Software for Interior Designers

interior-design-software-3d-modeling-arch-render

Interior Design is almost something I’d consider a “classical” field of design. That is, it’s been around for as long as people have had dwelling and a sense to design. Modern software provides designers with unparalleled abilities to iterate on early ideas. The best 3d modeling software out there can help a designer quickly eliminate undesirable ideas.

3D Modeling Software & Interior Design

There is a lot of really high-quality 3D modeling software to assist designers in many numbers of ways. There are programs to design trees, clothes, houses, and even multi-million dollar commercial buildings. There is 3D software that allows teams to collaborate, clients to approve designs remotely and work to be stored in the cloud. With all these options, how is one to have any notion of the best 3D software to be used on their project? Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to help find out.

Are You Creating 3D Models or Just Arranging Them?

Many 3D design programs offer what I’ll call a “full set” of features. That means you can create 3D models, do UVW mapping (so annoying), and even create complex animations. On the other hand, there are programs out there that specialize in only doing one or two things, really well. Know what you’re goals are and that will help you better understand what fits the bill for best 3D design software on your project.

Are You Planning to Sell Your Project Assets?

This might sound like a silly question but it’s an important one. If you create 3D models for your projects that you need to sell (or just pass along to other end-users) you’ll want to ensure adequate file-export capabilities. Knowing how to sell 3D models can get pretty involved, so I won’t waste much time on it. Just because your little 3D model-maker can whip out some 3D furniture doesn’t mean it can save it in such a way that other software can open it.

Are you Rendering Anything?

Creating 3D assets like rooms, furniture, decorations, and even short animations is a great way to wow a client. Being able to drag around models on a screen to consider layout options is something that modern 3D software makes a breeze. 3D modeling tools come with a lot of features to help in generating different aspects of your design, but they don’t always come with a robust rendering engine. If you’re planning on rendering your images consider programs such as Blender or Cinema4D that have powerful rendering images built-in. Of course, you can always buy another program, such as VRay, to handle that for you!

How are Your Presenting to your Client?

In the world of 3D software, there are two major types of interactions: real-time and render-time. The first is one of the most exciting (and new) areas in the field of 3D design. It allows designers to adjust lighting, colors, and other scene elements and get real-time updates as to the final product. These programs require pretty powerful computers to run in many cases, so you might also have to consider an upgrade if that’s the route you take.

“Interior Design” Software

Beware any 3D software that is billed strictly as being for interior design. These programs are often poorly designs, have weak support, and are only useful in a handful of cases. The biggest selling point here is that some are designed specifically to work on tablets and other mobile devices. Spending even a minimal amount of time up-front learning a full 3D software package will eliminate the need for these. Most enterprise 3D programs can somehow integrate into mobile devices as well.

Start with Free Software Then Upgrade

If you’re new to 3D modeling or haven’t really settled on any single program yet, don’t be in a rush. Programs like Blender offer powerful free solutions where you can get your feet wet. Other programs, such as 3DS Max and Maya are now priced on monthly subscription models which make things easier to get started. Imagine dropping $3500 on a program you’d never used!

Any of these programs can be used to help create, manipulate, and showcase 3D models you create during the process of creating your interior design. Your clients won’t always be looking over your shoulder to consider what’s on your screen though, so keep in mind what type of deliverable you’ll need to produce. Overall, hunting down the best 3D modeling software is a matter of knowing what you need to get done and how you want to do it.

It Pays to Know Your Furniture Brands

Scandinavian Furniture Designs

Have you ever found a perfect piece of furniture but can’t find anything else to go with it? If this has happened to you then don’t worry, you aren’t alone! Knowing the best furniture brands out there can help you find a quick match to nearly anything.

There’s Furniture Brands and then there’s Furniture Brands

Everything has a brand, even if it’s a generic design. The difference between your average furniture brand and luxury furniture brands is immense. It’s not just a matter of style or cost either. Most respected furniture brands, some that have been around more than a century (yes, 100+ years!) offer more than one-off designs. These brands offer collections of furniture.

