Top CAD Software For Interior Designers: Review

March 11, 2013

Undoubtedly  CAD software has become today an essential part of Interior Design business. If several decades ago it was impossible to imagine Interior Designer who cannot draw, today it becomes reality: more and more Interior Design students do all renderings by means of CAD software. We can discuss long hours the downside of this phenomenon and the benefits of ability to produce hand drawn renderings, however this is not the subject of this article.

If you look at job vacancies, you will see that even to get an Internship in the company, an Interior Design student is expected to have perfect CAD skills. We can like it or not but CAD is a must thing to learn nowadays to stay competitive on the market. However, many professionals are actually stuck with the choice of software as there are so many available. This article is aimed to review all popular programs used today in order to help you to make the right choice. It is based on several opinions of real interior designers and architects and covers main pros and cons of each program.

Some programs are more sophisticated and will require to attend special courses or hire a tutor to understand the principles of it. Other programs are quite easy and you can actually learn them by yourself. There are a lot of books and online courses available, for example, where you will need to pay a monthly fee to get access to tutorials and then study them at your own pace.

Live Home 3D 

Wonderful Interior Design App for professionals created by Belight Software, which is very easy to learn and can be a great alternative to expensive CAD software. After watching introductory tutorials available on the developer’s website you will be able to make the full use of this app.  While there are two versions available – basic and Pro, I strongly recommend you to go for a Pro version, to enjoy such extensive features, as the ability to design unlimited number of stories, niches and wall cutouts, export images in high resolution, add a light source to any object and advanced material editor.

Live Interior 3D


•You can select pre-designed interiors to get started quickly, which allows you to significantly save the time while creating a floor plan.

•Extensive library with supplied 3D objects.

•Integration with Google SketchUp is excellent – you can download 3D models from Google 3d Warehouse.

•Project tree tool with all the objects included in the project – similar to Photoshop layers you can hide or preview any object simply by clicking on the “eye” button, which is very convenient when you want to test or compare different furniture or materials.

•There is a 3D preview tool for a selected object.

•Measuring and annotations tool will allow you to add notes to your 2D floor plan, which is very useful if you want to include any specifications/clarifications for contractors.

•3 Modes of preview available – 2D (floorplan), 3D and Split mode (a combination of both).

•3 Rendering modes – lights and shadows, lights only and no lights or shadows.

•Inspector panel allows you to quickly control materials and other elements of your projects.

Live Interior 3D


  • Quite limited selection of room templates.
  • Only for Mac

3D Homeplanner

Great online software developed by dmlights that will help you to create a floor plan and furniture layout easily and quickly. Also has a 3D preview mode which allows to visualize how suggested layout works.

dmlights 3D Homeplanner render (7)


  • 3D Homeplanner has a number of room shapes which you can choose from that will save you lots of time on making one.
  • It is an online software meaning that you don’t have to download anything and can start using it immediately. No registration is required for creating floor plans, however you will need to register for the 3D mode.
  • The size of wall and its length can be changed simply by clicking on them and modifying their values.
  • 3D Homeplanner has a built in «drag and drop» function for architectural elements, furniture and materials – its use is very intuitive so basically you will need no learning before to start to use it.
  • You can easily customize dimensions and materials of architectural elements.
  • Big selection of various furniture. It is divided for into categories for different rooms – bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, kids room, etc.,  which simplifies and speeds up the process.
  • You can move the furniture around, rotate or delete it from the plan.
  • 3D mode allows you to preview the room and understand if the suggested layout works or not.

dmlights 3D Homeplanner render (3)


  • Since the software is web-based you will need a proper Internet connection. You will not be able to use it in the offline mode.
  • The selection of architectural features such as doors and windows is quite limited.


3D model in ArchiCad, image source

3D model in ArchiCad

As the name suggests this software was created mainly for architects, thus mainly focuses on their needs. It is perfect for creating architectural plans, elevations and sections.


2) Quick and simple to use, straightforward, no hidden settings

3) Great for creating technical drawings

4) Includes PDF maker

5) Allows to see changes made in 2D format to instantly see in 3D model

6) New Morph tool of the latest version (ArchiCad 16) allows to create complex geometrical forms

7) Large library of BIM components (Interior Design objects)

8) Choice of MAC or Windows


1) Expensive

2) Arhicad 16 is quite difficult to learn for new users

3) Limited possibilities for creating non standard objects with complex geometry (this was improved in the latest version by introducing Morph tool)

4) Lack of single key commands


AutoCad drawing, image source

AutoCad drawing

This is one of the most popular CAD software that interior designers use. It is available both in Windows and Mac versions and you can download a free trial from the Autodesk website. Although Autocad gives a lot of opportunities to a user, it is not an easy program to learn. You don’t need to be a techno guru, but you will need a lot of patience and determination, but as award you will be able to produce very realistic renderings.


