How to easily use HomeByMe stairs

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Stairs are important in any setting that requires movement between two floors. Safety is the number one concern, so be sure that you are aware of the building code standards in your area as you work on your home design projects. The size requirements of the stair components are meant to be safe and functional for both people and for furniture clearance. I know I’ve had more than a few tricky situations during my many moves.


I tried to think of an example of stairs being a critical part of the structure and realized that lighthouses usually have plenty of stairs, so I made one up in order to be able to show you some of the ins and outs of using HomeByMe stairs.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


You add and modify stairs in your project while you’re in the Build mode (1). Once you’re there, click on Stairs (2) and you’ll find our selection of stairs (3).



Just click on the one that looks right for your situation and drag it into your floor plan. Here I’ve put all of our stairs into one floor plan so that I can show you what they look like in both 2D and 3D. All of them have the default height of 102.4″ to match the wall heights. If you use a different wall height, be sure to change your stairs too as shown in the next step.



Once the stairs are in your floor plan, they’re easy to change. Just click on the staircase (1) and the properties will be displayed. You can change all the dimensions by typing in new dimensions or using the “+” and “-” boxes (2). You can also reverse the layout if you need to (3).



To move your stairs just click on them and then click on the 4 arrows symbol to move in any direction (1) or the green dot to rotate the stairs (2).



You can also resize your stairs without typing in measurements. Use the blue dots in the corners (3) to change the size in both directions at one time or the blue dots in the middle (4) to change the size in only one direction.



You’ll need to leave space at the top and bottom of the staircases. Usually the minimum required distance (2) is the same as or bigger than the width of the staircase (1).



When you add a new floor on top of an existing floor with stairs, HomeByMe automatically adds the proper clearance hole.



This is a big help! Now you know exactly where the stairs are as you plan your rooms and start adding walls. Don’t forget, you should add protection around the holes to prevent people from walking over the edges of the staircases! One way to do this is to draw new walls and make them about the height of the baluster as shown in this example.



You can also use Free shapes (Rooms>For all rooms>Free shapes) to create the walls. Here in the lighthouse I’ve used Free shapes because I wanted them to be bright yellow all over for safety. Walls will always have a white top and edges. That reminds me to mention that you can’t add a color to the floor thickness yet (red arrow).


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


Another functional requirement for stairs is the headroom (1). I’m tall and I’ve whacked my head many times when the clearance wasn’t quite enough. You can add a Free shape to fill in some of the hole, but check the headroom clearance carefully by putting a Character (Rooms>For all rooms> Characters) on the stair step directly below the edge of the Free shape. If you’re designing space that will be used by tall people, they will thank you!


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


When you’re looking in the HomeByMe Gallery for other examples of how to use stairs, check the number of rooms that are listed. If the project as shown looks fairly simple, but has a high number of rooms (1), it is likely to be a multi-floor project. Click on the Copy button in the lower right (2) to open the project in HomeByMe where you can then review each floor and see how they handled their stairways. This example has two more floors to explore (3 and 4).


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


I hope these explanations and examples help you to more easily use stairs in HomeByMe.


Now it’s your turn!

HomeByMe welcomes 3 new partners!

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At HomeByMe, we’ve worked all summer on bringing you new furniture for your home design projects. Thanks to your suggestions on Facebook, Twitter or on our forum, Ben and Manu our 3D graphic designers had plenty of ideas for the next catalog update.


We’re happy to announce that 3 new partners have joined us over the summer: Cymax, Due Home and Tectona. Cymax is our first north american brand and Due Home our first spanish brand.


Cymax Stores Inc. is a Canadian online retailer. The brand focuses on home and office furniture and primarily services the United States. Due Home is based in Barcelona and offers a variety of home decor products. As for Tectona, a french company, it specializes in outdoor furniture.





