george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

If you are someone who has just decided to start a home-based interior design business and wonders if hand rendering is something you need to learn, then this is a good place to catch up with information.

What Interior Hand Rendering does?

An interior design drawing’s goal is to show a concept or representation of an interior with a new layout of a new or existing space with its design details.

The interior design hand rendering shows the placement of furniture, fixtures, appliances, décor, and other design elements. The colors and textures are also presented in a hand rendering interior design. In-house hand sketches are often used in combination with other computer drawing-rendering methods.


The meaning of “render” in interior design is when one refers to a hand sketch or computer-visualized depiction of the project or an object.

“Hand rendering is one of the first known techniques used by interior designers and architects to visualize spaces in three dimensions. One of the positives of hand rendering is the credibility and authority perceived by the client. Hand rendering sketch or demonstrating at client’s  meeting always looks impressive.”

George Nicola (Expert Stager)

Interior Design Hand Rendering Techniques a must have?

Interior Design hand rendering is a must-have if you are an interior designer. Even though computer-generated renderings have become the standard platform for delivering 3D simulated built environments, nothing beats the value of a hand-drawn rendering in addition to the spectacle and impression that are left with the client.

 A display of authentic art and technique is highly advantageous for a visual artist to start with the basics of hand rendering before diving into digital techniques.

This enables renderers to conceptualize ideas faster and have a useful skill on hand whenever computer generation fails to deliver.

In-house hand sketches are used often used in combination with other computer drawing-rendering methods in client meetings for quick annotation and further detail translation.

It takes creativity and skill to produce a working interior design hand rendering, and with this, designers can satisfy and express their artistic skills.

In a practical sense, interior sketching is still needed as a basic tool for presenting on-the-spot conceptualization to clients.

However, dedicating to hand renderings for clients nor with computer-aided designs solely is not a practical choice.

Thus, knowing both worlds is a must-have as it brings designers flexibility and freedom in their presentations.

In interior design hand drawing, there are a number of techniques and mediums that can be used. 

Interior design hand techniques

# Monochromatic Renderings

For monochromatic renderings usually black or one color is used for the entire image. Light and shadow are the main concerns when it comes to your monochromatic representations.

Suggested Tools to be used for monochromatic renders include:

hand rendering - Uniball super ink pen in black
hand rendering – Uniball super ink pen in black
hand rendering : Paper mate flair M pen in black
Paper mate flair M pen in black
hand rendering - Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pen B in black
Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pen B in black

# Hatching

interior design hand techniques-cross-hatching
hatching rendering technique

For freehand renderings the basic rendering strokes include:

Tones are created by a series of tightly spaced parallel lines of regular or irregular marks in an area. The primary notion is that the number, thickness, and spacing of the lines alter the overall image’s tonal values, emphasizing shapes rather than just the shape.

# Crosshatching

interior design hand techniques-cross-hatching
cross-hatching rendering technique

For crosshatching renderings the basic rendering strokes include:


Layers of parallel linear lines overlapping or changing directions are drawn.

They can be drawn vertically, horizontally, or at an angle diagonally.

# Scribbling

interior design hand techniques-scribbling
scribbling rendering technique

For scribbling renderings the basic rendering strokes include:


The most prevalent sort of scribbling is circular scribbling.

Filling in a drawing with scribbles is a quick and easy way to do it.

Due to its quickness and lack of detail, this style is most typically seen in sketches.

# Stippling

interior rendering-stippling
stippling rendering technique

For stippling renderings the basic rendering strokes include:


Dubbed as the “dot matrix”, it’s a shading technique in which dots are used to shade an area. The darker it seems, the closer the dots are and the more populated an area of the image is.

This method takes the longest and looks best from afar.

Hand Rendering Technique vs. 3D Interior Technique

How do you find if your hand-drawn sketches (assuming you’re good at them) or interior 3D renderings are the right choices for your one-person army interior design team?

Both are unquestionably significant and can set up entirely different courses for your interior practice if used well. 

Both hand-drawn sketches and 3D renders should be presented to the client. Each of them, however, should be given at distinct stages of the project.

Hold on for a bit!
We’ve published a very interesting guide in Developing an interior design team; go check it once you reach the bottom of this text.

Colored Hand Rendering

Freehand rendering in color for interior design utilizes the 4 basic strokes for rendering using colored ink and pencil. Still, there is a wide range of rendering techniques depending on your medium.

The most common is the use of watercolor, oil paint, colored pencil, magic marker, and water-ink. You can combine two or three of these mediums except for oil paint. To make it even easier to compare, we’ve put a number after each method with the average number of designers using it to make this easy.

# Water Color

colored interior design hand techniques
colored hand rendering

A medium that needs fast delicate strokes and creates an almost translucent quality to an image. The basic techniques include wet-on-dry, dry-on-dry, dry-on-wet, flat wash, and gradated wash.

2 out of 10 designers use this approach on average today.

# Magic Marker

magic marker interior design hand techniques

Unlike water and oil-based mediums, the magic marker is a convenient medium without the need for the intricate process of preparing colors. Therefore, this medium is a practical choice for quick illustrations as well as for full renderings.

