A good question sent in by Sara: "We are redecorating our loft (true loft) and a floor plan would be helpful for layout purposes. We do not, however, want to spend weeks learning how to use complicated CAD software. Are you aware of any easy to use floor plan software? We would like something sufficiently sophisticated so that we can input the measurements of our existing furniture."
Sara, good luck with your project. Here are a few, free online options to get you started:
Point.Click.Design. at PointClickHome: A nice, straightforward floor plan program (My Room Planner Pro) that allows you to customize the measurements for existing furniture somewhat. Because it is a simple size up and size down function, it doesn't allow you to input measurements, but a fairly close approximation is possible. While it is somewhat limited in options, we like that it creates a line-drawing type of plan without any pre-set textures or color to interfere with the look.
Arrange-a-Room at Better Homes and Gardens: This program allows you to input the exact dimensions of your existing furniture, which you indicated as important, but we have a hard time with the very detailed look of the pieces - we find the pre-set illustrations of the pieces distracting to the final plan. But for quick, free, exact sizing, this one works.
And finally, a powerful online 3-D program that we have heard many good things about...
Google Sketch-Up: A simplified 3-D program, this (recently free to use) software is completely customizable and will allow you to create a model of your loft. The learning curve will be higher, but the results much more accurate and rich.
Virtual room designers...please add your recommendations for software to the comments below.