1) One of the main pros of this software is its popularity – it is used in many architectural and design companies

2) Allows to create detailed and sophisticated drawings

3) Ease of use for 3D visualization and animation


1) Expensive

2) Complicated for a new user and difficult to learn

3) Models created in Autocad are not possible to read in other programs

Autodesk Revit 

Drawing created in Revit, image source

Drawing created in Revit

This is a special program created for architects allowing to design a building and its components in 3D.


1) Provides better understanding of architectural structure of the building

2) Allows to quickly create  plans, elevations and sections


1) In order to make great drawings one needs to study thoroughly the program which requires lots of time and desire to “dig”

2) Expensive as all other Autodesk programs. Perhaps is more suitable and workable in terms of self-repayment for large architectural bureaus rather than small Interior Design businesses

Autodesk 3Ds Max

3Ds Max drawing, image source

3Ds Max drawing

This software allows creating 3D models, animations and images. It is frequently used by architectural and Interior Design studios for rendering, simulation and visualization purposes.


1) High standard of 2D and 3D data exchange

2) Easy to learn

3) Large variety of available tools and plugins

4) A lot of helpful information in the Internet – tutorials, courses, conferences and books


1) Quite slow

2) Poor compatibility with other modeling software

3) A lot of available functions makes it difficult to thoroughly learn this program

Chief Architect
Home Designer Professional 2017


This software was specifically designed for the home building industry. Its simplicity allows to use 3D design tool by novice computer users or by those who find other CAD software too complicated.


1) Simple to use and easy to learn

2) Allows to create schematic drawing within minutes


1) Very basic, doesn’t allot to create very complex objects


This software originally developed in South Africa exists today in two versions – for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating system. It can be used both for 2D and 3D design. The Basic version contains limited architectural tools, while Platinum version contains all the set (more than 600 tools).

Image source

Image source


1) Many tailor-made packages of this software can satisfy the needs of almost every user. For less demanding users there is TurboCAD deluxe, for advanced Turbo Platinum Pro, for those who need only 2D rendering there is TurboCAD Designer.

2) Good value for money (even the most advanced version is still cheaper than  Autdesk products).

3) Easy to install and accompanying manual is clearly explained. There is also very informative Getting Started guide for the beginners and supportive online tutorials.

4) Great for 2D and especially for 3D renderings.

5) Ability to create sections and elevations for any 3D object.

6) A number of very useful features for 3D rendering such as Extrude Face tool, Drag on Facet (for applying multiple finishes to the same surface), Helix tool (to draw 3D spirals), 2D Bisector tool and many others.

7) Exchange data very well.


1) Not the easiest program to learn.

2) Lack of shortcut commands.

3) There is no help option really available within the software itself.


Google sketchup 3D rendering

Google sketchup 3D rendering, image source

This is 3D modelling program acquired by Trimble.


1) Easy to learn and use

2) Big online library (called 3D Warehouse) of models (doors, windows, furniture, etc.). It allows designers to download and share free models.

3) Allows access to 3-rd party “plug-in” programs with additional possibilities (e.g. near photo realistic renderings).

4) You can import photos of the things which clients already own and set them within the space

5) Available free limited version


1) Difficulties with 3D visualisation especially with complex models

2) Difficulties with modelling complex surfaces especially with curved, “organic” forms. Detailing of such objects makes them “heavy”

3) Absence of controlled point lights which is essential for Interior Design projects

4) Rendering in SketchUp is very basic, however it can be attractive as it imitates the hand drawings. For making photo-realistic renderings the program can be compatible with special programs –  “Render” plug-ins.


Floor plan created in vectorworks

Floor plan created in Vectorworks

Unlike other CAD products which can be used for architecture and engineering, Vectorworks was specifically designed for Interior Design needs.


1) Successfully integrates 2D and 3D design

2) Very useful  worksheets feature – allows to create schedules, material lists, cost sheets, etc.

3) Great tool for creating floor plans (2D drafting) .