When you find a piece of furniture you love from these brands there are all kinds of other pieces to match. That means when you find the perfect table for your kitchen from Hooker Furniture, chances are they have a matching set of furniture for you living room, dining room, home office, and maybe even your patio. They go big.

You don’t always want a matching set of furniture for every room. Not only can it be predictable but it can get expensive, fast. These brands are great because they offer the same quality craftsmanship as well. While you might not want all your furniture to have the same finish you may want it all to have a similarly high quality design. TJ Maxx won’t give you that.

Furniture Brands to Know

We’re not going to dive too deep here, but it pays to be aware of a handful of the best furniture brands out there. Check out Home Refinery’s more in-depth guides on the best furniture brands if you’re interested in a full-list of brands. In knowing a few, one can usually begin to get an idea of what to look for among other brands. Even among these world-renowned brands you’ll find that prices vary quite a bit. Even the best furniture brands have different price points and qualities to cater to a wide range of budgets.

Lexington Furniture

Lexington furniture has been around for a really long time. They helped pioneer many of the styles that designers now consider timeless, classic, and luxury. Their quality is top-notch, pricing is expensive, but look is unparalleled. If you want to wow your house guests this furniture brand will do the trick.

Hooker Furniture

Hooker Furniture is another East Coast American brand that helped launch the American Furniture revolution. Their styles have etched out a place in history yet their modern lines continue to evolve with modern styles. They offer bedroom sets, home office sets, kitchen furniture and everything between. You will only find a handful of upholstered goods from Hooker Furniture. Their subsidiary brands Sam Moore and Bradington-Young fill in those gaps. One of the best furniture brands around for sure.

Bernhardt Furniture

Bernhardt is a family-owned company that’s been in the market for about as long as anyone. They’re renowned for their somewhat contemporary and modern designs though they’re hard to pin down so simply. In their catalog, you’ll find soft fabrics accenting Mediterranean and French-chic inspired designs as well as almost-brutalist modern designs. This furniture brand should be on every Interior Designer’s radar.

Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware is one of the single most influential modern furniture brands. They haven’t been around that long compared to other brands like Lexington or Hooker but they’ve carved out their place in the Furniture Market without doubt. Their styles shape the catalogs of nearly every other furniture brand in the world. Their catalog is characterized by minimalist designs featuring modern lines and incredible materials. You’ll have to stretch your check book to its limits but, if furniture is your thing, there’s little comparison to this brand.

Liberty Furniture

For those well-studied in furniture brands this one might come as a surprise. Liberty is a fairly new brand, only having been around thirty or so years. Recently, they’ve exploded in market share nearly doubling sales as a company. This has all been for a very good reason: they have some great designs and hit incredibly-affordable price points. Their products are found on sites like Wayfair and are excellent choices for those looking to furnish entire homes or entire rooms. This is one of my favorite furniture brands around and I continue to be impressed by them.

Design & Nutrition: Why Good Health Makes Good Design

health nutrition design

I wanted to take a tangent from normal discussions and talk about something near and dear to my heart: personal health. I’ve had my own struggles of self-doubt, difficulty focusing on projects, and being flat-out tired when I needed more energy. My designs have suffered; I’ve delivered sub-par results to clients, and I’ve known it.

There are strong arguments to be made that nutrition affects nearly every aspect of one’s daily experience. What we see, how we think, and even what we feel all have a strong root in nutrition and overall health. I know you’re hesitant to keep reading at this point but let me assure you I’m not going to recommend a juice fast!

Pillars of Nutrition

Let me start by saying I have zero medical background. I read a lot of studies, have experimented on myself continuously for decades, but have no formal training in the field of medicine or nutrition. In other words, don’t make any medical decisions based on what you read here!

