How to Build a True-to-Life Interior Rendering
How to Build a True-to-Life Interior Rendering

7 Best Practices for Creating a Realistic Interior Rendering

Wondering what should be done to create a realistic interior rendering for sale or just for your work portfolio? Follow 7 best practices (and extra tips) to design the best!

According to EHSToday, the U.S. building sector earns more than 8 trillion US dollars for the American economy yearly. This significant sum brightly illustrates the construction boom that flourishes in America nowadays. However, before an edifice has been built, it must be leased or sold. To get the best financial profit, the option might be to prepare a remodelling plan with a realistic interior rendering.

The more realistic an interior rendering, the more attractive and catchy the picture is.

If you are reading this article right now with the idea in your head to present a certain interior rendering to a customer or you’re just developing it for your portfolio, it is a must (if you want to succeed) to focus on the quality of the picture.

How can you design a realistic interior rendering that will generate profit? Explore our detailed guide to the 7 best practices to build more lifelike interior renderings. As a bonus, we have also revealed several extra tips for you to be sure of future success.

In case you need professional support to design a realistic rendering, it would be great to check 3D interior rendering at On this B2B engineering marketplace, experienced engineering teams bring the most challenging 3D interior renderings for clients to life.

Now, let’s discover the best practices.

Tip 1: Conduct a Research for Inspiration

To elaborate on a win-win solution in interior rendering, you should start with some research for inspiration. Don't worry that it is plagiarism because that is NOT the thing as you are not going to copy a design off a single photo.

Pick several images that correspond to the interior concept and style that you desire, and save them in a folder for reference. As an alternative, you may ask a customer to send you a few images to help understand their wishes.

When it comes to resources for inspiration, 3D interior engineers love Home Adore, Houzz, and Pinterest. In case you are studying at the design faculty or just have such a hobby, we would recommend creating a Pinterest account. This is a truly marvellous source for those who look for inspiration. Pinterest allows getting a full picture of what is trendy and which things ideally combine together.

Tip 2: Implement Bevel Techniques

The target of 3D interior rendering consists in conveying both the scale and the aesthetic beauty of the designed solution. However, inexperienced engineers sometimes use elements that show that this is a render but not a photo. That draws the viewer away from the aesthetic side and creates the impression of a master's incompetence.

To get rid of the above-mentioned, designers should implement the bevel tool when it comes to interior rendering. If they do nothing with sharp edges, it will demonstrate that a picture is not a reality. Mind that even realistic objects possess a slightly rounded edge.

You should be ready to bevel the majority of your pictures. By the way, the view of sunlight irradiating a rounded edge usually adds to the 3D effect of a picture. So, use more light! As far as sometimes less is more, you should learn how to implement bevel tools and try not to overuse them.

Tip 3: Always Mind Scale

Before importing all the elements into the working tool, you should make sure that every component has a true-to-life size, particularly accessories and other décor elements.

Additionally, you should be certain that all the components you select for the interior scene composition are interdependent. For example, in case they implement big furniture elements, they will require decorating the space with parts of a relevant scale.

Extra advice: it is great to research dimensions for such traditional elements as chairs or tables on Google. When talking about unusual elements, designers can visually measure them and look for identical objects in online stores to check the dimensions.

To cope with the above-mentioned, it would be perfect to use the 3dsMax tool. This solution to correct dimensions implements centimetres for interior rendering and in case a certain object looks unnaturally huge/tiny, the app adjusts it. Wonderful, agree?

Tip 4: Appropriate Lighting Determines Success

Relevant lighting in an interior rendering, particularly a dwelling, guarantees aesthetic as it delivers an impression of space. That is the reason why lighting and space features are one of the key priorities for clients that buy a dwelling.

To gain realistic lighting in interior renderings (to demonstrate light and space inside a building), it is a brilliant option to try IES Light Profiles. As far as this solution possesses extremely precise photometric data, it is ideal for designing realistic luminance as well as light-shape in an interior render.

Moreover, the app has another bonus: Users don't require calculating light behaviour for every interior you design inside an edifice because this tool delivers samples for free as a background for precise models.

To gain photorealistic lighting is the key dream for designers and architects. However, sometimes, the challenge with realism is that it is not very attractive. A catchy interior rendering should demonstrate an area where the client desires to come. To manage the challenge, designers recommend implementing a technique called the three-point lighting system. Let's consider it in more detail.

As a rule, the key light means the brightest light origin. It is usually located at a 45-degree angle from the photo camera. Regarding the fill light source, it is not so bright, so it may be located 90 degrees in front of the key light. The back light possesses the lowest brightness, so it reflects a mild light created to separate certain elements from the background.

