaustive enough, but it goes a long way in answering what is the best software designing woodwork projects are.

  1. SketchUp
  2. Solidworks
  3. CAD Pro Furniture Design Software
  4. SketchList 3D
  5. Fusion 360
  6. VisualCAD
  7. PRO100 Furniture Design Software
  8. SmartDraw Cabinet Designer

Best software for designing woodwork projects

·        SketchUp

Google’s SketchUp software is arguably the best bet in answering your question on what is the best software for creating woodwork projects. It’s quite popular as a free 3D modeling software, and furniture design only seems to be a small part of its use. But for the option of designing woodwork projects, it does it so well.

The first evidence of its capability comes in the ability to build different 3D projects on various devices. You will have the option to develop your woodwork projects on the TV stand, bookshelf, or computer desk.

As such, the ability goes further to allow for projects sharing as Google puts it. You will have the option to share your plans by uploading onto the Google Warehouse website. That will enable you to browse and get reviews or feedback on your woodwork designs.

On matters of specifications, the software also takes home the win. First, it’s free but also has a Pro version but at a cheaper rate than the rest of  woodworking CAD software.

The interface also an intuitive use as you will find out. It’s straight away not too hard for beginners to learn but also proficient for intermediate use.

If you happen to find it complicated, there is the option of an animated instructor panel to guide you. You can consider this an advantage since it gives you hints on the big canvas and toolbars in use for designing woodwork projects.

·        Solidworks

Your quest on what is the best software for designing woodwork projects would not end without a mention of Solidworks.

Today, it’s one of the most versatile design software for woodwork projects around the home. Its use is stretching to designing furniture for living rooms, offices, bedrooms, and even dining rooms. And it has the CAD(Computer-Aided Design) technology to thank for supporting the design capability.

As you will get to see, the CAD model supports 2D and 3D modeling and simulation of all types of furniture. In my experience, this means furniture components such as tables, panels, chairs, and even desks. But the best part is that you can further customize the design models to suit your needs.

If you happen not to have a custom design, the software still provides templates for the basics to your design inspiration. The versatility in Solidworks is further evident in the file sharing process. You can export and import your woodwork projects in different formats for usage on other systems or devices.

Solidworks is also one of the most popular design software for woodwork projects due to its emphasis on finer details. It is suitable for the intricate designing and modeling of small parts of your furniture projects. That means its user-friendly when it comes to complex assemblies such as knobs, stairs, rails, hinges, and stops.

·        CAD Pro Furniture Design Software

CAD Pro Furniture Design Software is another CAD-model software for technical drafting and drawing. The software, therefore, makes a perfect fit for a virtual tool to design interactive woodwork projects from their computer desk or laptop.

The software’s best selling point starts with its capability to create detailed blueprints. Thanks to its reliable CAD system, the CAD Pro can provide multiple design tools that complement the designing of different perfect woodwork projects.

The other reason you would want to snap up this software would be the comprehensive list of interactive features. From the outlook, these features allow advanced designing and editing of your woodwork project models. You can even insert text notes, audio files, and also comments on the data.

If you explore more of the software, there is also plenty of features that come with the design tool-set. There are tools for advanced drafting, smart dimensions, sketch tracing, and auto shaping. If your intention is going over the bar with the design, you can also use the customizable views, fill patterns, and 256 template layers of fill colors.

·        SketchList 3D

Professional woodworkers will also find the SketchList 3D as useful software for furniture design.

The first element with this would be its support for many operating systems. According to the software, it’s compatible with Windows and Mac-based devices, allowing various professional woodworkers to use it.

As a toolkit, the SketchList 3D software further provides the necessary functionality for designing your woodwork projects. There is the drag and snap object feature for first-time use and design. The Dynamically Resize option also allows you to change your woodwork designs as per your requirements.

This software also offers extensive customization features for a much realistic furniture design process. For instance, the Insert Photo Realistic Background allows you actually to upload pictures for a realistic environment.

If you want to go colorful on the woodwork projects, know you can pick from the unlimited number of colors and grains available. Under the Custom Colors section, you are bound to find a color scheme that fits your needs.

For much detailed design and modeling of woodwork projects, you can opt for the SketchList 3D Pro. Its the paid version that offers an ingenious furniture designing experience for $799.99.

