Ah the many times we have tried to explain or describe a piece or design, when a simple photo or drawing would have saved so much time and frustration. Whether going back and forth with a client or tweaking a new design, one needs an easy tool that makes those changes quickly. While autocad is unnecessarily complex for most of us, Sketchup has become our new favorite friend.
Free, easy to use and with a very good tutorial, you can start simply by drawing individual shapes. The shapes soon become pieces and next thing you know, you are placing them in rooms and even adding color. It gives one great confidence with design, since you now know exactly how the piece will look proportionally, and in a setting. You can of course share drawings with others that have the program so they can make their own changes, or you can simply export it as a jpeg and send.
Sketch-up also has a massive library of images which you can use to fill out the missing pieces in your decor. http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/
Download the program and release the designer within http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/download/index.html
Another amazing tool is a Tablet with sketching ability. Meaning you get to draw on it, over photos, text, etc. We especially like the new HTC with Scribe Technology. It’s as easy as taking a photo, dropping the photo in your “notes” section, and then scribbling away. Sharing is incredibly easy, as you can post it on FB or send it by email with just a touch. Having the notes, arrows or directions right on the photo is an invaluable tool, and so much easier to comprehend then trying to synch up those attached notes.