Interior design has evolved greatly over the past few decades thanks to advancements in technology. From 3D rendering software to virtual reality, technology is shaping the way interiors are visualised, planned, and created. Here’s a look at some of the key ways technology is impacting modern interior design for both students and professionals.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software

One of the biggest technological advancements for interior designers has been CAD software. Programs like AutoCAD, SketchUp, Chief Architect, and Vectorworks allow designers to create detailed 2D and 3D plans, drawings, diagrams, and renderings for their projects. This gives them the ability to visualise spaces accurately, and experiment with different layouts, colours, lighting, and furnishings before anything is physically built or installed. 

CAD software improves efficiency and accuracy, and helps communicate design concepts more clearly to clients. Interior designers use it for drafting, modelling, documenting, and presenting their designs. By creating digital mock-ups of interiors, mistakes can be rectified easily without incurring major costs. Many designers rely heavily on CAD programs today.

3D Rendering and Visualisation

3D rendering and visualisation tools take interior design to the next level by creating ultra-realistic imagery of proposed designs. Programs like these let designers apply materials, lighting, and textures to their CAD models to generate photorealistic renders and animations. This allows clients to immerse themselves completely in the design vision before it comes to life.

Staging tools also integrate with CAD programs and use real-world furniture, lighting, and accessory libraries to stage interior settings virtually. Designers can use these tools to impress clients with 3D walkthroughs and VR experiences of their designs. Leading design firms are using such advanced visualisation technologies extensively.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) 

VR and AR are revolutionising the interior design process. VR headsets allow clients to walk through and interact with 3D staged renderings of proposed designs to gain a true sense of the space, scale, and features. Design changes can be made in real-time in response to client feedback. Firms Interiors use VR technology to win bids and align client expectations.

Using AR apps, interior settings can be visualised within existing real-world spaces by overlaying digital images using smartphones or tablets. This gives clients a clearer idea of how the designs would fit into their actual building surroundings. AR also helps during construction to resolve on-site issues by superimposing design plans digitally.

Interior Design Apps

Mobile apps aimed at interior design professionals and consumers have proliferated in recent years. The best interior design apps allow users to create floor plans, design layouts, select finishes and décor, and visualise designs in 3D. Users can browse furniture and product catalogues, create inspiration boards, estimate costs, and collaborate with clients and contractors conveniently through such apps. 

Interior design apps make the entire design process from conceptualisation to actualisation smoother and more efficient. Their popularity highlights the increasing role of mobile technology in the design world.

Digital Fabrication

Digital fabrication refers to using digital technology like CNC machines, laser cutters, and 3D printers to produce furniture, lighting, wall panels, decor pieces, and architectural elements. Designers are moving beyond foam and cardboard scale models to create highly accurate 3D printed models for design evaluation. These can be easily modified as the design evolves.

The manufacturing process is faster, more flexible, and cost-effective with such digitally-controlled tools. Many design firms use digital fabrication extensively to deliver bespoke designs through precision craftsmanship and limited material wastage.

Smart Home Technology Integration 

Smart home technology integration is an increasing priority for modern interior design. Home automation systems, intelligent lighting controls, security systems, AV, and entertainment systems have to be factored into designs. Interior designers need expertise in smart products, networking protocols, accessing dashboards, and apps to control technologies to seamlessly embed them into their designs and enhance user experience.

The Pace of Technological Change

With technology evolving rapidly, interior designers must continuously upskill themselves on new tools and innovations to stay competitive. Emerging technologies like machine learning and generative design open up radical new possibilities but also bring fresh challenges. Design firms need to embrace change, disrupt old ways of working, and find the right balance between high-tech and high-touch.

Focus on Human-Centric Design

While technology provides advanced functionality, the focus must remain on designing human-centric living spaces. People’s emotional and psychological needs should drive design thinking, not just the capabilities of new tech tools. Designers have a responsibility to use technology thoughtfully and ensure it supports comfort, health, accessibility, inclusivity, sustainability, and a sense of meaning in interior spaces.

Technology has had a transformational effect on interior design practice. Designers are able to deliver highly visual, bespoke designs in shorter timeframes thanks to 3D software, advanced rendering tools, VR/AR capability, digital fabrication methods, and smart home tech integration. Clients can experience designs in immersive detail, speed up approval cycles, and gain more value. Technology looks set to shape the continued evolution of design for smarter, more efficient, and personalised living spaces in the future. However, designers must stay focused on meeting fundamental human needs as they navigate the endless possibilities and challenges of technological change.

Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.