5 out of 10 designers use this approach on average today.

# Oil Paint

oil paint interior design hand techniques oil
oil paint hand rendering

The oil-based paint is a medium that can create impactful renderings with its full-color and opaque quality

1 out of 10 designers use this approach on average today.

# Colored Pencil

oil paint hand rendering

Similar to your magic marker, the colored pencil is a convenient medium to create quick but visually impactful hand renderings with color.

1 out of 10 designers use this approach on average today.

# Water-Ink

water-ink interior design techniques
water-ink hand rendering

The Water-ink technique is a very well-known rendering method but not widely used by designers due to its messy nature.  The renderings comes out with pleasant colors to the eye.

1 out of 10 designers use this approach on average today.

Hybrid model 3D + Software

When it comes to the sections and elevations of interior renderings, things sit very differently. The nature of these sketches is to demonstrate technical constraints and relation to their immediate environment and how they link to each other.

Because of how well the 3D rendering software got developed over the years, elevation hand-renderings are quicker to produce with almost similar results.


We’ve written a really good article about Why Interior designers pick CGI as a method for rendering?

# Elevations

hybrid interior rendering
elevation hand rendering
hybrid interior rendering
hybrid elevation hand rendering @Credit: DT Design

# Details

details of interior rendering2
colored-details hand rendering
details of interior rendering
mono-details hand rendering

Famous traditional hand renderings

Coonley house - frank lloyd wright
Coonley House - Frank Lloyd Wright
Thaxter Shaw House - Frank Lloyd Wright Archives
Thaxter Shaw House - Frank Lloyd Wright Archives

When writing this post, I answered a question: Is it possible to become an interior designer without being good/skilled in doing arts? To which I felt obliged to provide an answer.

Famous contemporary hand renderings

friends apartment - rendering floorplan
Friends apartment - Hand rendering floorplan
fraiser apartment - rendering floorplan
Fraiser apartment - rendering floorplan

Interior Design Hand Rendering Courses

Since this might have been your first interaction with the world of hand sketches, here is a list of good courses and books you can undertake to learn even more and implement the chosen technique in your day to day projects.

Promises to teach you the basics of sketching in just 7 days. Offered are mini-courses, basic lessons for beginners, and a Pro video course for advanced students. She also has a Youtube channel both for Russian and English-speaking audiences.
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The Chelsea College of Arts offers an online tutorial and demonstrations for Freehand Perspective Drawing for Designers. In addition, the said online course offers live online lessons, and students can access lesson recordings.

The short course will enable you to sketch from a plan, and you’ll be able to create 3D sketches for clients. A certificate is provided upon completion.
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The course offers lifetime access to online and offline courses, which includes working with Sketchbook Pro, drawing multiple perspectives, and sketching from basic to final rendering.

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Offers bundle courses for both beginners and professionals. The lessons also offer bonus courses on drawing organic shapes and drawing from floorplans in both English and Metric scales.

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Offers live mentoring and downloadable course packages for interior design sketching and other areas such as landscape, technical, and architectural freehand sketching.

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Interior Design rendering books

Comes with 194 pages of step-by-step easy to understand and follow lessons and comes with a DVD.
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This book teaches the fundamentals of perspective, which are necessary for generating dynamic, believable compositions. This step-by-step guide will help you grasp the essentials including scale drawing, contour line drawing, linear perspective, tone and texture, and more, with a user-friendly approach.

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Interior Design with Hybrid Drawing Approaches demonstrates a flexible and productive design workflow that begins with hand drawing and progresses to digital techniques. Digital and freehand images are exhibited side by side in this book so you may choose which method is best for your desired impact at each phase.

You’ll also learn how to use a digital tablet to draw freehand, as well as how to produce perspective views, elevations, and floor plans. More than 400 color illustrations and practice tasks are included in this book, which may be accessed online.

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Highlights four basic interior sketching abilities in three different media: pencil, ink, and marker. Students will improve their freehand and drawing skills by taking a more in-depth look at several aspects of sketching, such as perception, texture, negative space, elevation, contour, and the handling of interior and exterior areas.

Students will discover effective practices for generating and presenting work for clients through a variety of exercises based on field studies. In addition, the book teaches how to use Photoshop to translate hand drawings into sophisticated digital drawings, making it a wonderful resource for both new and experienced designers.

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This book is created for interior designers and interior design students who are new to freehand sketching and want to develop an incredible technique for better performance in the interior design world.

Here you’ll find a variety of freehand drawing tools, techniques, and tactics. This beautifully drawn book can be a tremendous source of inspiration, and for some of you, it will become a deskbook.

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Conclusion: What is Interior Design Hand Rendering?

When it comes to deciding whether to go freehand or computer-generated renderings, it boils only to the end-user. Thus, knowing both skillsets is advantageous and offers more flexibility for both the client and the designer.

So, if a client needs an on-the-spot rendering of your vision, you can easily sketch as you explain in real-time while having a 3D simulation that provides more project perspectives which are useful during final presentations.

Learn more on to Develop an Interior Design Team and have an edge over the competition.