The Best 3D Rendering Software For Interior Design
There is a wide range of 3d Interior rendering software and tools for interior designers that can help when it comes to creating 3d images of architectural projects. Each one has its pros and cons, and different types are suited for different people and different needs. In this guide, we’ll go over a few different types or 3d rendering software for interior design, highlight the pros and cons and determine for who each type is best suited for. It’s important to consider factors such as ease of use, pricing, features, and quality of results when making a decision and hopefully after reading this guide you should have a better idea of which software would suit you best. Although the requirements are very similar to 3D rendering software for architects, there are some types of software that are more suited to interior designers.
This software will go over both paid and free options. If you’re only interested in the free option then we recommend you reading our guide on free 3d rendering software.
Why Use 3D Rendering Software for Interior Design?
Using software is a much more effective way to convey your design concepts than traditional methods. Not only do they provide photorealistic interpretations, but also allow for precise placement of furniture, fixtures, and other design elements within the virtual space as opposed to moodboards and sketches that can often leave room for ambiguity or misinterpretation. Other benefits include having a powerful impact on marketing, easy to make changes and improving client communication in general.
How To Chose The Best Interior Design 3D Rendering Software?
Choosing the correct software can help improve your skill set quicker and in a more efficient way. Each type of software has its pros and cons and different pieces of software can be suited differently to different user including the following:
- Professional Designers – Interior designers or architects may benefit from advanced rendering software that offers a wide range of features and capabilities for creating high-quality, photorealistic renders. These types of software may have a steeper learning curve but offer powerful tools for creating detailed and realistic visualizations.
- Novice Designers – Novice designers or those new to 3D rendering may prefer more user-friendly software with a simpler interface and easy-to-use tools, as they offer a more intuitive and streamlined workflow, making it easier to create basic 3D renders without extensive technical expertise.
- DIY Homeowners – Homeowners or DIY enthusiasts who want to visualize their interior design ideas may also prefer user-friendly rendering software that is easy to learn and use without professional design skills.
- Budget-conscious Users – Some users may prefer rendering software that is more budget-friendly or even free as they may not have the budget for expensive professional-grade software. These types of software can still produce decent 3D renders and may be suitable for users with limited financial resources.
Best 3D Rendering Software for Interior Design – Our Picks
1. 3D Studio Max
3D Studio Max is a very popular choice, and is a great option as a 3d rendering interior design software. It is used among many rendering companies to achieve highly photorealistic results at a professional level. Here are few pros:
Pros of 3d studio Max:
- Realistic Visualization – Has powerful rendering capabilities that allow interior designers to create highly realistic and visually impressive images and also provides advanced material and lighting simulation features that really help achieve photorealistic results.
- Detailed Modeling – Has a wide range of modeling tools that enable interior designers to create highly detailed and accurate 3D models of furniture, fixtures, lighting, and other interior elements, which can then easily be incorporated into the overall design, increasing precision and quality of the image.
- Workflow Efficiency – Offers a robust set of tools and features that streamline the interior design workflow. From importing CAD files to creating custom parametric objects, to easily managing large scenes with complex geometry, 3ds Max provides a comprehensive set of tools that help interior designers work more efficiently and effectively.
- Customization and Plugins – 3ds Max allows users to customize the software with scripts, plugins, and extensions, which can greatly enhance its capabilities for interior design. There are numerous third-party plugins available for 3ds Max that cater specifically to interior design, providing specialized tools for tasks such as creating furniture, generating parametric models, and optimizing lighting setups.
Cons of 3d studio Max:
- Steeper Learning Curve – Can be complex and challenging to learn and it can take a long time and effort to master, so isn’t best for those looking for a quick and easy solution.
- Cost – Requires a substantial investment, including the initial software purchase cost and potentially ongoing subscription fees for updates and support, meaning that it might not be best suited to those with limited budgets.
- Hardware Requirements – Requires a powerful computer with ample processing power, RAM, and graphics card capabilities to run smoothly. This means that users may need to invest in high-performance and expensive hardware in order to use it effectively.
