Help on interior design

My dream is to be able to look at my own renders without knowing they’re mine.
That would be useful…
Well, so, let’s do this.

I’ve started doing this apartment a while ago by myself, without copying a photo. The problem is I’m still stuck on the living room because of the interior design. I’m not liking it, the image is not interesting. I feel like the image is failing on making the viewer wanting to be on that room.
So, any help on the design is greatly appreciated. Critics on technical aspects of the render itself are useful too, but not really needed right now. If you want to critique something more technical tho, know that I’ve already spotted some mistakes:

  • The bump on the painting is too strong;
  • The reflection on the door’s metal is too sharp;
  • The flower’s red color is too saturated;
  • The carpet Hair needs some sculpting (ParticleEdit);
  • The sharp reflection on the lamp in the second render is too diffuse, I mean, the diffuse component is too strong;
  • The bump on the metallic handle in the first render is too strong (and it’s already fixed in the second render).

Also, the fabric on the sofa needs something to hold it to the wood.

I didn’t fix those things yet and didn’t start working on the other spaces of the ap exactly because of the design, which is still too… ‘meh’

Any constructive tip is immensely appreciated.

Note: The render with the colored carpet is the more recent. I did those few changes, but I’m still not convinced. I’m thinking about going with a really minimalist design, changing all the materials to more light colors, but I’m not sure if I should do that :S

Let’s face it, andre, empty living spaces are inherently ‘meh’. That’s why game designers surround their characters with post-apocolypse grunge. Makes it more visually interesting. If you look at architecture magazines, you’ll see places that play with basic design, have pools in the living room or lofts overlooking fire pits or some other outrageous (and probably unlivable) things built in. Ordinary people go home to relax, not to be excited by their furniture. Typically, living rooms have conversational seating centered around a low table, an entertainment (video/stereo) set up and maybe a bookshelf or cabinet. Some display artwork on the floor or walls. The ‘interior design’ aspects cover color and texture choices.

Real estate agents bake an onion in empty houses when they show them, to make them seem more homey. How are you going to do that in a render?

If I were you I’d go for dramatic camera angles and lighting.

I think a little bevel in the room walls would make the scene a little more believable (instead of 90º angle).
Another thing i noticed in the 2 image is that you have a green plant a red flower and a blue painting in the wall, all the rest of the room is in “grey scale”, the 3 colors bump too much and IMO, i dont think they look that good.

But good job so far in the modeling/shaders, you still need to improve composition.

Thanks for the comments guys.

@Orinoco: Well, I was first thinking about making this a ‘loft-like’ apartment (not really a loft, but still really open) so that independently of which angle I chose to render, there would be always a lot of things in the image (more than one room). I have the impression that those are kinda easier to make, because as I said, independently of which angle you render, there’ll be always a lot of colors and geometry to show. You have a lot of options. But still, there are some people that manage to make interesting images of kinda small rooms with the camera facing many white walls. Usually those are crowded with stuff (like plants, lamps, painting, books): minimalist designs generally are used on open big rooms. Maybe that is one of my mistakes: there’s not enough things (useful or futile) for a room as big as mine. I’ve looked in a lot of references images these days, and there is one that always come back to my mind: Imitating this render wouldn’t be too hard I think. The challenge is: create a room by myself, from scratch, and make a render of it as interesting as this one (or any other beautiful interior shot out there). There’s a lot to learn yet, certainly, but I’ll make my best to learn them.

@kaltyiontrish: I thought about doing that a while ago, but I forgot completely. I’ll certainly do it. Thanks for the heads up. About the colors, I know they’re not good. Those renders show only 2 of the many color combinations I’ve tried. Obviously I didn’t like them, I’m still trying to learn exactly how can I make an arch render interesting by playing with its colors.
About the composition, can you be more specific please? Not sure if you’re talking about FX or image composition in general (like colors, angles and stuff), or both :stuck_out_tongue:

perhaps the space would be more exciting if we were left wondering what sort of person lives there? a little bit of mess is interesting.

I think you’ve created some nice furniture and are off to a good start with the other furnishings, but you’re right – I don’t feel like this is a particularly interesting place. It feels stagnant.

Here are my ideas about the scene. Feel free to consider or disregard them as you like. :slight_smile:

The first thing I notice is that the lighting is cold and therefore somewhat sterile and dull. Your window is the tallest, largest shape in the room yet the view through it isn’t visible; it draws focus away from the furnishings but doesn’t provide anything interesting in their place. The furniture doesn’t demand attention because everything with visual weight is the same height and nothing escapes its own footprint, so nothing really moves your eye into another part of the room, horizontally or vertically.

Your furnishings all match as if this were a hotel room. They are all in black and white (grey because of the light), and everything is identically proportioned. If all the furniture looks the same at first glance, why bother looking closely at the chair versus the sofa versus the side table?

Your only pops of color are a timid tree in the corner and a cylindrical vase with tiny flowers. They don’t venture or reach out from their own compressed profiles, so they don’t move the eye into a different part of the scene. Your strongest, most contrasting accessory is the triptych, but that is visually conflated with the couch because 1) it’s the same size as the sofa and side table unit and 2) it’s stacked right on top of it.

Some things to try:

Add a tinge of warmth to your light and the mood changes immediately. I added a warming filter to your image in Photoshop and brightened the lights a bit and I think it helped.

Your tree or flowers could point to other objects in the room. Let some accessories “invade” another object’s space, like having the tree branch out over the curtains to point across the room. Try turning your flowers into a sprig that cascades the way an orchid or quince clipping would.

This scene makes it look like the resident bought all of their furniture at once. When people buy matching pieces, they usually have other pieces that aren’t from the same suite. Maybe you could try contrasting your modern furniture with a traditional piece like a chair or lamp.

In many good designs, things won’t match but rather “go” together. Disparate shapes can be unified by one color scheme, or disparate colors can be unified by one shape. Disparate colors can also be unified by one shade, tint, or tone.

Look at your reference image and list its strengths. There are strong visual lines that point into the dining area, but the eye moves back out into the seating area because it is more brightly lit. I see warm lighting, two defined spaces/vignettes, disparately colored furnishings unified by mid-century and modern shapes, and signs of an occupant’s life and interests (books, art, television).

Thanks for the comments again guys.
@ninehunred: I’ll try doing that, especially in other spaces of the apartment
@Tyto alba: I’m doing some changes to scenes based in your critiques, which I found very honest (and useful :smiley: ).
I’m kinda busy these days, but I’ll try to update the thread asap (with a better render, I hope :stuck_out_tongue: )