With that in mind, I’ve developed some basic understandings of nutrition and health that help me be a better designer (and person). These are what I jokingly refer to as my “pillars” of health. With no further ado:

Pillar One: Food First, Supplements Second

Advertisers would have us all believe that the only thing that separates us from having our dream body is a $19.99 bottle of SuperFatBurner Pro. I believe that dietary supplements can be invaluable tools in helping to balance and optimize one’s state of health but shouldn’t be the primary focus. Eating well-balanced meals that provide rich profiles of essential amino acids, minerals, and digestive-supporting compounds like fatty acids and fiber is numero uno in my book. Don’t get me wrong, not all supplement brands are out to scam you. In fact, many of the best supplement brands out there focus on creating whole-food derived products!

Pillar Two: When in Doubt, Move Around

Humans didn’t evolve sitting at desks. In fact, we evolved running around, fighting, and looking for food. Our bodies are designed to do these things and sedentary lifestyles drive us crazy, on an evolutionary level. I mentioned that I read a lot of medical papers (a weird hobby, I know.) One of the ones that stick out in my memory most found that running a little lowered the risk of any and all heart disease. Genetic factors, diet, and previous medical history aside: running will help you live longer. Other studies describe that walking for as little as 15 minutes a day can help reduce the risk for all forms of illness as well.

Pillar Three: Sleep is Essential

We’ve all burned the midnight oil during crunchtime. These times push us to our limits and often require sacrificing hours in bed for hours at work. Sleep is the time of day where our bodies repair damages from the previous day, go through cycles of rejuvenation that don’t happen during the day, and prepare us for the next disaster. When you sacrifice sleep you sacrifice health. When I feel my focus dropping off, my concentration ebbing, or even my well of inspiration running dry, I can usually flush everything up by getting some extra sleep. The biggest mistake I used to make is thinking that sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday would make up for a week’s of missed sleep. NOT TRUE. Get quality sleep every night or your work will suffer.

Health is Balance

I’ve found that different aspects of my life often mirror one another. For example, if I’ve been eating a really imbalanced diet for a few days I notice my work shifts to really focus on specific heuristics of design. Maybe everything is red and orange, maybe I’m obsessed with cathedral ceilings, or maybe I just avoid using large windows. It’s always different but that’s kind of the same, right? The bottom line is that when one aspect of my life becomes unbalanced so do others. The single most-influential factor of such is my own health. When it becomes unbalanced everything else does.

Final Meditations

If you made it this far then I thank you for entertaining my crazy ideas. I’ve found that focusing on my health, personal life balance, and overall nutrition especially, all help make me a better designs. When my health improves so does the quality of my work. When I feel like crap, my work starts feeling (and looking) that way as well. I’m no doctor and can’t recommend which supplements to take. What I can say is this: feeling better becomes addictive. Once you get a little taste you’ll have no problem going all-in.

Revitalizing Your Home with Modern Furniture

Modern Furniture Platform Bed with Memory Foam Mattress

If you have a modern home, it is only proper to furnish it with modern furniture. There’s a broad range of kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom furniture available in a variety of contemporary designs to suit any style of contemporary home décor. You should remember that each piece of furniture you choose will play a supporting role in the overall vibe, style and feel that you intend to create.

Out With the Old, In With the New

Part of the magical effect that modern furniture has on a space is simply due to it being a fresh new look. Even if you got some old furniture designs that were new to you, you’d still get that benefit. Modern furniture on the other hand, has a particularly powerful way to help make any space to teem with an unlimited potential. If you are planning to revitalize your home with modern furniture, the following tips will be helpful:

Consider comfort and durability

The furniture that you choose should not only be built right, but it should also be build to withstand the test of time. You should go for a brand that is renowned for producing quality products. Not only should you consider the sturdiness of the furniture’s construction, but you should also inspect the upholstery and cushioning as well.

Wood, metal and sturdy plastics are the most durable options. Glass is also durable when handled with care, though it may not be ideal if you are bound to move from one house to another.  Be sure to try out furniture before buying by lying or sitting on it for a couple of minutes to be sure that it is comfortable.

