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Why Renderings Are A Designer’s Secret Weapon


Unless you know a language like Javascript or C++, I’m willing to bet that strings of code look like gibberish to you. The same could be said for looking at an accountant’s spreadsheets, or… you guessed it… the construction documents, mood boards, and 2D drawings for your renovation. If it’s not your specialty, it’s difficult to see the big picture within the details. 

Fortunately, we can translate those details into a visual representation that is 100% clear, no imagination required. This is where 3D renderings come into play.  

What are 3D Renderings?


3D renderings are photorealistic images that help you visualize the design. Above is a great example from our Beach House project — the rendering is on the left, and the final space is on the right, shot by photographer David Duncan Livingston. They’re nearly identical! (Cool, right?)

So, why do we use them? 


1. To Help You Make Confident Design Decisions

Renovations usually require a significant change in the home — knocking down a wall, changing your kitchen layout, or wanting to create a feature with a captivating wall mural. The same goes with a new build. When you’re looking at an old space or your home’s foundation hasn’t even been poured, it’s difficult to make significant design decisions.

Renderings allow you to step into your room with hyper-realistic, to-scale images and accurately see how the proposed and existing design elements will go together. 

We take those technical construction documents, mood boards, and 2D drawings and translate them into an illustrated 3D image. Yes, renderings are an extra investment (they take time and advanced tech). But it gives you the ability to visually step into the space, giving you confidence that you’re investing wisely… you know, before Demo Day starts or that new flooring goes into the whole home. 

Smart, right?


Rendering (left) and completed project (right), from our San Francisco Style Project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston.

2. Visualize & Compare Multiple Options

Should your living room have a sectional or two sofas? Pendants or chandeliers? One kitchen island or two? You make hundreds of decisions during a renovation or new build project, and seeing your options in black and white 2D sketches just always doesn’t cut it. 

Changing your mind mid-reno is also time-consuming and expensive. So…for your most important decisions, it may be best to see your options side by side, in 3D with full color. For example, in our Modern San Francisco Project Preview, we provided two renderings via our Online Design Service so our clients could compare wall treatments:


In this case, our clients were easily able to visualize how their space would look and confidently make a decision. (Wondering which option they went with? Find out here.)

3. Get the Little Details Right

Renderings help you visualize every single detail, from cabinet hardware, lighting, and finishes to more significant design ideas, like a complete renovation. This is especially helpful during kitchen and bathroom projects where detailed decisions are plentiful. 

Renderings allow you to see the entire space – tricky cabinetry footprints, tile layouts and all.  


From our San Francisco Style Project. Rendering (left) and finished project (right). Photographer: David Duncan Livingston.

The only downside to renderings is that it can be hard to accurately depict colors and some textures. For example, lighting, shadows, and shifting sunlight will always be more nuanced in real life. In addition, colors don’t look exactly the same in real life as they do on a computer screen. 

The Verdict: Renderings are great for “Should I go green or blue?” But not, “Should I use Green #1 or slightly darker Green #2?” 

Should You Invest in Renderings?

Short answer: Yes! Although renderings are an added expense, they are well worth the clarity, big-picture thinking, and little-detail confidence that will make your project a success.

Think of it this way, that investment is actually saving time and money in the long run because you are confident you’ll love your choices looooong into the future. Not to mention that you got it right the first time around. 

Ready to take the next step? Contact us here and let’s discuss your project.




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