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Interior design presentation is a remarkable way of delivering projects in multiple depths of detail, from floor plans and materials boards to 3D drawings and renderings. Interior design presentations can make or break a project.

architectural visualiser george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

Successful interior project presentations take years to polish, and the main goal is to translate the interior elements into a simple language that homeowners can understand. An interior design project may be the second biggest commitment for a property after the purchase of the property from a client’s perspective!

Key Takeaways

A successful interior design presentation incorporates numerous components in a consistent, harmonious structure. The individual parts of a presentation do not have the same power when together.

Interior presentations are complex task that requires time and a systematic thought process. Often design presentations have between 4 and 13 components.

At the top of the pipeline sits programming that splits its roots into Schematic Design and Design Development.

Unifying by-products phases for depicting visual and concept details in a design project are:

– bubble diagrams
– hand sketches or orthographic drawing
– hand or CAD floor plans
– Axonometric drawings
– Interior section and elevation drawings
– Interior model study
– Traditional or digital design boards
– Material presentation boards
– Interior 3D drawings
– Interior 3D renderings

*The above list is not a complete list of all interior design phases and tools.

If you need assistance with your interior rendering endeavors, we at tallbox design are here to provide you with skills and services to convert your interior sketches into the perfect Interior 3D drawings or renderings.

The tradition of the design presentation

80% of interior designers are not makers but thinkers with a maker’s way of thinking, and only 25% of all designs have mastered their design presentations.

If a great design idea is not presented in the best light to the client, often this leads to a break-up in the relationship between a designer and client.

The presentation is the crossroad that can earn high profits and fame or break the project and it all starts with the interior design process.

Traditionally, young designers are taught in schools and colleges to create design boards composed of 2D drawings, sketches, fabric swatches, little materials samples, and inspirational references.

The interior design process is also briefly taught in the design school but often, implementing it requires much more experience and knowledge.

Although this is an excellent tactile way for clients to “experience” the project, if you ask, most designers will tell you that their clients always have hundreds of questions after such presentations.

One may experience the fabric and compare references, but it will have difficulty linking the 2D diagrams and plans with watercolor sketches. All of this creates more work for the designers to explain every element with cutout images or other ways.

The design process of presentation

The design process is the pillar of each project. If a project does not have a well-organized design process, often called “programming,” or “Pre-design planning” the risk of failure and mistakes is high, which will always lead to breaks in relations with clients, loss of profit for the designs, and increased budgets for the client.

Pre-design planning (also Programming) represents a detailed analysis of the client’s needs, requirements, and budget. Everything is put against any architectural or site constraints.

Newbie designers overlook the importance of having even simple programming in place. This shows the clients each step of the project and establishes the designer’s credibility and communication skills.

Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation are the three main stages of an interior project.

Analysis – it includes phases of defining and translating the project’s problem.

Synthesis– all potential problems and requests are formulated with one or multiple solutions (for discussion with a client)

Evaluation – often has a few rounds of critical reviews, comparison of pros and cons of each solution.

The importance of the pre-design planning phase is so high that the process can be compared to a business justification and options appraisals, all leading later to better-optimized budgets for the client and increased profits for the designers.

George Nicola
George Nicola

Each of the above phases has multiple stages, and they may have different names for each designer, but in general, they lead to the same outcome – solving the problem. Design teams of 5+ teams often have dedicated programmers in charge of the management and communication. Since every project and company are different, programming varies on the type – the size of the project and the amount of useful information presented by the client.

More on this you can read our article How to develop an Interior Design team?”

Below I will try to explain the most common types of interior design presentation tools and grade them with scores for complexity and effectiveness.

Interior bubble diagrams

Complexity: 4 / 10
Effective: 6 / 10

interior-bubble-diagram

Think of bubble diagrams as a way of early schematic brainstorming. These diagrams can quickly generate multiple concepts. Each bubble has a rough scale according to the space’s proportion, representing its location and adjoining spaces. 

Based on an approved diagram, the concept is further developed into a floor plan, hand sketch, or 3D drawing.

This technique is used by architects, designers, engineers, marketers, developers, and many more professionals where problem-solving is required.

Interior design hand sketches

Complexity: 8 / 10
Effective: 4 / 10

interior hand sketch presentations

Hand sketched presentations are the oldest and most widely used tool for presenting three-dimensional interior schemes.

Considered almost an art, they require a lot of time, skills, and techniques to be brought up to a level that design clients can understand and read. 

Being able to sketch an interior to such a degree shows your clients you know what you are doing and impress them. 

Unfortunately, the downside to this design presentation is that only a tiny percent of clients can understand the details of their future homes in-depth.

Thus interior designers who rely solely on hand sketches need to bring additional tools to support and convey their ideas.