4) Cost-effective

5) Supports a lot of formats (PDF, SketchUp, 3Ds, etc.)

6) Latest version includes some of the SketchUp functions, such as push/pull

7) Good lighting and texture effects.


1) Base price doesn’t include high-quality 3D-render

Each of the reviewed programs is great and gives user a lot of opportunities. If you still don’t know which program to choose, remember that CAD skills are important but not everything in Interior Design.  It is just a tool which helps you to visualize your ideas. So make yourself a coffee, decide which one is  better for you and start learning!


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Can you state any other pros and cons of these programs? Which software do you use? Do you like it?

Check out my eBooks for interior designers: the first one is about how to market your interior design business and getting more clients, the second one is about various interior styles:

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March 12, 2013 at 4:43 am

I would say that I liked Archicad more when I was learning it – as it is much more simple and intuitive than Autocad. If I need to make project drawings (plans, elevations) , I will make them in Arhicad, but if I need to create object with complex form or surface, than Autocad is probably better. I tried the free SketchUp version and I found it very limited, I couldn’t do there what I wanted without paying for upgrade. I will be interested to know your opinion when you try it.

March 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

nice overview. so far i’ve only used Vectorworks and a little bit of Sketchup. I’d like to be proficient in these two before I think about moving on to something else.

March 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Hi, Dominika! Thank you for stopping by. Vectorworks is still on my list to learn. Sketchup is quite cool – it’s a pity though that basic version has a lot of limitations.

March 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I use Sketchup when I need something quickly, but it looks a bit unprofessional. I don’t enjoy Autocad as much, but it gives a more clean professional look and it’s easy to insert title blocks… Haven’t actually tried the others yet.

March 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Thank you for your opinion and commenting! It is great to know which software other designers use. Agree with you that SketchUp is very good when you need to create something very quickly – it communicates well general idea.

March 21, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I put this to the attention of my italian friends

March 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

As a career, Interior designing is best available option for teenagers. Today , there are plenty of opportunities available in market. Survey sates that online designers have a huge demand in market.

online interior design

March 23, 2013 at 7:48 am

Great comparisons! Thank you! I have taken coursework on AutoCad and even after 2 classes I didn’t feel I had enough expertise to use it on my resume. I’ve also used SketchUp. What I liked best for my needs was Chief Architect – Design Manager because of its user friendly design. What I wish they had was a version for RCP’s and lighting design that would be more comprehensive (i.e. allows to build to code, angel lighting for elevations to be accurate, etc.).

Revit is really where it’s at for sure but most architectural businesses don’t or won’t have this program at this time anyways. Revit is great for keeping track of all your materials, pricing, etc. as you build! Also a huge difference vs, AutoCad. If you want a wall you just click the size and materials you want! Just a pricey program.

Thanks again for sharing!!

March 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Hi, Angela! Thank you so much for your valuable comment!
It is so interesting to know which software other designers are using. Completely agree with you about Autocad – I also took a course and after finishing it I was just feeling that I got the basics! I think to be able to use it like a pro, you need to practice it every day. Good to know your opinion about Chief Architect and Revit. Thank you again!

April 2, 2013 at 5:30 am

Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one!
It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Great choice of colors!

April 2, 2013 at 5:34 am

Well, if my blog looks exactly like yours, I can compliment you too on great choice of colours 🙂 Thank you for visiting.

April 4, 2013 at 7:08 am

I was extremely pleased to uncover this website. I wanted to thanks for your time for this terrific read!! I definitely enjoying every single little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

April 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

@Jackbenson – thank you very much for your lovely compliment! I am so happy that you like my blog.

April 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Interesting comments – now I’m more confused than ever!! I have been using TurboCAD Pro for close to 20 years and am now looking at switching to get better 3D capabilities. I have been trying Sketchup Pro for the last week or so and like a lot of things about it. Then I started to look at Chief Architect but then I found this blog and the comments above don’t make Chief Architect look very good – I thought it looked better than that from looking at it on their website – mind you, they have many versions. I don’t really want to spend between$2,000 – $3,000 but really feel the need to have a good 2D/3D program! So confusing!

April 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm

@ddfdesign – thank you for visiting my blog. Each of the programs has its own advantages and disadvantages. Price plays essential role here as more expensive software have more tools and capabilities. Chief Architect has amazing 3D and 2D tools – I would say the main disadvantage of this program is its price. If you are not ready to pay $2000 I would recommend you to go for SketchUp Pro – for its relatively acceptable cost it has a lot of useful tools, it is user friendly and has big online library of models.