The three-point lighting approach comes in handy when you desire to accentuate an object (or several ones). The interior with no specific object can benefit from this solution as well. You should just take into account the following light sources:

  • Area lights: light generated from a location that can be a fluorescent bulb as well as light coming in through a window;
  • Omni Lights: light which shines from one source in all directions;
  • Linear light with a very balance-preserving lighting profile;
  • The sun enables the light to harmonically fall on the whole area.

Finally, when introducing ambient lighting in tandem with the mood in your image, you can create an intended atmosphere for clients. For example, designers can create a romantic mood in a living room when combining area lighting and spotlights.

Additional advice: 3D interior design engineers recommend using HDRI Skies to create a realistic interior rendering. It is better to use light portals for a chosen render engine. Additionally, you should get sure that the sunlight falls the way so it points at the window. It is for you to decide what to use: light planes or HDRI lighting. The point is both options create breath-taking lighting.

Designers also advise analysing real images. Your task is to understand what atmosphere the lighting in a certain image creates so that you understand which atmosphere they should feel in an interior rendering.

Tip 5: Never Ignore the Field Depth

Probably, a question “What is that all about?” has appeared in your head now. Depth of field is widely applied by interior designers, photographers, and even moviemakers to accentuate image components that correspond to the engineer's target. The field depth can earmarks a certain element as well as minimize the accent on the background to gain a similar goal.

The above-mentioned feature can be used both at a rendering phase and during post-processing. Note that if you apply the field depth before rendering, you will have more control over the result.

Tip 6: How About Chromatic Aberration?

Another unknown term for you is used here. However, you might have observed the chromatic aberration effects on photos. Such an effect happens when colours a bit separate because the camera lens doesn't reflect them at one convergence point.

Unfortunately, such a thing never naturally occurs in renders. What should be done to fake that to build a more true-to-life interior rendering? Designers that are proficient in Photoshop can compensate for the blue and red channels with the help of several pixels.

Chromatic aberration ensures realism to a picture but note that even in a real photo, overly used aberration looks unprofessional. Use that fewer in your interior rendering to maintain subtlety.

Tip 7: Practice Specular Maps

For experienced 3D interior rendering engineers, specular maps don't appear to be an innovative concept. The main goal of specular maps consists in delivering instructions to an individual render engine for users to create a realistic degree of gloss for every element.

For instance, the sun casting light on a polished furniture item through a window will create a heterogeneous degree of gloss or, as an alternative, shine across the table. However, if they use the specular map, the tool will exactly demonstrate the location where the sunlight should fall and to what extent. Note that specular maps have numerous advantages, so learn the solution to get rid of several imperfections in rendering.

Other Lifehacks to Create a Realistic Interior Rendering

We hope you have understood our key principles to develop top-performance interior renderings. Now, we would like you to grasp the following lifehacks which are not key but worth bearing in mind:

Mind Composition.

Before you render a created view to panorama/file or export that to the EXE format, spend time to look at the picture as a whole and evaluate pluses (and minuses).

This can become a problem to perform because you worked on the details for much time. While conducting such an assessment, think about what way other people can perceive the solution. Does this image possess parts that might be confusing or puzzling? Most probably, moving sideways in a single direction in the rendering will generate a confusing case. Additionally, ensure that your eye level is relevant. It is simple to accidentally modify a certain setting as you are evaluating the solution, agree?

Exclude Perfectionism.

To succeed, you should avoid creating too much perfect interior rendering. In case you want to design realistic images, you will require adding flaws that may naturally exist in an edifice or a room.

If you plan to render the already existing image of a room/edifice, flaws are already obvious. So, don't handle too many of them!

Adding “bad” elements that don't interfere with the idea of the image can support the realism of the image. By the way, in case you have found out too many flaws, the way out is to create a lived-in feel in this dwelling. Here, your task is to introduce additional furniture items or accessories;

Include Asymmetry.

Frequently, clients equate beauty with symmetry. The last can be easily achieved in the accurate work environment of a rendering office. Interior rendering elements will be ideally symmetrical if mathematically counted.

The point is that in real life, a perfect symmetry doesn't exist and can't be noticed by the human eye. So, you should allow tiny symmetry variations for the rendering to look even more realistic!

Ask for Referrals.

Even the top specialist with 10-years’ experience might not notice some bug in their rendering. That is why it is extremely important to go get feedback on your solution. Your friends or neighbours can give you a lot of useful points that could improve the rendering.

It is not a must for a person to understand 3D to provide you with an efficient commentary. Their task is to be able to highlight what looks fishy. Receiving feedback from specialists that perform 3D is helpful as well. You can just join some Instagram or LinkedIn groups, publish your solution (it is better to publish not a ready project but ongoing), and receive commentary.