Consider the existing décor

Wood and fabric colors are also a crucial aspect to ponder on when picking new furniture. Your choice should correspond with the existing décor. Don’t forget to consider the paint colors on the walls and ensure that the furniture you pick will match it.

Determine how much space you have available

It is also of great essence that you have dimensions of the available space at hand when shopping for new furniture. This will enable you to pick furniture that will fit through the door and the space you intend it to occupy. Foldable and expandable furniture such as tables and chairs can be ideal in situations where space is limited.

Versatility

Choosing furniture that can be used in multiple ways can also help greatly in cases where there’s limited space. Sofa beds and beds with under-storage are multifunctional options for those with small spaces. If you have young children, you can consider buying a baby’s changing table that can be later transformed into a study table a couple of years later. Consider the best IKEA furniture on the market today—it’s popularity is found largely in it’s ability to adapt to different circumstances.

Look into the ease of maintenance

To ensure that the modern furniture maintains its aesthetic appeal, it must be cleaned and maintained properly. It is, therefore, advisable that you go for furniture that is easy to clean, maintain and even move. Furniture made from a combination of wood and glass might call for different cleaning procedures, thus important for you to consider this aspect beforehand. If you have small children, buying furniture made of glass could mean lots of maintenance and repairs in the days to come.

Be careful with your choice of fabrics

Before you choose leather or a fine-textured material like chenille or silk for your upholstered furniture, you need to take wear and use into consideration. If you have young children and pets, your choice will be limited compared to a single pet with no pets. In case of young children and pets, you need to go for fabrics that are resistant to scratching and tearing.

Don’t Go Overboard

The bottom line is – choose what appeals to you. People have different tastes and preferences, and so do you. Even though your friends may have different perspectives of what modern furniture is, it’s best to choose the furniture that appeals to you the most. You will have to live with the choice you will make every single day. Remember that what’s seen today as contemporary furniture could be outdated tomorrow.

Bringing Your Home Together With Designer Furniture

Geometric Pillow Set on Mid Century Modern Couch

When the need for new furniture arises, most people check into furniture showrooms with the intentions of checking out the available options. Usually displayed are wise selections of ready-made options to choose from. While ready-made furniture has its advantages, there are some very unique benefits that you can get if you opt for designer furniture instead.

Benefits of Designer Furniture

Designer furniture is often little more than a hike in price. There exist (we kid you not) businesses that import cheap foreign furniture and simply make up fake designer names for it. Things like “the Marianette Sinclaire” collection and other haute-sounding names. The only real reason for this is to justify the price hikes that accompany them.

One of the most notorious markets for this is mattresses which have been way overpriced for years. More recently however there’s been a surge of more legitimately priced options available to buyers. That’s beside the point though—the point of our focus needs to be on the uniformity of design.

This perspective focuses on collections (from real designers or fake ones) that have many different pieces all with a similar look. Maybe it’s the same finish, the same fabrics, or the same unique contouring. Regardless, a uniformed design approach can help make a random looking room feel like a holistic masterpiece. Below are some of the most important considerations to make when spending the extra money on designer products.

It’s tailored to your needs

With designer furniture, you can always have your furniture exactly the way you like it. You have the liberty to decide the kind of details you want on your furniture, as well as the dimensions you want for your furniture.

It is quite disappointing buying a remarkable piece of furniture, only bring it home and realize that it doesn’t fit in the space you intended it to occupy.

This is not usually the case with design furniture, as the designers usually have the buyer’s dimensions in mind. In addition to getting just the right size, you can also get the exact color or texture you want to match your other interior décor.

It’s of superior quality

The problem with ready-made furniture is that you cannot vouch for the materials used. Knowing what has been stuffed into an already made sofa can be a bit hard, and you may end up with a sofa full of chicken feathers, or even hair.

This isn’t the case with designer furniture, as you can get the chance to supervise the creation of your furniture from scratch. You can also decide how comfortable you want your sofa to be by opting to have more padding or richer fabric. Your presence during the entire process will ensure that the final product is of high quality.

