If you're undertaking a home improvement project, however small, here's a program that you'll find invaluable. And when I say "however small" I mean it, as, being free, you can use Sweet Home 3D for something as simple as checking how a new piece of furniture will fit or, like us, something as complex as knocking out walls and redesigning entire floors of a property.
You start by putting in the walls and drawing a flat plan of the property like this and then continue to add furniture, flooring, ceilings, lighting and pretty much anything you need. We used it constantly during our project and it was fantastic when it came to deciding on where to position sanitary ware in the bathrooms and again when buying new dining furniture and looking at various options for kitchen layouts. I reckon it saved us making several mistakes as we had our hearts set on a couple of bits of furniture that we realised would not have fitted once we had input the details.
Once you've done your layout you can use the camera tools to look around the property in 3D and from every angle be it at normal head height or a bird's eye view.
Here's how Sweet Home 3D suggested the lounge would look.
You can then convert that view into a photo (or even a walk through video).
And here's how the lounge actually turned out - a pretty accurate prediction I think you'll agree.
The same applied to planning the kitchen/diner.
If I had a wide angled lens for my camera you could see just how accurate its predictions were.
I really can't recommend this highly enough. It's been a fantastic tool in designing our project. Obviously there are professional versions but for us the free version was more than adequate. You can download it at http://www.sweethome3D.com You won't be disappointed.