- Complexity and Overwhelming Features – The extensive toolset and features can be overwhelming for some users, especially those who are new to 3D design.
Best Suited for – 3d studios, professionals and people whose main goal is achieving high levels of photorealism
Lumion is a software that has evolved and become popular and widely used in the field of architecture, urban planning, and interior design. With its user-friendly interface, extensive library of 3D models and materials, and real-time rendering capabilities, Lumion has gained a reputation for its ability to create visualizations quickly and efficiently.
Pros of Lumion for Interior Designers:
- Real-time 3D visualization – Allows interior designers to create realistic and immersive 3D visualizations of their designs in real-time, thus enabling them to see how their designs will look and feel before they are implemented.
- User-friendly interface – Easy to learn and use. It provides a wide range of pre-built 3D models, materials, and lighting options, allowing designers to quickly create visually stunning interior scenes without needing advanced technical skills.
- Extensive library of assets – Comes with a large library of high-quality 3D models, materials, and effects, including furniture, lighting fixtures, plants, and more. This saves time and effort for interior designers, as they can easily add these assets to their scenes, creating realistic and detailed interior visualizations.
- Quick rendering times – Lumion is known for its fast rendering times, allowing interior designers to create high-quality visualizations in a relatively short amount of time. This is particularly useful for tight project deadlines and helps designers to iterate and refine their designs quickly.
Cons of Lumion for Interior Designers:
- Limited design customization – Despite having a wide range of pre-built 3D models and materials, it may have limitations when it comes to customizing or creating unique designs. This may restrict interior designers who require highly customized or bespoke design elements.
- Hardware requirements – Requires high quality hardware, including a powerful graphics card and ample system memory. This may increase the cost of hardware for interior designers who need to upgrade their computer system to run Lumion smoothly.
- Learning curve – While Lumion has a user-friendly interface, it still requires learning and practice to fully utilize its features and create professional-grade visualizations. Those who are not familiar with 3D modeling or software may need to invest time in learning how to use Lumion effectively.
- Not suitable for complex animations – Not the best choice for creating complex animations or dynamic interactions within interior scenes. For advanced animation requirements, interior designers may need to use other specialized software in addition to Lumion.
Best suited for – Professional designers, studios and 3d artists who are looking for good quality results and need to deliver quickly.
SketchUp is a popular 3D modeling software that is commonly used in architecture, interior design, and other fields. While its main focus isn’t 3d rendering, it does have its use as an interior design 3d rendering software and has the ability to create 3d images and and easier to use than other options:
Pros of SketchUp for 3D Rendering:
- User-friendly interface – Has a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy to learn and use, particularly for beginners. Its familiar drawing tools and simple navigation system allow users to quickly create 3D models and scenes for rendering.
- Fast and real-time rendering – SketchUp has several rendering plugins available, such as V-Ray, Enscape, and Twilight Render, which offer fast and real-time rendering capabilities. This allows users to see the results of their rendering quickly and make adjustments in real-time, saving time and effort in the rendering process.
Cons of SketchUp for 3D Rendering:
- Limited built-in rendering capabilities – SketchUp’s built-in rendering capabilities are relatively basic compared to dedicated rendering software. The rendering quality may not be as high as other specialized rendering software, and it may lack advanced features such as complex lighting and material options.
- Limited control over rendering settings – While SketchUp’s rendering plugins offer more advanced features, users may have limited control over rendering settings compared to other software. Fine-tuning rendering parameters may require additional plugins or software, which may add complexity to the workflow.
Best suited for – Architects and novice designers whose main focus is to create something quickly and easily, without placing too much importance on high levels of photorealism.
Revit is a widely used Building Information Modeling (BIM) software that is known for its comprehensive and collaborative approach to designing and managing building projects. Again, like sketchup, its main focus isn’t 3d rendering, but it does have capabilities:
Pros of Revit for 3D Rendering:
- BIM integration – Revit is a BIM software, which means it allows for the creation of intelligent, data-rich 3D models that can be used for coordination, documentation, and visualization purposes. This integrated approach can streamline the rendering process by providing accurate and up-to-date information about the building’s components, materials, and systems, leading to more accurate and realistic renderings.|
- Parametric modeling – Revit uses parametric modeling, which allows users to create and modify 3D models using intelligent objects with defined parameters and relationships. This parametric modeling approach can save time and effort in creating and modifying models for rendering, as changes made to one object can automatically update all related objects, ensuring consistency and accuracy in the renderings.