April 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Thanks for your comments and yes, thinking about it – for a little over half the price I can purchase both Sketchup Pro and upgrade to the latest version of TurboCAD Pro which gives me the best of 2 worlds especially as I can import my dwg drawings from TurboCAD Pro to Sketchup Pro. I’m surprised you haven’t included TurboCAD Pro – it’s a pretty good program and cheaper than AutoCAD etc. And they have a great User Forum for help.
Thanks for all of the advice here!

April 8, 2013 at 8:15 am

I am glad this was helpful! Thank you for your comments and suggestions – I will try to include TurboCAD in this review. I haven’t tried it yet, can you mention any of the positive and negative sides that you have experienced with it?

April 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Really great post. I wasn’t going to bother with Sketchup but now I think I’ll give it a try.

April 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

@NordicBLACK – thank you so much! Sketchup is a wonderful software – I am sure you will like it and have lots of fun with it.

April 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I would apply a lot of the same pros and cons that you listed for ArchiCAD to Revit as well. I have used both (ArchiCAD less recently) and have found Revit to be superior in most ways. Another thing to consider is that when I last checked, Revit is also much more popular and doesn’t play nice with other software, so if you’re looking to integrate with other team members you might not have much of a choice.

That being said, Autodesk (which publishes Revit and AutoCAD) is a pretty despicable company. I hate that they churn out new versions of their software yearly like clockwork without fixing the problems in the existing versions, and I hate the extortionate rates they charge for it year after year.

Sketchup makes me angry but you can’t beat it for value. This comment is now way too long. Good post.

April 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Raymond, thank you very much for taking time to write such a thorough comment about your experience with CAD – I really appreciate it. Totally agree that high rates for Autodesk products should be justified by fixing all existent problems before releasing new versions of software.

Sywar Smida
April 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hey Anna, thank you for all the sharing and fantastic articles ( I wish you can post more 🙂 I am also a Klc OL, just got the marks from setion 1 ( quite encouraging) and moving forward into section 2 – I also have on my to do list to learn one of the CAD software and i am quite attracted by sketch up, I think it is useful for a quick presentation/visualisation of the project ( especially that you can add some of the clients belonging)
Again congrats for this nice blog and keep it up-

April 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Hi, Sywar! I am so glad you like my blog. Also I am really glad for you that you have received good marks for module 1 – well done! 🙂 I have sent my second module recently and it still didn’t reach my tutors yet, but I’ve already started to work on module 3. The reading materials are really interesting and also in the mid time I am doing my Curtain and History of styles book. I have studied Autocad and Archicad with private teacher and I explored free Sketchup version on my own – it is a very good program indeed. Thank you again for your compliment and I wish you good luck with your studies!
P.S. – are you part of Flickr group as well?

April 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I have now bought Sketchup Pro – still learning. I have also downloaded a trial of TurboCAD Pro Platinum v20. I am not knowledgeable enough about all of the technical aspects of CAD programs to intelligently comment but I came across this article on TurboCAD Pro 19 written in June 2012. I think it gives a good over view for those interested in TurboCAD.

April 29, 2013 at 6:20 am

@ddfdesign – thank you for this link! I will make research about Turbo Cad and will include it in this review. Good luck with your studies of SketchUp – looking forward to hearing on your progress and your comments later! Anna

April 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm

For someone who is a confused beginner like me, this has been a great post. Can you please suggest me about how to start, though I am thinking to start with Sketchup, your advice will be of great help and save lots of my time on searching..where to start from

April 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm

@Tanu – thank you for visiting my blog and I am so glad the post was useful!
I recommend you to start with a free version of Sketchup – you can download it here – Of course it is a limited version of software but it is enough to start with and learn the basics, later on you can always purchase an upgrade (Sketchup Pro) to create more complex and sophisticated designs. Actually the program is quite easy and intuitive and I am pretty sure you can learn it on your own. You can search for beginners lessons on youtube and start trying to create simple objects, like table, glass, etc. There is a big online library of objects – try to search for different items and download them in your sketch. In the beginning it might seem tricky to turn the objects or place them on the right place.
Kind regards,

April 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm

thanks Anna for taking out time and giving me some clues on how to start…can you mail me some of your designs to have an idea on what kind of visualization it will give? Also, can you let me know if working on 3D max we have to import from autocad and then do rendering on it or it can be done by someone who have no knowledge of autocad.Thanks once again for your time, and valuable advice.