>> Check out these new furniture in HomeByMe


5 Ways to make a swimming pool using HomeByMe

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Swimming pools are a great source of fun and relaxation! Having a place to cool off, have fun with the kids or lounge with a good book (or e-device) is a wonderful addition. There are many ways to add a swimming pool to your HomeByMe home design project. The methods range from “really, really easy” to “be very patient”. Choose your method (or make up a new one) that suits the importance of the pool and pool area to your overall project. This one is meant to be a center of attention.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


1 – Super easy

Just choose a spot and use Ground separators to draw the outline of pool (shown inside the red outline). Make it as interesting as you want. Then add “water” by changing the material inside the outline. For a better effect add an outline and change the material to a tile pattern. To add the swimmer, just add the character you like and then turn off collision detection so that you move them down to the depth you want. The side view shows the results.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


2 – More realistic

Most pools are at least slightly above ground. If you use walls to draw the outline of your pool you can easily make it look more realistic. Use shorter, thicker walls for steps. Just add water and you’re ready to cool off.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


3 – Even better

Add the HomeByMe pool (Rooms>Outdoor>Outdoor activities), change the height property to about 0.5″and you have a beautiful pool that looks like it’s in the ground. Move the pool slightly above the gray deck surface so that the pool doesn’t touch it. If the surfaces touch, it will cause the visual effect of two materials fighting with each other to be the one we see.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


4 – More work, more 3D

You can draw the pool outline, curves included, if you don’t mind doing the math. Curves are represented in HomeByMe as a series of straight segments which have definite beginning and end points as shown in the upper left inset image. I used CAD (Computer Aided Design) software to locate the dimensions of those points (as shown in the white inset image) and then created them in HomeByMe using Ground separators. There are 12 segments that make up the full half round of the standard HomeByMe pool.  You can now add the pool itself and move it down to where you want it. Then add water.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


5 – Most ambitious

Resize the pool dimensions slightly so that they’re easy to divide into sections. Then create wall sections with Free shapes and copy and paste them around the straight edges of the pool. Make them the height that you want to have the pool above ground and move the pool down until it snaps to the top of the block. Keep the Free shape blocks length short enough that you don’t notice the rounded end corners. The longer they are, the more pronounced the curve will be. When you have all your main sections in place, you’ll notice small gaps under the corners and certainly around the half round shape. Use more Free shapes to fill in those gaps.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


Use small square Free shapes turned 45° (shown in orange) to fill the corners. It’s easy to position them when in 2D view in the Furnish mode with collision detection unchecked. Use multiple Free shapes (lower image) to fill in under the curved step portion. Just do the pieces for one side and then copy and drag them over to the other side. It looks like the water is pretty low, so add one more Free shape to move the water level up to where you want it. Now you can start adding details like steps and fences and landscaping.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


That makes 5 ways to add a swimming pool to your project. Each one is valuable in the right situation. I’m sure that you’ll also create your own methods too. Have fun and take a dip when you’re done!


Now it’s your turn!




A slight air of Scandinavia invades winter’s home design collections

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This year again, Scandinavian style is invading our homes. Just flick through a home design catalog, you will find pure white walls, light wooden furniture, steel blue and forest green accessories, geometrical patterns on cushions, inventive storage solutions and even rugs made from goat hair.


This invasion of Scandinavian style isn’t really surprising in winter since the initial purpose of Scandinavian design was to cheer up interiors during the cold and dark polar night in the Arctic Circle. Scandinavians have thus come up with bold ways of maximizing light into their homes. In this post, we’ll give you a few tips to bring the natural simplicity and coziness of Scandinavian design into your house.

1)     Bring in the light

The key element that will make your place look like a bright Scandinavian interior is the white paint. All over the walls, floor, ceiling and the furniture, pure white will reflect light and give your room this clean and polished aspect we all appreciate in Scandinavian interiors. In order to increase the reflection of light throughout your rooms you can also incorporate mirrors and sheer curtains.





2)     Create small organized spaces

In order to make your room appear bigger, fresher and friendlier, get rid of clutter with design and smart storage solutions: bookshelves and little boxes will help you expanding your space and make it feel airy.