- Integrated rendering engine – Revit has a built-in rendering engine called Autodesk Raytracer (ART) that provides basic rendering capabilities within the software. This allows users to create renderings directly within Revit without the need for third-party plugins, saving time and effort in setting up external rendering workflows.
Cons of Revit for 3D Rendering:
- Limited advanced rendering features – While Revit’s built-in rendering engine provides basic rendering capabilities, it may lack some advanced features and settings compared to dedicated rendering software. For example, advanced lighting options, complex material creation, and post-processing effects may be limited in Revit, which may be a limitation for users with specific rendering requirements.
- External rendering plugins may be required: While Revit has a built-in rendering engine, users who require advanced rendering features and settings may need to rely on third-party rendering plugins, such as V-Ray or Enscape, which may add additional cost and complexity to the workflow.
Best Suited for – Engineers and people whose priority is achieving high levels of accuracy, with rendering being a second priority. Not the best option for professional 3d artists, and those looking for marketing quality renders.
5. Planner 5D
Planner 5D is a popular home design and interior decorating software for creating 2D/3D floor plans and visualizing home spaces. It offers a wide range of tools, pre-designed items, and customization options. Available on web and mobile, with free and paid versions.
Pros of Planner 5D for 3D Rendering:
- User-friendly interface: Planner 5D has a user-friendly and intuitive interface that makes it easy for beginners to create 3D models and renderings without any experience in 3D design. The drag-and-drop functionality and pre-built item library make it easy to quickly create interior spaces and visualize them in 3D.
- Large item library: Planner 5D offers a large library of furniture, fixtures, decorations, and other interior design elements that users can easily add to their 3D models. This extensive item library provides a wide range of options for creating realistic and visually appealing renderings.
- Real-time rendering: Planner 5D offers real-time rendering capabilities, which allows users to instantly see the changes they make in their models reflected in the renderings. This real-time feedback can be helpful for making quick design decisions and visualizing the final result in real-time.
Cons of Planner 5D for 3D Rendering:
- Limited advanced rendering features: Has limited advanced rendering features compared to dedicated rendering software. Advanced lighting options, complex material creation, and post-processing effects may be limited in Planner 5D, which may be a limitation for users with specific rendering requirements.
- Limited customization options -Limited customization options for modifying items and creating custom materials, being a limitation for users who require highly customized and unique renderings.
- Limited export options: Limited export options, with only basic image and video export capabilities. Users may not have as much flexibility in exporting high-resolution images or specific file formats for further post-processing or integration into other design workflows.
- Internet-dependent: Planner 5D is an online software that requires an internet connection to access and use. This may be a limitation for users who do not have reliable internet access or prefer to work offline.
Best suited for – DIY enthusiasts and homeowners looking for a user friendly software.
6. Sweet Home 3D
Sweet Home 3D is a free, open-source interior design software for creating 2D/3D floor plans, adding furniture and decorations, and customizing materials. It’s user-friendly and versatile, used by homeowners, interior designers, and DIY enthusiasts for home renovations and design projects. Again, it’s main focus isn’t 3d rendering, but it does have usage as a 3d interior rendering software.
Pros of Sweet Home 3D for 3D Rendering:
- Easy to use: Like Planner 5D, Sweet Home 3D has a simple and intuitive user interface that makes it easy for beginners to create 3D models and renderings without prior experience in 3D design. T
- Library: Decent sized library of furniture, fixtures, decorations, and other interior design elements that users can easily add to their 3D models.
- Customization options: Sweet Home 3D provides users with customization options for modifying the items, creating custom materials, and adjusting lighting settings.
- Cost-effective: Sweet Home 3D is a free and open-source software, which makes it a cost-effective option for users on a budget or those who do not want to invest in expensive rendering software.
