Urban Road

How CGI innovations are revolutionising interior design planning

Once upon a time, interior designers relied solely on hand sketches, cardboard models, and their vivid imaginations to breathe life into their ideas. While those tools are effective, the world of design has taken a major leap forward. Enter CGI, or Computer-Generated Imagery. The ability to create ultra-realistic computer images of designs which is revolutionising interior design planning.

If you’re about to embark on a project, why not read on to find out how CGI can help you save time and money, while achieving the exact design outcome you want. As we dive deeper, get ready to explore how CGI isn’t just about pixels and software but about expanding the horizons of what’s possible in interior design planning.

Related article: How to go from mood board to making selections for your reno or new build
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Moore Creative_Full Bathroom render_Beachy bathroom
Interior Designer Anna Moore uses CGI for her projects, like her recent coastal ensuite renovation

History and basics of CGI in interior design

Did you know that CGI made its debut way back in the 1960s? Standing for computer generate imagery, CGI initially made science fiction come alive on the silver screen. Fast forward a few decades and enterprising designers saw a potential helper in CGI beyond the realms of cinema. 

The interior design world quickly caught on, realising that this wasn’t just a fancy tool but a game-changer. Imagine having the power to create a lifelike 3D visualisation guideline of rooms, showcasing textures, colours, and even lighting effects down to the smallest detail! It meant no more second-guessing or hoping a fabric would look right in a particular light. 

As CGI became more sophisticated and user-friendly, it seamlessly embedded itself into the interior designer’s toolkit. From a cinematic tool to an invaluable asset in planning dream spaces, CGI is now central to interior design.

The design process enhanced

Imagine being able to play with design elements like they’re pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, placing them here, trying them there, and seeing the scene come alive in front of your eyes. That’s the magic CGI brings to the table in the design process.

Regarding idea generation, CGI is like a sandbox for creativity. No longer restricted by the tangible world, designers can experiment fearlessly, testing out bolder ideas, colour palettes, or unconventional layouts that would be costly or time-consuming to trial in reality. It’s like having a ‘reset’ button for design — don’t like something? Swap it out instantly!

Material simulation is just as important for designers. Gone are the days when we needed swatches for every fabric or paint sample. With CGI, any material, be it silk drapes or marble countertops, can be simulated to such a degree of realism that it’s almost indistinguishable from the real deal (just take a look at the kitchen image at the end of this post!). This not only saves costs but also time, making the decision-making process a breeze.

In addition, space planning is easier than ever with CGI. Traditional 2D sketches are great, but 3D models take it up several notches. They give an unparalleled perspective, allowing for optimal use of every inch, and ensuring that the final layout is both beautiful and functional.

Mim Design project facade interior design planning
Photograph or CGI? The team at Mim Design are masters of using CGI to bring their designs to life during interior design planning

Visualisation: From imagination to virtual reality

Words and even sketches can fall short of capturing the vividness of our imaginations. But thanks to CGI, designers can now transport us into those dreams, making them virtually tangible. Let’s dive into how CGI is pushing the boundaries of design visualisation.

Real-time adjustments

Ever watched a painter mix colours on a palette, searching for that perfect shade? With CGI, interior designers can mimic that process but with a twist. They can alter designs on the fly, tweak a wall colour, or reposition furniture, all while the client watches. It’s an interactive experience where feedback becomes immediate action, ensuring the client’s vision is truly realised.

Virtual reality walkthroughs

Remember those sci-fi movies where characters wear special glasses and enter another world? It’s not fiction anymore! With VR, clients can don a headset and ‘walk’ through their future living room or kitchen. They can feel the expanse of space, the placement of a lamp, even the cosiness of a nook, making adjustments long before any real construction begins.

Augmented reality integration

Blending the lines between the virtual and real world, AR lets users overlay proposed design and decor elements onto their existing space through a tablet or smartphone. Curious how that vintage coffee table looks in your living room? Just point, click, and see!

CGI is redefining visualisation, transforming vague ideas and wishful thinking into immersive, interactive experiences. It’s no longer just about what’s on paper; it’s about stepping into the future today.

Kitchen rendering in interior design planning
Ultra realistic CGI by Mim Design

Final implementation and accuracy

Once you’ve played around with ideas, walked through your virtual space, and even tried out your favorite wallpaper on your walls — all thanks to CGI — it’s time for the final stage of your project: the implementation.

Detailed blueprints

You see, CGI doesn’t just make pretty pictures; it produces architecturally accurate models. We’re talking millimeter-precise blueprints that eliminate any room for error. Contractors love this, as it takes the guesswork out of their jobs, ensuring they nail your vision exactly how you planned it.


Before, you’d have a paper trail of sketches, emails, and annotations. With CGI, everything’s housed in a digital workspace accessible to every stakeholder — designers, architects, contractors, and even you! The result? A smooth, collaborative process where everyone’s on the same page — literally.

Cost efficiency

Accuracy means fewer mistakes. Fewer mistakes means less waste, be it materials or time. By giving a pixel-perfect preview of the final result, CGI minimises those ‘oops’ moments, saving you headaches and hard-earned money.

As you can see, CGI is the future for making your dream space a reality, ensuring that what you see in the virtual realm translates flawlessly into bricks and mortar.

The environmental and sustainable impact

Believe it or not, CGI is also playing its part in making interior design more environmentally-friendly. Without the need for endless physical samples — think woods, fabrics, or tiles — CGI curbs unnecessary production and waste. And as mentioned earlier, it can reduce mistakes during construction as well… minimising the need to rip out newly installed materials or finishes that aren’t quite right.

Picture it as a digital library, a vast one, where every texture and hue is at a designer’s fingertips without cutting down a single tree or dyeing a single thread. Plus, with virtual consultations soaring in popularity, the carbon footprint from travel-related meetings gets a significant chop. It’s a win-win: embracing cutting-edge tech while protecting our beautiful planet.

Has this article inspired you to explore CGI for your next design project? Or have you recently used CGI in interior design planning? Let us know if this technology has helped you achieve your design goals or what you think of it below!

More design info and tips

Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


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