3)     Decorate with wooden furniture and geometrical patterns

Scandinavians like minimalist decor: natural and wooden furniture are favored in their interiors and walls are occasionally decorated with contemporary black and white posters. Patterned wall stickers are also commonly applied: they provide pops of color into the room and help breaking up the endless sea of white paint.








4)     Bring in plants and nature

Since winter froze everything outside, Scandinavians incorporated plants into their living rooms in order to purify the air and to provide a bit of life in their house. Dark green leaves also nicely set off the white paint of walls.








5)     Add cozy accessories

To endure the harshest of Scandinavian winters, fur is often draped on chairs and wrapped on sofas. Thick rugs and stoves or fireplaces also soften a room and bring in coziness and warm.








You have now the main tools to turn your interior into a Scandinavian one! If you want to apply those decoration ideas in your own home, try visualizing them first thanks to HomeByMe, our free home design software:

Here’s an example of what can be done in 3D on HomeByMe :


bureau scandinave


From Standard to Spectacular: Doors

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Hello again everyone, today I’m going to show you how to add some character and color to the basic door in HomeByMe.   You’ll be suprised as to how quickly and easily you can do this little modification with the existing tools! In this tutorial I’ll be using the default wall thickness and height, and the default door values unless otherwise specifically stated.   Your own numbers will vary depending on the values you may be using, so I will try to not state too many number values else we will all get confused!
The basic door is a smart object in HomeByMe.  By this I mean it has some automatic properties to help you design and show of your project.  It automatically adjusts to the thickness of the wall it is placed on, and can be opened if you place your avatar in front of it, hold down shift and left click on the door.
This is fantastic and almost magical!  While most doors in a home are white ( I’m looking at my white door right now), these helpful behaviors are also why the doors and the door frames have no additional color properties just yet.  Lets fix that right now!

Door Frame

The door frames are as important as the door for considering style and color.  They are also the basis of more elaborate modifications, so it’s a good place to start.  There are three key values to remember before you start making free shapes: Wall Thickness and Door Height and Door Width.   You will use the Door Height and Door Width for the height and width values of your free shapes.  The Wall Thickness value you will use as a basis for the depth on the free shape.
In the image above you see the three free shapes I used to create the new door frame.  You’ll be glad to hear that you do NOT have to duplicate your work on the other side!
 This is because after we create each object and place it so it snaps to the surface of the door (easy alignment!), we are going to select all pieces, turn off collisions (meaning that objects can now pass through each other) and slide it so that the center of the free shapes aligns with the center of the wall.   This is where knowing the Wall Thickness value comes in handy.  For example, typically the door frame only sticks out of the wall by a half inch or so,  if your wall thickness is 3 inches, then you make your free shapes 3.1 in depth.  When you slide it into place, you will get similar results on both sides.    
To help you do this, there is a 2D view button on the right hand side, that will switch your view to a top isometric camera (meaning it is not a perspective camera, so has no depth of field), very useful for alignments and floor decoration arrangements.
In the image above, you can see the alignment process I used after turning collisions off. It doesn’t need to be exact, this is after all, a representation of an idea, your idea, in the most informative medium that exists today: 3D.  All this takes a couple of minutes and I think we can all agree there is a marked improvement in the look and feel of the door.

Bells and Whistles

Taking this exact method I decided to see what I could make in less than 5 minutes.
Pretty huh?   I added some casements on either side and widened the door by 1 foot (representing the front door of a home). I also added just a few more free shapes beside the door frame shapes.  The result is a completely transformed (and if I do say so, classy) door.  
Now it’s your turn!  
Remember to use the ctrl key to select multiple objects and the alt key to create duplicates of an object.  And don’t forget to turn off collisions before you try to slide one object into another!  But most importantly have fun with it, there are no fees or contractors required.
Have a great weekend everyone!

5 Basic quick fixes to improve your projects

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Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the details of our HomeByMe projects that we miss the obvious mistakes that stick out like sore thumbs. Here are some quick things to check to make sure your projects look great and make sense.