Here we’ve explained in-depth the most common types of Interior design hand sketching techniques.

Hand drawn floor plans

Complexity: 7 / 10
Effective: 5 / 10

hand-sketched-floor-plan

Floor plans, also known as (horizontal building sections) are drawings depicting the building or room layout as if looking through the ceiling with a horizontal cut approximately at half the wall height.

Floor plans are drawn to scale, which may vary according to project conditions.

Larger-scale plans are used to show the general layout without specific details, and smaller-scale interior floor plans are used for highly detailed presentations. 

Hand-drawn floor plans are not common today as it takes a long time and effort to produce, which may have to be amended after each client meeting.
NDA Uk has produced valuable insight into sketching the initial concept here.

CAD floor plans

Complexity: 7 / 10
Effective: 6 / 10

interior design presentation

CAD floor plans are the modern version of the sketched-by-hand plans, which present a much more refined process, quicker to amend details identified by clients.

In addition, CAD plans benefit from having to vary a variety of graphic annotations for each element and attribute. 

These orthographic drawings are abstractions of the idea with a specific goal – illustrating and delineating items are walls, windows, boundaries between spaces, and other new or old elements of the project. 

The most significant positive side of CAD plans is flexibility.

axonometric-interior-drawings

Interior Axonometric drawings

Complexity: 7 / 10
Effective: 7 / 10

A large percentage of interior clients have difficulty understanding everything if presented independently without supporting materials, which leads to designers producing early in the project additional support drawings as axonometric drawings

Axonometric drawings can be hand sketched or CAD models; either has its own pros and cons

interior-elevation-plan

Interior section drawings

Complexity: 5 / 10
Effective: 6 / 10

Section drawings are vertical planes slicing the volumes of the spaces that form a projected image of the elements of the interiors.

Their main goal is to identify and refine interior details around walls, doors, and window fixtures. It is important to note that there are multiple internal sections and elevations stages as a project progresses.

Interior model study

Complexity: 6.3 / 10
Effective: 8.3 / 10

interior model study

Interior model studies can be done in 3D software or traditional paper and styrofoam miniature. Primarily used by architects to explore the shape and principal components of buildings, interior designers have adopted the tool for the use of internal exploration. 
Interior studies are part of the concept design phase when the foundation of the concept is laid. 
This tool is also known as 3D floor plans in the real estate sector.

Traditional interior design board

Complexity: 3 / 10
Effective: 6 / 10

interior-design-board

Design boards (often material presentations) are always put together for the client to understand the overall color-material palette of the project. Meetings often are conducted in-house. This part of the project presentation is important as it covers the colors overall and often may have specific references to ready-to-buy furniture or lighting. 
Often such design boards are accompanied by floor plans, hand sketches, or sections.

Digital Interior design board

Complexity: 2 / 10
Effective: 5 / 10

digital-interior-mood-board

Digital design boards are a thing today since it’s much easier to compile and send to the client via e-mail for review. This virtual brother of the traditional design board is used mainly during the preliminary discussions and concept direction. Digital design presentations should be part of the process and work along the actual design board at the end.

Interior 3D drawing

Complexity: 6.2 / 10
Effective: 8 / 10

Interior-3D-drawings

SketchUp is easy to use and affordable modeling program used by more than 80 million people worldwide. Being the most straightforward and intuitive for building 3D models of interior spaces and not only.

SketchUp models can be exported into 3rd party rendering software since the software does not have an integrated photorealistic renderer.

Many Interior Designers use hand drawings and SketchUp models to help their clients envision the project. Hand-drawn projects often are used for preliminary client meetings for quick hatches and depiction of ideas, while SketchUp is used to refine everything in a highly-accurate Interior 3D drawing. 

Since SketchUp is only a modeling software, it does not have an integrated rendering module.

Often designers export rough models and overlay them with digital watercolors or another method of digital painting to make them more appealing and artistic.

Interior 3D rendering

Complexity: 9 / 10
Effective: 9 / 10

interior-3d-rendering

Think of Interior 3D renderings as the extension of the Interior 3D drawing tool, the cherry on top of the cake for your interior project.

Interior 3D renderings are the highly refined photoreal product of 3D drawings and models. 3D renderings are images with depicted natural light, colors, shapes, and textures of the interior space in all of its beauty. 

This is the most effective tool in a designer’s toolbox. Most savvy designers use 3D renderings combined with the other mechanisms explained above to have maximum impact on their presentation.
This article has the “Most common 3D rendering questions a designer asks”

George Nicola
George Nicola

Assembling an excellent interior design presentation requires not only great design ideas but tools as well that make the job smooth and efficient.

Feel free to check our Work for inspiration.

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.
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