May 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Reblogged this on insidespacedesign and commented:
A great blog comparing the different options when it comes to CAD programs for designers. I myself am taking a full day Sketch Up Pro course next week and cannot wait!

May 9, 2013 at 5:16 am

Very interesting blog – thank you! Can anyone comment on what is useful and additionally available for Mac users? I have just switched but haven’t taken any decisions yet and am back to being a beginner after 12 years of having babies. Thanks Dorothy (architecture and interior design)

Elaine Carter
May 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm

This has been informative, but I still am not sure where to start. I have been thinking of learning one of these programs for years, but have not been able to find a local source for classes. I have studied other software through books, but really need a live classroom setting for my learning style. Also, I am wondering how compatible these programs are with each other. If I learn and use one program will I be able to share working files with team members using other programs?

May 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi, Elaine! Thank you very much for reading and commenting. It is difficult to recommend one particular program as each one of them has advantages and disadvantages and different price range. Some are easy to learn, with another you can achieve better visualization. Most of the programs have free trial – I think this is the best way to choose the program according to your needs. Completely understand your desire to study in the classroom, however private lessons can be very productive as well as teacher will focus on you only. Before buying you can check with vendor the compatibility with other program, for example, all Autodesk products are poorly compatible with other software.

Elaine Carter
May 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Thanks Anna, for your insight.

May 13, 2013 at 6:47 pm

A comment I read somewhere (excuse me if it was on this blog) is that the best program to use is the one you’re used to. This is so true – after trying another program I just feel more “at home” going back to TurboCAD PRO. It’s a pretty good program – both 2D and 3D and great at “playing friendly” with other programs. I work with architects that use Auto CAD or other programs and send files back and forth without any problems. Same for Sketchup Pro. All important things these days to be compatible.

Thanks for this forum!

May 27, 2013 at 9:10 am

Thank you very much for this article. I have to choose which CAD-program I will buy. And I think I stick to ArchiCAD that I learned during my education even it is very expensive.

May 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

Thank you Anne Helene for visiting my blog and taking time to comment! I personally love ArchiCad for its simplicity and intuitive approach and I think it’s one of the best CAD programs to work with.

June 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Hi, still waiting for your review on TurboCAD Pro 20 and how you feel it compares to the others. I still think it is a slightly better priced alternative and a pretty good program. Also has very helpful user forums which can really help out when you have a problem But there is just never enough time to do everything is there?

Great blog, thanks.

June 19, 2013 at 10:31 am

@ddfdesign – thousands of apologies from me! I feel really ashamed now for taking so long! So many projects and so many traveling – I was really busy these days. I have included now review of TurboCAD – I hope it will be helpful. Thank you again for wonderful suggestion! Anna

June 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Hi Anna, please don’t feel bad! It is a crazy time of year and things are very busy. Alsp,when you review TurboCAD please make sure you use the PRO program – much different from the other levels.
Thanks again,

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Jo Davies
September 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Reblogged this on Interior Design Student and commented:
I recently came across this post when researching which CAD course to invest in. The KLC runs short courses in Vectorworks and Sketchup but both are quite expensive (and you also have to consider travel/hotel costs if you are not local to London). So I am now on a mission to find a local (Bath/Bristol) Vectorworks course. I’ll keep you posted.

September 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Thank you for reblog! I think searching for a local tutor/course might be the best option for you. I am sure you will be able to find it in Bath/Bristol. I also recommend to do one-to-one lessons as you will progress much sooner than in the class, at least for me it worked really well. Keep us posted!

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October 8, 2013 at 4:33 am

@deezitecture – thank you! To be honest I don’t know about Cinema 4D – good that you have mentioned it. I will make some research and will try to include it in this review. Are there any drawbacks of this software that you can mention?

October 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Well not really, I cant recall anything specific. I cant say that it is better or worst than another software of that kind but for me seems to be the more efficient for time and effort needed for a decent result.

October 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I
can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my
own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any
ideas or suggestions? Thanks

October 15, 2013 at 10:20 am

Hi there! No it is not hard at all. I set up mine with – free blogging platform, you can choose among a large variety of themes and also there is a big support forum where you can find answer to almost any question. Check out this post which might also be helpful and if any questions do not hesitate to contact me directly-

October 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Sometimes we make things more complicated while doing and managing interior design and 3d visualization.
What we need
1. Autocad. LT
Basic layout and space planning plus detailing.