1 – Make sure you have a way to get in and out of your project – doors for people and garage doors or gates in walls for vehicles. It’s especially easy to forget  those ins and outs when working in 2D. The beauty of 3D is that the fact that these two vehicles don’t have a way to get out of the garage is much more obvious.


Click on the image to see the 3D project


2 – Make sure your design features are appropriately-sized. Put characters in your project and move them around to check that spaces are realistically big enough. The counter needs to be a good bit wider in this scenario, both to allow comfortable eating and to allow enough room for feet underneath.


Click the image to see the 3D project


3 – Make sure you don’t have “floating” furniture or other items. In 2D it may look great, but check in 3D to make sure that items are really where you want them. Use the 2D mode to easily arrange your items, but always check in 3D to make sure they’re not ready to float away.


Click on the image to see the 3D project


4 – Make sure nothing is sticking into or through the walls. Plants, furniture and characters all have a way of poking through walls to the outside, especially when you go back to Build mode and move a wall. In Furnish mode, this most often happens when you change the length of a piece of furniture. The furniture will expand from the center and one end or the other may end up inside the wall or all the way through it.


Click on the image to see the 3D project


5 – Make sure you have enough room to get in and out of your vehicle(s) in the garage or parking spots and check to make sure that doors can be opened fully without hitting other objects. This garage is just a little too narrow for two cars. It would be difficult to get in or out of the vehicles and that door to the outside might cause a few problems too.


Click on the image to see the 3D project


As you work on your projects, double-check these basic items every now and then so you can go back to working on the fun parts with confidence!


Now it’s your turn!

HomeByMe – September Project of the month winner!

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Congratulations to cocochatnails for winning the September HomeByMe Project of the month contest with her comfy project! In only 640 square feet (60 square meters) she has made relaxation a priority. After a busy day filled with all kinds of activities, just pick a spot and unwind a bit in beautiful surroundings. It even has a protected terrace to provide a great space for enjoying some fresh air.


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project


Careful planning and room layout shows how each space nestles easily into the next.


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project


The main living room is filled with the sensuous curves of vases and furniture. In contrast, the rectangular photos, tables and chairs all add a solid foundation.


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project


The entryway is large and uncluttered with an open, inviting view into the rest of the home. I can easily imagine opening the desk, pulling up the chair and writing a letter.


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project


Reds add a dash of passion to the bedroom that is balanced with neutral colors and a minimum of furniture to help enlarge the already generous space. Access is provided to both the kitchen/dining area and the entryway.


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project


The kitchen, dining area and storage areas are all tucked neatly into a row directly off the living room. Another nook to enjoy is off the other side of the living room. The blue wall works as an accent and an echo of the living room.


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project



The couch and pillows in the nook are beckoning you to take a little time to read a book or chat with friends. Playful wallpaper in the living room is a great way to play off the bold curving stripes in the rug.


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project


What a great view for enjoying your meals, or you can put the shades down for more privacy. Once again, cocochatnails has proven that there can be a lot of great living in any size space!


Click on the image to be taken to the 3D project


Now it’s your turn!

From Standard to Spectacular: Windows

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Hello everyone!  I’m going to show you a few tricks that, while subtle, really end up adding a lot to the overall look of your home project.  This week we are going to start with windows!  Everyone has them and they come in all sorts of different styles and placements.  I’m going to show you how to take the standard windows in HomeByMe and spruce them up with just a few simple steps.

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the tools we’ll be using.  Most should be very familiar to you already:

As you can see, we will be using tools from both the Build and Furnish tabs.    Two key elements I’d like to point out real quick are Casings and Free shapes.

Casings – While you can use free shapes to simulate wall protrusions, using casings allows you to use the exact wall color in your room.  They are also a little bit easier to work with for this one particular use.

Free Shapes –  As the name implies you are freely able to create and modify the shapes to make anything you need.  Don has an excellent post here that goes over Free Shapes in more detail.

