Kitchen Design Software

No two ways about it - using a kitchen design software is going to make life a lot easier when it comes to planning out your kitchen renovation. However, finding the right software for the job is a whole other issue.

There are many choices out there, and some are definitely better than others. Those just starting out on their renovation journey might be overwhelmed enough trash the whole software idea, and stick to the old pen and paper method.

That’s why we reached out to the pros. We asked 16 professional designers which software they work with, and what they like (or in some cases, dislike) about it.

Their insight is so valuable and helpful, we just had to put it all into a single amazing resource for all the frustrated DIY-ers out there.

You can read all their helpful comments below.

" As I’m designing a kitchen, it is putting the pricing along with any options selected, into a spreadsheet behind the scenes! 

Maria Stapperfenne ~ Designer ~ Tewksbury Kitchen & Baths

My favorite design software is 2020… I guess I’ve just simply been assimilated!

The reason I like it is because it makes my work light. As I’m designing a kitchen, it is putting the pricing along with any options selected, into a spreadsheet behind the scenes!

Once designed, I can show the client a 3-D rendering of their room that moves around and can make changes on the fly so they can see it immediately. If they like it, with just a few clicks, I can give them a PRICE on these products in their design!

I used to like Cabinetware, because of the customization, I was able to make on cabinets and STILL keep pricing on the products, but they were sold off to Planit, and I opted for the convenience of the masses.

My MO (modus operandi) is to have the client sit with me while I give them their “HGTV Moment” and create their kitchen before their eyes, so they can see it in 3-D just like they do on the shows.

They love it, get excited/engaged, and I have a much better closing rate from this procedure.

" Hands down the best software (that I now use) is Chief Architect.

BeckySue Becker ~ Principal Designer ~ Designs By BSB

I have been in the kitchen/bath remodeling industry for 30yrs +.

Hands down the best software (that I now use) is Chief Architect.

The diversity and customization of the rooms, cabinetry, finishes, furniture, etc. rarely disappointments me.

This is vastly from the standard catalogs provided!

" As a company that sells itself on realistic renderings, we have developed a way to fill in the blanks that 2020 leaves us by using Sketchup Pro.

Mike Dezoete ~ Principal Designer ~ Kendel Dezoete Designs

I have been designing kitchens, baths and other spaces for about 15 years now. Most of these have been done using 2020 Design.

I started with v6 and am now using v11.8. and have learned the hard way over those years that jumping on the new releases is a treacherous thing to do - even if the new features seem too good to wait for!

Like any software, though, there are inherent bugs that need to be fixed AFTER the initial new version is released. Unfortunately, those bugs usually have a negative impact on my productivity. ​

There is a fine line between a beautifully rendered image and the amount of time it takes to achieve it - both of which are necessary to be profitable - which, at the end of the day, is kinda the point!

I have found, though, that 2020 has done a fantastic job of developing its software over the years, both in terms of its ever expanding catalogue base and their ability to achieve beautiful renderings.

They have easily become the leader in kitchen/bath software design and have aligned themselves with almost all of the major brands of cabinetry, appliances, fixtures, etc., which makes generating those realistic images a lot smoother. 

As a company that sells itself on realistic renderings, we have developed a way to fill in the blanks that 2020 leaves us by using Sketchup Pro.

Their vast user-generated 3D warehouse coupled with our ever-developing skill set has allowed us to either find or create a client's existing furniture, actually light fixtures, exterior house modelling, etc. We use those renderings as sales tools for products beyond just the cabinetry.

This allows us to increase the amount products we're able to sell right at the time of presentation and ultimately increase the bottom line and justify the time spent on our drawings. The same goes for items like backsplash tiles, hardwood flooring, tile showers, vanities, and on and on.

I look forward to how 2020 will continue to make itself more user friendly without sacrificing user flexibility, and expanding its capability in producing realistic renderings using sources such as Sketchup Pro.

" I think 2020 is an industry leader and most cabinet, appliance, plumbing, and countertop manufacturers have catalogs available on their system...

Alison Glen ~ Designer ~ LA Dwelling

We have 3 designers who all use 2020, I picked up my first license about 16 years ago and have watched the company improve their product over the years.

I think 2020 is an industry leader and most cabinet, appliance, plumbing, and countertop manufacturers have catalogs available on their system which helps us create realistic renderings so that clients can visualize their new space.

Remodeling is a big investment and you don’t want any surprises, 2020 has detailed drawings, dimensions, and pricing so that from one software package you have all the tools you need to keep clients, contractors, and your accountant happy!

" Over the years I have looked at many other design software packages but always come back to 20/20. 

Arthur Zobel ~ Designer ~ Zobel & Co.

My favorite design software is 2020.

I have been using it since 1990. Over the years I have looked at many other professional kitchen design software packages but always come back to 2020.

All the major cabinet manufacturers are aligned with it, which makes designing easier for me. Another reason is that 2020 is a robust software package that allows me to be very creative.

" It is an extremely powerful and efficient business tool and after using it for nearly 10 years now, I can’t imagine designing without it. 

Chelly Wentworth ~ Principal Designer ~ C Change Design

I use Chief Architect Premier for all of my drawings.

It is an extremely powerful and efficient business tool and after using it for nearly 10 years now, I can’t imagine designing without it.