2. 3dsmax. For creating 3d interior and visualization.

3. Photoshop. Adding colour effects and adding other props if needed like adding humans and vegetation.

We have been teaching this pipeline from the last 4 years in our company and it really works.



November 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Great post on the different software available. I’m learning SketchUp and AutoCad right now. I still need a lot of practice 😀

November 1, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Thank you! Yes, all CAD programs require a lot of practice 🙂

November 21, 2013 at 5:17 am

I’ve used CAD before, but not to that extent of it! but WOW… Now SketchUp on the other hand….. I love it 🙂 Awesome!

November 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

…and where is InteriCAD T5? it is something worth seeing, as it has totally different approach for interiors

Tania Ankersmit
November 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Yes, what about InteriCAD ? – to me it looks better and easier than all the others ? How does it compare with autcad for example?

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January 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

Reblogged this on Zuleika.

February 26, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Has anyone tried interiCAD yet? I was thinking of making the $2k purchase and trying to learn it but didn’t want to do so if the program doesn’t have much more capabilities than my autocad already has. Just curious if anyone is using InteriCAD…there 3D mockups looks aaaaamazing.

Meme Esayase
May 1, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Just need a little advice. I really love interior design and It my passion and what brings me happiness. I am interested in going back to school to become an interior designer but school coast so much now days that I’m reconsidering my decision about going back to school. Do you guys think you can be a self thought Interior designer that people and farms could consider you to be a serious and professional interior designer with out a degree and become successful?

Reply Support
May 6, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Hi there! thank you for visiting and commenting. Yes, I would definitely recommend you to go to school, if you want to be considered as a serious professional. There are quite affordable programs also, some of them you can do online too. Perhaps, you might consider to get an “interior decorator” diploma, which is cheaper and easier to get than “interior designer”. The thing about school is not only in the diploma itself, but in knowledge and skills which you can’t undervalue,

May 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Hi Meme, I’ve posted your question on my FB page and received several more opinions:
Ilse Hoekstein-Philips: I started a course where you can study at home. it’s not so expensive. i stopped half-way because i’m having so much work that i don’t have the time to complete it. i strongly believe in self-study in any form. it’s just a matter how much you want to become a designer and if you have ‘the feeling’ for it. however, i’m still planning to finish the course

Patty Matassi Kappmeyer: It is expensive. Perhaps you can apprentice with someone? Here is a free online course I have taken.

Linzi Ashford Hill: KLC london

Soon to become a licensed interior designer.
February 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm

Hi Meme, I mean this in the most loving and supporting way you can imagine. No, No, No, No and No. Did I mention No? 🙂 Seriously, IF you have the intuitive “feel” for interior design that is excellent. I don’t believe school cannot teach you that. Whatever you have to do, get your degree and sit for the NCIDQ exam and get your license. Mark Hampton once stated, he did not believe in the schools. He and other others like him thrived in a totally different environment/time period. The days of the self-taught interior designer building on that alone is coming to an end.

Further, today, anyone who can replicate a website and print a business card, or thinks that they can arrange furnishings or select a paint color has called themselves “interior designers.” There is a vast difference between decorator and designer, and whether others agree or not, matters not. Is there anything wrong with decorator? Not at all. There are fabulous decorators among us; some I look up to. It is just a matter of what you [we] want. I am responding to your question, because you appear to aspire to “interior designer”. IF you want to be an “interior designer” you will want to do what is required.

Many states will soon REQUIRE one to obtain their license in order to practice interior design, or call themselves an interior designer. Some states already enforce these laws. I have read articles about people in Florida for instance. The state fined them and presented cease work orders. In other words, you never know who and when, what states will decide to investigate and take action.

All I am saying is again, IF you want to practice interior design, position yourself where you can expand in the future then you have nothing to think about; you are free to become all you can be. You don’t want to find yourself in the position where you have a thriving client base, are practicing “interior design” rather than interior decorating, and the authorities are investigating you and find that you are doing the things that require a license to practice interior design. Find out what the requirements are where you live.

If you have to take one or two courses at a time do it, sell an automobile, sell jewelry, if you have antiques that don’t have sentimental value to you, sell them. Call the NCIDQ and find out what online schools have programs that will qualify you to sit for the exam. When you reach the other side of the hump, your inner creative being will truly thank you. YOU CAN DO IT!