Window Sill


The simplest detail you can add is the Window Sill.  Edit a FreeShape Cube and snap it right into place!  Start by dragging the cube in and placing it where you need it to be, then turn on 3D measures in the options so you can adjust the size to exactly what you need to fit your window.  Little every day details helps you feel much better about the look and feel of your project, bringing it to life.

Fancy Window


Adding a pop of color to the room, I used 3 additional FreeShape cubes to created a raised border around the window simulating wall casings.  A simple window becomes an accent piece of a room, helping complete the look and complementing furniture colors.   I would only use FreeShapes to create accent type windows as you currently cannot match the wall color to the FreeShape color.  To create a more blended look, use Wall Casings, as seen below.


Sunken Window


The windows at my apartment are pretty deeply set, so I discovered this method of creating this window while completing my own project.   Explained in the image below, I start by recreating the wall in question, making it into two hollow walls with the gap where the Window would be.   I then set a single wall in the gap, closing off the room.   After editing the thickness of the hollow walls and single walls to match, I place the window and make sure the orientation is correct(if not press that nifty “switch sides” in the edit panel).  The window will automatically adjust to the depth of the wall.


I now do all my windows this way, it gives me that flexibility to change the depth of the window without needing to recreate the floor plan!

Special Treat


As you saw in the pictures above I created a quick flower box, as it is a common sight with apartment windows, and helps add some life into the home.  Here is a quick run down on how to do it!



I hope this helps you add a little something extra to your windows in your project.  As you can see, it takes very little time and the benefits are very noticable!

HomeByMe – August Project of the month winner!

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The winner of the August HomeByMe Project of the month is fabricedion27! His project, Rouen deco, is a sensational mix of colors and abstract art that is a treat to the senses. Strong colors are balanced by keeping the rest of the palette more neutral except when an accent is needed to highlight the overall theme. A variety of patterns and textures are included in the mix so the viewer always has something interesting to see.


What a wonderful bright and fun kitchen/living room combination. The hosts aren’t isolated from the guests and the aromas from cooking can easily fill the area to be enjoyed by all.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


Both the living room and the kitchen have been kept uncluttered. Small touches, like the color of the chairs, the complementary place settings and even the bright handle on the hanging spoon work together beautifully. The vivid paintings are truly the center of attention!


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


From a higher view it is easy to see how much space is left open for an easy flow of people throughout the apartment.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


Understated and calming are the keys to the master bedroom. The pattern of the parquet flooring is picked up in the more intricate patterns on the bed while other surfaces and colors are kept muted. One full wall is occupied by a gigantic mirrored armoire with plenty of dressing space in front of it.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


For business and for fun, there’s even enough room for a good-sized desk. The curved screens add privacy when needed and keep the open feeling of the spaces.


Click on the image to go to the 3D project


And let’s not forget the second bedroom with its bright stripes theme echoed in the curtains and the bedspread. The strips are a subtle continuation of the living room curtains, which helps loosely  tie them together visually. Stripes are also dominant in the furniture, right down to the type of wood selected.


All in all, the apartment gives a well-balanced feeling of action, fun and great colors! Nicely done Fabrice!


Click on the image to go to the 3D project



Now it’s your turn!

Miliboo and Fabulem join HomeByMe

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Miliboo and Fabulem, both 100% Made in France companies have joined HomeByMe today. We welcome their new furniture catalogs to our home design service!


Miliboo offers modern furniture at attractive prices on the web. Created in 2005, the company’s goal is to provide their client with traceable and unique furniture that will suit each and everyone of us. On their part, Fabulem’s creates nice ecological and design furniture. You will now find in HomeByMe their main product “Le Lem Fabulem” :  a colorful wood cube you can stack however you want to create personalize shelves. It will fit perfectly in your dream home decor !


With these 2 additions, our catalog now contains a large new range of ingenious and colorful storage such as shelves, sideboards, bookcases or buffets, very useful to make the most of your home’s space ! All those new elements will give a nice touch of color to your living room or to your kid’s bedroom.


Miliboo and Fabulem

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