·        Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is product software from Autodesk with an emphasis on producing cloud-based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE models. Designs and simulation capabilities are also part of the standard tools for creating woodwork projects and pieces.

When it comes to rendering tools, the Fusion 360 adds animations and drawings to cover every aspect of your design. The software uses the cloud to render and simulate your furniture designs in real capacity.

Unlike the traditional CAD systems, the Fusion 360 simplifies the size of installation, upgrading, and maintenance. Since most of the software operations run on the cloud, it translates to much less time installing, update, or support.

But no tool is perfect, and as you will find out, so is the Fusion 360. The first downside for me is that the software comes with subscription pricing yearly. That is, of course, after the expiry of the free trial period. After you will have to part with $310 annually for access to the entire software catalog features.

·        VisualCAD

VisualCAD is a CAD software platform for professional woodworkers seeking to use CAM(Computer-aided modeling) software. In essence, the VisualCAD software is a step in using the CAM software to streamline and automate woodwork projects. Part of the automation, which makes it ideal for high-quality manufacturing, includes drilling and precision cutting.

You would also have to take note that VisualCAD offers state of the art features with industrial-grade functionality. A good example is the 3-axis milling function available to come up with a precise visual engine. It allows you to even add engravings, signature designs, and parallel finishing in your woodwork projects.

Training and support are also available as part of the VisualCAD package. The only downside here is that the features for 3D CAD/CAM operations are available for customers with a license. The four price configurations include standard, expert, professional, and premium to choose from and use. The standard VisualCAD option is the cheapest option available as a paying version of the software.

·        PRO100 Furniture Design Software

The PRO100 Furniture Design Software is built comprehensively to answer any question on what is the best software for woodworking projects. You will come across it as a software full of ready-made templates and graphics for your woodworking situation. There is a sample of cabinets, wardrobes, furniture, and plenty of other household woodwork items.

You will also rate the PRO100 Furniture Design Software as a flexible canvas software. From my experience, it allows for 3D rendering, which addresses issues of flexibility in viewing different formats.

Part of this flexibility further extends to how the PRO100 Furniture Design Software users get to share information. According to the software, you can import, export, and modify textures and 3D objects, even from external sources.

The modification part is made possible by an in-built shape editor with an eye for detail. You are sure to combine your woodwork designs from external storage, edit them and save as finished design products.

The drawing process further uses a modern approach, thanks to the technology in use. Some of the critical technology you can expect to come in the view option. There all views available with over five modes to choose from and use.

In the event you are working with different projects, you can still open multiple sessions. If you want, you can even copy your work between the open sessions rather than open a new tab each time.

The last element of interest would be ease of use with the PRO100 Furniture Design Software. There is no use of complex formulas or calculations, which means it user-friendly for beginners. As such, the software has found multi-dimensional use across the manufacturing and design industries.

But to get a hold of the PRO100 Furniture Design Software takes purchasing a one-time license of US$2550. I consider this quite expensive if you are a hobbyist, but for professional woodworkers with long-term work can use it in the long-run.

·        SmartDraw Cabinet Designer

SmartDraw already has a reputation for producing easy-to-use software applications with compelling visuals on different devices and platforms. That is the case also with the Cabinet Designer software that practically lets you import, modify, or export woodwork designs as diagrams. But the focus is not just on any woodwork designs but instead designs whose focus is on making cabinets, furniture, shelves, and closets. You can also use it for other purposes, but cabinet making is the primary intention of this drawing software.

Further, you will also find plenty of cabinet templates to use in case you need a quick startup. Just like the leading software, this Cabinet designer will have you choose between the hundreds of visuals available.

In addition to templates, you also have the option of automatic formatting. SmartDraw sought to put this to help in arranging and aligning your woodwork designs into one masterpiece.

The software also can let you design in 2D. In their tutorial, SmartDraw lists the ability to create objects and plans using 2D designs for a realistic approach.

Although we all love free things, SmartDraw lists a price tag of $197 for access to the Standard software design. If you mean to go all-out, you can choose the Business package for $297.


As you are aware, furniture design software is an essential tool for creating fantastic woodwork designs and furniture products. So, we hope that you will find what the best software for designing woodworking projects for your situation is. Our guide list proves to be a good starting point to use in making that purchase decision on any of the apps for designing woodwork projects.

I recently wrote an article on Android Apps for Designing Woodworking Projects for Woodworkers. Read it here.

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