Offers a distinct decoration solution

Majority of designer or custom-made units are quite unique, making them perfect for creating an extraordinary atmosphere. If you would like your home to stand out from your relatives’ or friends’, this is the kind of furniture you should consider.

You don’t need lots of pieces to make a statement as just one piece of designer furniture per room is enough to make your interior stand out. Having the designer create an atypical bed for your bedroom, several novelty chairs for your kitchen and a stylish coffee table for your living room is enough to give your home a distinctive and memorable look.

Encourages trendy choices

You certainly don’t want outdated pieces occupying your space. What you need is the kind of furniture you will be proud to own for many years to come. By opting for designer furniture, you will be able to have your pieces created in the trendiest styles, designs, and colors.

You should also remember that the kind of furniture you have will give first impressions to your guests, thus advisable that you have the best. Having your furniture custom made enables you to have pieces that are a reflection of your personality and character.

Overall Impact

While there are many benefits associated with designer furniture, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. The biggest disadvantage has to be the hefty price that comes attached to these kinds of pieces. This is especially when there are many intricate details that require extra attention.

If you are on a tight budget, it would be best to pay attention to both the pluses and minuses associated with purchasing these stylish pieces. This will make it easier for you to determine whether the idea of bringing your home to together with designer furniture is worth it. Nevertheless, a high price tag may not an issue to those who have enough dough to spend.

Home Decorating Ideas for More Vibrant Interior Spaces

Mid Century Home Office

Decorating is an art that can be appreciated by all but is often understood by only a few. Interior decorators would have us all believe that professional services are the only way to make a house into a home. With some straight forward decorating ideas you’ll be able to do most of the heavy lifting yourself!

Must Know Rules for Decorating a Room

Unless you are an interior designer, you can’t confidently say that you are well versed in utilizing decorating tricks to convert an empty space into a unique and inspiring room. Whether you are thinking of making a few but high-impact alterations to your existing home, or are starting a renovation from scratch, you need some expert-approved tips to get you started. Here are the must know rules for decorating a room:

Consider Adding Different Textures

Using just one texture will make your room seem lacking. It’s best to mix different textures through accents such as throws, rugs and accent cushions, etc. You can also mix wood with metal or lacquered furniture. Adding natural woven fabrics and rattan to the room will also augment your interior décor.

Have Multiple Lighting Sources

Lighting helps to elevate the mood and ambience of a room. If your room has only one source of lighting, i.e. a single overhead pendant, the room can feel 2-dimensional. Interior designers advise that it’s best to have light coming from different sources, not just above your head. You can always find other places where you can put an additional floor lamp or a vacant corner where you can place a small table lamp.

Incorporate Different Accessories

One of the ways of making a bold statement is through accessories. If you have some classic accessories in the room, take the risk of updating them and turn them into current, timeless elements. Consider setting up statement vases in strategic points or quirky bowls on the tables, or other accessories that you feel will enhance the aesthetic appeal of the room.

Measure the Space

Adding new, stylish furniture can also enhance the appearance of a room. In case you have decided to incorporate new furniture into your décor, it’s best that you measure the available space first. This will enable you to choose the right-sized furniture to occupy that space. You should also measure the furniture before buying to ensure that it will fit in the available space.

Consider Functionality of Decorating Items

While searching for decorating items that will make the room look beautiful, don’t forgo function. Clutter isn’t what you want. It’s best to choose furniture or items that aren’t just good for the eye, but also good for multiple uses. This is most especially in small-sized spaces. Every square-inch of space should be utilized in creative ways.

Invest in Pieces that Resonate your Sense of Style

Don’t buy stuff just because you see other people buy them – invest in pieces that you truly love. Before buying a decorative item, determine whether it actually resonates with your sense of style. If you love a piece, it should have a place in your room, regardless of whether it’s trendy or not.

