Why Beginners Must Use SketchUp for Interior Design

SketchUp is 3D design software that makes 3D modeling and rendering a breeze. Architects, construction managers, and engineers use it to visualize ideas, but interior designers might benefit most from its features.

This user-friendly tool can help you bring any idea to life, impressing your clients with intricate details and breathtaking photorealistic images. You can help them make an informed decision, compelling them to give the green light and let you design their dream home or inspiring office.

Here are the top reasons SketchUp is your go-to software if you’re dipping your toes into interior design waters.

It’s perfect for beginners.

SketchUp is among the most intuitive 3D design tools. It has been around for over two decades and has remained as user-friendly as ever. It doesn’t have a steep learning curve like Revit or Autodesk 3ds Max, making it ideal for interior design newbies.

It doesn’t have many technical commands, making it perfect for less tech-savvy users. All the features are straightforward, from drawing and adding custom details to creating 3D models and using styles to render surfaces.

Its proprietary Push/Pull tool makes creating 3D objects a walk in the park, allowing you to push and pull shapes into 3D and cut 3D shapes out of your models. That’s only the tip of the iceberg, but it defines SketchUp and mirrors the intuitive nature of all its functionalities.

Photorealistic rendering

SketchUp isn’t a rendering tool but integrates with multiple plugins and rendering engines for creating photorealistic images and animations.

You can integrate it with V-Ray, Maxwell, Enscape, LumenRT, OctaneRender, Lumion LiveSync, and many other third-party tools and plugins to create captivating visualizations. Leveraging them will streamline your 3D interior design, helping you track real-time changes to 3D models and produce outstanding results.

The platform has various styles for rendering surfaces, but you can also upload your hand strokes to create drawings identical to your hand-drawn sketches. They’ll make the rendering process more seamless.

SketchUp plugins will prepare you for advanced rendering tools, shortening your learning curve and helping you master every software you choose next without a hitch.

Easy to create 3D models

SketchUp features an extensive library of pre-built 3D models you can download for free. Its 3D Warehouse offers over four million user-generated and manufacturer models you can place anywhere to breathe life into your projects and add context to your designs.

You can add any object to your 3D interior designs and customize all details, including layers, materials, components, styles, shadows, and scenes.

Besides furniture, you can adorn the spaces with decorations, entertainment systems, accessories, and even board games. You can also include people to add more context, create a friendly atmosphere, and make rooms more inviting.

The best part? You can import your 3D data to Google Earth to see how your SketchUp model looks in its actual surroundings. You may not be an exterior designer, but this feature is bound to impress every client.

Take the 3D render above, for example. You can showcase your interior design’s 3D visualization to a client and zoom out to present the exterior in its actual location.

SketchUp can help you animate scenes and present rooms and the entire building from different angles. You can even create an immersive 3D animation your clients can view in AR and VR.

SketchUp can replace other CAD software.

We can’t say SketchUp can replace advanced CAD software for engineering drawings and other complex designs, but it’s perfect for architectural and interior design illustrations. It has leveled up regarding those layouts, making it an excellent option for top-notch visualizations.

It even offers companion software, LayOut (available only with SketchUp Pro), to eliminate the need for other CAD tools. It can help you create complex designs with intricate details and bring floor plans, lighting, elevations, and other elements together. You can create presentations, draw annotations, play animations, and convert your model into an orthographic view.

Many interior designers swear by SketchUp and have never used other CAD tools. That hasn’t stopped them from creating fantastic 3D models and photorealistic renders.

It’s an excellent foundation for interior designers.

SketchUp is a fantastic starting point for interior designers. Besides being user-friendly, it helps you learn 3D modeling from the ground up to prepare you for complex designs.

It’s a crucial foundation for every newbie, covering the essentials before helping you create floor plans, add 3D models of furniture and contextual elements, and showcase your designs with animations and 360° panoramas.

Once you get the hang of SketchUp, mastering every advanced 3D design, modeling, and rendering software will be a piece of cake.

Competitive pricing

SketchUp is ideal if you don’t want to splurge on 3D modeling software before getting the hang of 3D interior design. It has a free, web-based version with 10 GB of cloud storage and three paid options that are more affordable than most tools in its category.

You can choose from:

  • SketchUp Go – design and collaborate on the go, enjoying unlimited cloud storage, access to 3D Warehouse, and an AR mobile viewer for $119 a year;
  • SketchUp Pro – access plugins for professional design, 2D design documentation, the software’s native XR (Experience Reality) headset viewing, and valuable insights for seamless research (besides the Go plan’s features) for $299 a year;
  • SketchUp Studio – access Go and Pro features, create interactive, real-time visualizations, import 3D models, export models to LayOut, and produce 3D renders and animations for $699 a year.

Remember that the free version includes minimal interoperability and standard drawing tools, styles, materials, groups, components, and layouts. Paid options offer advanced 3D modeling with custom settings, better cross-functional efficiency, and multiple professional file formats.


SketchUp is an excellent jumping board for interior design beginners, but many professionals also use it. It’s flexible, versatile, intuitive, and perfect for learning the ins and outs of 3D modeling and rendering.

It will save you time and make your transition to a pro fast and smooth, upgrading your skills in record time and helping you create jaw-dropping 3D visualizations.

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