It’s designed for the types of projects I work on which are mostly residential remodels with a heavy emphasis on kitchen and bath design. One of its best features is that as you draw your floor plan it creates a 3D model, and elevations automatically.


Clients are really happy with it as it helps them to visualize the end product. I start by simply programing in everything I want to see in plan, elevation and 3D views.

For example, if I’m setting out to draw a kitchen I can set ceiling heights, wall, window and door types; floor finish, paint colors, molding types, cabinet style, countertops, backsplash height, hardware, and much more.

Then I just need to place the items where I want them and size them in the drawing. From there I can easily generate elevations and 3D models that are editable from any view.

" I use Auto CAD to design my kitchens as well as 3D Max to create the renderings of them. 

Daniella Villamil ~ Interior Designer ~ Daniella Villamil Interiors

I use Auto CAD to design my kitchens as well as 3D Max to create the renderings of them. 

Haven't had much luck with 2020 and haven't really tried any other kitchen design software that will give me the final 3D rendering quality I like. 

Sketchup is another software that we also use to do renderings.

" I love it because it’s easy to learn and it does an easy 3D render. 

Sarah Wilson ~ Designer ~ Chansaerae Designs, LLC

I love ProKitchen.

I started using it because it’s one of the only Kitchen software for a Mac.

I love it because it’s easy to learn and it does an easy 3D render.

I’m a cabinet dealer and they have my catalog so it’s super easy to create a buying plan, and kitchen model for my clients.

" It is pretty simple to use and they have a great online resource you can use for importing items into your project space. 

Thomas Keene ~ Designer ~ Core Design Services

The design software I prefer to use is Sketchup by Google.

It is pretty simple to use and they have a great online resource you can use for importing items into your project space.

They also have additional "extensions" you can use to add lighting and other rendering elements to your kitchen cabinets design.

I also started my own personal library of items that I find myself making periodically for kitchen designs.

This helps the design process when replicating cabinets, plumbing and lighting fixtures.

" I wanted a program that would do elevations and 3D.

Robin Rigby Fisher ~ Designer ~ Robin Rigby Fisher

I use Chief Architect for Interiors.

We switched in January from AutoCad.

I wanted a program that would do elevations and 3D.

I like the program, but it does have quirks.

I strongly suggest that anyone interested in Chief take a 2 day class to learn the ins and outs.

" Integrates with our cabinet companies and appliances manufacturers for accurate designs.

Kaytlyn Constantinou ~ Kitchen Designer ~ Design 1 Kitchen & Bath

We use 2020 because that is what I learned on and at the time was the most widely supported with the cabinet companies we work with.

Integrates with our cabinet companies and appliances manufacturers for accurate designs.

Great customer service when issues arise.

" AutoCAD is second nature for me, and feels like a hand sketching with precision!

Erica Volkmer ~ Designer ~ Evensen Design

I use Auto CAD to design my kitchens as well as 3D Max to create the renderings of them.

Haven't had much luck with 2020 and haven't really tried any other kitchen design software that will give me the final 3D rendering quality I like.

Sketchup is another software that we also use to do renderings.

" Being able to produce perspectives very quickly is one of it's best features.

Debbie Davis ~ Designer ~ Studio Design LLC

2020 Design is the design software I have used for 20 years. It's certainly not perfect nor without it's share of bugs, but I prefer it for several of its features.

2020 Design prices the cabinetry as I draw the spaces using the selected door style and finish. This saves an immense amount of time in having to manually price the cabinetry.

The software allows me to download current catalogs with current pricing with any changes to the catalog.

The program allows realistic color perspectives including counter tops, tile, lighting, flooring, paint colors, etc. 2020 Design uses a cloud library that is somewhat helpful, but not all pieces are available.

Being able to produce perspectives very quickly is one of it's best features.

Clients are typically not well versed in reading floor plans and elevations and perspective renderings are what is essential for the clients to visualize the spaces.

It's fabulous when the finish projects look just like the renderings and better!

" I enjoy this process for making it a very personal process and it allows me the freedom to add all kinds of details...

Maggie Cham ~ Designer ~ madDesign

I actually do not use software, but still draw by hand.

I enjoy this process for making it a very personal process and it allows me the freedom to add all kinds of details I may not be able to with software.

Although I am continued to be pleasantly surprised by the evolution of design software. 

" It’s fairly intuitive, has a ton of manufacturer catalogs you can download...

Sue Dolezal ~ Designer ~ Inspired Designs

I use and am a big fan of Chief Architect.  

It’s fairly intuitive, has a ton of manufacturer catalogs you can download and incorporate into your drawings and is a decent price.

" The best part of my job is drawing by hand!

Lynne Stryker ~ Designer ~ Spaces Into Places

I don't have a favorite software as I hand draft everything and always have.

I've tried AutoCAD and 2020 but it takes me right out of my brain.  

The best part of my job is drawing by hand!

" You have your entire SRP Quote.  Then from there I can determine the discount that I can apply.

Karen Ostergren ~ Designer ~ Designs By Karen

2020 is the best kitchen design software because it works well with the cabinetry company we retail.  

We just load the catalogs, do the design, pick the door styles, finishes, overlay, drawer glides, etc., and voila!

You have your entire SRP Quote.  Then from there I can determine the discount that I can apply.

We were blown away by the response from these kitchen planners. Did you learn a thing or two thanks to their expertise?

We know we sure did! Feel free to share on social media if you think others would benefit from reading this too.