Cons of Sweet Home 3D for 3D Rendering:
- Limited advanced rendering features: Limited advanced lighting options and complex material creation mean that this isn’t the best software for those looking to achieve photorealistic results.
- Performance limitations: Sweet Home 3D is a lightweight software, which may have limitations in terms of performance and rendering quality compared to more powerful and specialized rendering software. Users may experience limitations in terms of rendering speed, visual quality, and realistic lighting effects.
- Internet-dependent: Sweet Home 3D is a desktop software, but it requires an internet connection to access and download additional item libraries or updates. This may be a limitation for users who do not have reliable internet access or prefer to work offline.
Best suited for – DIY Enthusiasts and HomeOwners who want a tool that is easy to use, but aren’t too bothered about high quality images and advanced rendering features.
1. Honorable Mentions
Home Designer software is a professional suite for creating interior and exterior home designs. Developed by Chief Architect, it offers 2D/3D design, construction documents, and virtual walkthroughs.
Pros – Extensive library, generates construction documents, user friendly interface and wide range of customization options.
Cons – Cost, Learning Curve, limited flexibility and realism, system requirements
2. Room sketcher
RoomSketcher is user-friendly home design and floor plan software for creating 2D/3D floor plans, interior design, and virtual visualizations, and is mainly used by homeowners, designers, and real estate professionals for home renovations and property listings.
Pros – User friendly interface, decent library, online and offline access, cost effective
Cons – Limited realism, limited customization options, limited advanced rendering features
Cedreo is a 3D home design software for professionals in the building, remodeling, and interior design industries. It offers comprehensive design capabilities, including floor plans, furniture, realistic renderings, virtual staging and vr walkthroughs.
Pros – Great design capabilities, advanced tools such as virtual staging and vr walkthroughs, cloud based collaboration
Cons – Cost, learning curve, needs internet connection
As you can see, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to 3d rendering software for interior design. Although there’s no doubt that softwares such as 3d studio max and lumion are more complete and can allow for high quality renderings specifically for professional use, the learning curve and often seemingly complex workflow isn’t worth the investment for many people who prioritize ease of use. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something quick, intuitive and easy to use for personal use, then softwares such as Sweet Home 3D and Planner 5D can be a great choice, but may not be suitable for rendering at a professional level. At the end of the day, the choice of 3d rendering software for interior design depends on what your priorities are, and if you’re looking for professional-level rendering, it may be worth considering specialized software designed for this purpose, such as 3d rendering software for interior design. Hopefully, this guide has helped you determine which software might be the best fit for you based on your specific needs.
If you’re looking to take your interior design projects to the next level, consider exploring interior design rendering services. These services can provide you with photorealistic 3D renderings of your designs, allowing you to visualize and present your ideas to clients in a more impactful way. Check out our interior design rendering services page for more information on how we can help bring your designs to life.
Which software is best for rendering interior design?
There are several software options available for rendering interior designs, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some of the most popular options include 3ds Max, SketchUp, Blender, V-Ray, and Lumion. The best software for rendering interior design depends on factors such as the complexity of the project, the level of detail required, and the user’s level of experience with the software. Ultimately, the best software for rendering interior design is one that meets the specific needs of the project and allows for the creation of high-quality, realistic visualizations.
Is Lumion the best rendering software?
Lumion is a popular rendering software that is known for its ease of use and real-time rendering capabilities. It is often used by architects and interior designers to create high-quality visualizations of their designs. While Lumion has many benefits and advantages, it may not necessarily be the best rendering software for every project. The best rendering software depends on factors such as the specific requirements of the project, the level of detail and photo realism needed, and the user’s level of experience and familiarity with the software. It’s important to evaluate multiple options and choose the software that best meets the needs of the project.
Author – Eddie, an experienced Sales & Marketing professional, joined NoTriangle in 2018 and has been an invaluable asset to the company’s growth. With his expertise in real estate marketing and as a communication specialist in the 3D Industry, Eddie has a keen interest in sharing his knowledge through writing, offering valuable insights and practical advice to readers.