Just wanted to post about an amazing free online tool called Google SketchUp. It's one of my favorite downloads. It's a fantastic, user-friendly, 3D modeling program. It comes in very handy when you're trying out design ideas without having to actually get your hands dirty. It's really easy to use and gives you helpful tutorials on how to use all the tools. I attached a couple pics of some things I did for our new house to show you what you can do with it. You can actually do a lot more and get super detailed if you have the time and patience; you can even go so far as to upload your own pictures or finishes and put them on the walls, in picture frames, etc. and it has a huge 3D library with pretty much anything you can think of that you want to upload into your model. I used it here to get an idea of what I want our house to look like one day after we paint, add on a front porch, etc. (Mind you, all that is pretty far out in the future, but like I said, I'm impatient, so SketchUp kinda tides me over till I can get the real thing.)
Also, the living room in this house is really small, and I wanted to make sure all my furniture would fit and figure out how to arrange everything without having to move the stuff in real life. I just took measurements of my existing furniture and measurements of the room, doorways, window placement, and fireplace and then you can move things around, upload furniture and size it to your specifications and even add in accessories and play with paint colors and finishes. It's just a really handy tool and I would encourage everyone to try it out... it's free and fun to play with!