Be Bold with Colors

If you want to give your room the wow factor, you need to incorporate colors that correlate. Experts say that when in doubt, you should go for darker shades. It is also advised that a room’s natural atmosphere should be enhanced if the aesthetic appeal is to be magnified.

Decorate with Live Plants

There are many advantages associated with decorating with live plants. They not only make a space look naturally beautiful, but they also keep the air fresh as they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. There are also some plants that produce scent that repel bugs.

Parting Advice

The bottom line is, go for what you love, not what other people like or what the latest design trend is telling you. Decorating your living room will not only be pretty for the guests to see, but sitting in a good room will also be good for your soul and well-being.

Turning Your Kitchen into A Dream Kitchen

Modern Scandinavian Kitchen

The kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of every home, and making it as beautiful as possible is every homeowner’s duty. With new appliances and accessories for interior design being introduced to the market every now and then, the form and function of the kitchen are bound to evolve eventually.

Simple Steps For Biggest Impact

If you would like to add a touch of style to your kitchen, you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive additions can turn your kitchen into a dream kitchen. Always remember to seek out some inspiring kitchen design ideas before starting out. Knowing the possibilities can help save you some time and money in the long run. The following are some helpful tips on how to modernize a kitchen and make it amazingly attractive:

Change cabinetry hardware

This is one of the quickest and easiest updates you can make to give your kitchen an unbeatable aesthetic appeal. This involves getting new pulls and handles to substitute worn out or broken ones. There are different colorful options to choose from, making it easy for you to choose those that compliment the other components of your cabinets and the kitchen at large.

Give the cabinets a fresh coat of paint

Putting new pulls and handles over rough, dull surfaces may not look good. If you can’t afford to buy new cabinets, painting the old ones with a fresh pain can make them look as good as new. You can choose a different paint for the countertop, upper cabinets and lower cabinets. Bright colors such as white, green, yellow, pink and orange are brilliant colors that can transform any kitchen into a beautiful cooking space.

Swap wooden cabinet doors with glass-paneled ones

Wooden cabinets and shelves are not display-worthy, and ditching them can be a brilliant way upgrading your kitchen. You need to create the effect of open shelving, and using frosted glass as a replacement for wooden cabinet doors will help with that. Having glass-paneled doors will enable you to display your beautiful bowls and dishes to add more beauty to the kitchen. Sometimes finding the best kitchen cabinet brands is as easy as just asking!

Add a colorful pendant light

Interior designers always insist how crucial lighting is to interior décor. If you haven’t changed the light fixture in the kitchen for a long time, it is a high time that you add a colorful pendant light. Doing so will not only ensure that your kitchen is amply illuminated, but it will also transform the entire space.

Position small appliances strategically

You don’t have to put small appliances away after use. If you have a cherry red mixer, cobalt toaster or stainless steel mincer, you can think of them as decorative accessories or jewelry for your functional kitchen. If you can afford it, consider buying new appliances and cookware and display it on the shelves.

Invest in a high-end fridge

The fridge is the center of attraction in any kitchen, thus crucial for you to have a stylish one. Depending on the size of your kitchen, you can choose a beautiful fridge that will complement other components of your kitchen.

Audit the Quality of Other Appliances

Having a quality refrigerator is a great step at working towards your dream kitchen but you can easily take it further. Rather than upgrading the extra $1200 for a touch screen and smart stock notices (what?) take some of that money and get some other kitchen appliances that will help make life easier for everyone!

Vary Textures

Just like the living room, the kitchen room is also better off with a little touch of sophistication. You can achieve this by mixing and matching multiple materials and textures. Your choice of blinds, curtains and shades should reflect a more sophisticated style, thus advisable that you pay attention to their textures when buying new ones.

Don’t Stress About It!

Those are some of the kitchen updates that you can make to modernize your kitchen and make it more beautiful. If you are dealing with an outdated kitchen, you don’t necessarily have to shell out big bucks to bring it to the 21st century. Just a few changes that are done right could make a huge difference and give your kitchen that wow factor.