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September 10, 2014 at 6:06 pm

I use Google Sketchup and know it very well. Would it be necessary for me to learn AutoCAD LT? I feel like its a lot the same. Should I rather try to learn Archicad?

September 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Hi! If you know Sketchup very well I don’t really need there is big necessity for you to invest time and money in learning another program (unless it is required from the company you work in, as some architectural firms use only Archicad, for example) – Sketchup offers wonderful tools – basically all what is needed for creating floor plans and rendering.

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October 17, 2014 at 1:11 am

Great profiles on all the programs, currently learning AutoCAD, and now you’ve got me excited about Revit!

October 17, 2014 at 6:24 am

thank you – glad it was useful!

December 4, 2014 at 1:38 am

AutoCAD Lt is not capable of 3D…

December 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

The earliest you can start for a career in interior designing is 10+2. However, it is essential to have excellent drawing and designing skills to get into this job profile. Furthermore, if you have knowledge of decorative items, home improvement products and basics of architecture, then it becomes easier to follow this particular career path. Large architectural firms, building contractors, hotels and resorts are constantly on a look out for eligible professionals in this field. The popularity of interior designing as a discipline is not confined to urban cities but it has rapidly spread to small town and cities across the nation.

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Kermit Frog
March 20, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Where is Rhino? Kick ass software.

Pedro cobos
March 23, 2015 at 1:42 am

Can anybody tell me what is the best type of software for 3d perspectives, renderings… I already know autocad but the image in 3d it is not the best … ideas pleas

March 23, 2015 at 8:32 am

hi Pedro, I think 3ds Max is what you need

July 9, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Hello Pedro, I’d recommend you Blophome. It produces stunning realistic renders with little effort.

April 14, 2015 at 9:56 am

Hi, Anyone know about Arredocad for interior design?

April 14, 2015 at 10:46 am

Hi Krishna, honestly – this is the first time I hear about Arredocad – has someone recommended it to you?

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September 13, 2015 at 6:18 pm

I am just starting out. Has anyone tried ChiefArchitect? I want something that is realistic looking. I don’t want to get into AutoCAD as it seems extremely involved for someone like myself just starting out. Also, in these programs can you extract furniture from say a magazine and/or website and import it into the program you are using? Just a curiosity of mine. Any information that you all could provide would be greatly appreciated.

December 12, 2016 at 12:44 am

Hello jackie, i can see that this is an old thread. Im still interested to know if you ve tried chief architect and what you ve thought about it? is the prifessional line all rounded software for interior designers?

dhruv kumar
September 19, 2015 at 6:19 am

i want to create an interior designing…. will you please suggest me which is the most famous softwere where i can use it…..tell me what is his name my email dhruvkumar2612@ggamo

sheenaa jain
September 23, 2015 at 9:29 am

Thanks for the info…

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November 1, 2015 at 6:42 pm

I’ve found your Article and subsequent comments very informative and interesting. I am a Professional Bathroom Designer for the past 13 years. The companies I’ve been employed by deal strictly and only with bathroom remodeling. I’ve been sketching everything to date with great success. Some of my bigger jobs could be better served with better visualization to present. I’ve been looking at 3 programs only till now. As a member of the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association, USA), i’ve been told by my colleagues that 20/20 is the most commonly used program followed up by Sketchup in 2nd place. Recently another colleague suggested Home Designer Pro by Chief Architect. No one I know uses any of these other programs and I guess that’s because I’m in the Kitchen & Bath Industry only!

I’m still not sure what to get. I do know that I want to take pictures of wall surfaces and import them and use them in my renderings. This is essential. I also know that I want to keep it simple as I quote 2-3 jobs a day!

I’m also looking at purchasing both new I pad and Laptop or Desk top computer very soon. User friendliness with these devices is important. The I Pad Pro will be out in 17 days and I’m hoping that I would be able to use that at a customer’s home for one of these? Any insight would be helpful. Thank You

December 9, 2015 at 4:57 am

I m new here.i was looking for this list in google but didn’t anythink worth trying.Fortunately i visited this Blog and find what i wanted.Thanks for sharing it.

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Nita Pearson
July 18, 2016 at 5:24 am

thank you for this article! Just spent two weeks going through all the biggies on this list and still can’t decide which one to use…. although I am loving Sketch-up for ease of use and price…just wish the rendering could be better, seems we can’t have it all… yet!

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