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10 Common Design Mistakes in Architectural Rendering

Architectural visualization is a complex process that requires a lot of attention to detail. As with any elaborate project, this can leave lots of room for errors — design mistakes that can affect the appeal of your render. Over time and across models, it has been noted that some design errors appear more frequently than others. 

Being familiar with these design mistakes can help you avoid them in your renders, helping you produce perfect renders that easily win the hearts of clients.

Most Common Design Mistakes in Virtual Rendering

Designers encounter numerous mistakes daily. Here are the most common ones: 

1. Adding Too Many Elements to Your Design

We immediately get a bad feeling when we enter a room with no negative space. It appears chaotic somehow which makes us want to remove ourselves from the premises as fast as our feet can carry us. The same thing happens to rendered visuals. 

As a result, you should take a “show, don’t tell” approach to your design. And no, that doesn’t translate to adding one too many elements to your design. 

Ideally, it’s best if you focus on a classic style with minimalist lines. That means striking the perfect balance between negative and positive space. This will allow clients to focus on the critical elements in the room which helps them appreciate a thoughtful design that excels in functionality and aesthetics. 

2. Too Much Color

The importance of color cannot be overstated. 

It adds vibrance to any design and supports lifelike renders. However, adding too much of it in textures and other aspects of your design can make your render look unrealistic which can tarnish the design’s integrity and aesthetics.

How does it affect your render?

Let’s see.

Colors are used to highlight the contrast between positive and negative space which can help you establish certain elements and set the tone for your general design. When you add too many colors or color contrasts, your renders can look impractical and call attention to the wrong aspects.

3. Applying Bad Lighting

In the real world, we have the sun and manmade sources of light. When it comes to rendering, we mimic the same effect through lighting to help people imagine and appreciate different living spaces.

Lighting is used to highlight the focus of your render in a realistic manner while casting shadows on nearby objects for more depth and texture.

Here is where it gets tricky. 

If you use too little lighting, it could make your render look dingy and drab. On the other hand, if you use too much lighting, your render could be too bright, making it difficult to appreciate the smaller details you painstakingly incorporated. 

Figuring out the right number and amount of lighting in renders can be tricky but there are ways to avoid bad lighting. For example, you can optimize your CRI (color rendering index) materials and models for lighting, play around with different types of lighting, and soften the light with natural shades. 

You can also achieve a more harmonious look by using light and reflections that complement each other.  

4. Having Disharmony in Dimensions

Dimensions make design renders look credible and rational. Proportions play a big part in how your client perceives the model. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to scales so you will need to test multiple dimensions to see how well furniture and other pieces fit inside a room. 

A lack of attention to proper sizing can damage your render and professional credibility. 

Any inconsistency between the scale of furniture pieces in your design and their actual dimensions can make your client feel cheated. To avoid such a situation, refer to 3D models and study the dimensions and room size to understand how your model translates in real life before rendering furniture. 

Nailing this technique can take time but if you do your research and assess the visual impact of furniture and other statement pieces, it can add to your render’s realism and make a living space look more inviting.

5. Not Considering the Focal Point of Your Design

The focal point of your design defines your render. It forces the viewer to focus on the main object of your design — and the positive space inside of it. 

When you add objects of attention to this positive space and create a balance around it — without cramming it with too many elements, it makes your render look polished and professional. It draws the eye towards this area so you should concentrate on adding the right types and number of elements to make it extra appealing.

6. Having Perspective Issues

We use stills to create quick, digestible renders, but how they resonate with the clients is defined by perspectives. Even the most fantastic property with state-of-the-art features can appear unappealing when rendered with improper perspectives. It can lead to lackluster viewpoints by gutting the depth of field and spatial relations between the objects in the room, among other inconsistencies.  

To avoid perspective issues, select the right camera angles for your design.

If you’re presenting your design in a 3D environment, pay attention to scaling and sizing. Center-point your design to add interest to your renders. Mastering the camera settings and angles will take time but it’s a necessary evil as it helps you produce intensely dramatic shots that can win over any client.   

7. Not Paying Enough Attention to Texture

Texture plays a vital role in how we feel about a particular object. 

You need to translate this aspect into your renders. The quality of materials and textures you use impacts the end result and dictates your ability to achieve a photorealistic render. 

While you may want to produce textures that are picture-perfect, we advise against it because nothing is perfect in reality.

So, go ahead and add dents and smudges to make your renders more engaging and life-like. 

This attention to detail comes at the cost of long hours and extra rendering time — which may not be doable for renderers facing a time crunch and impending deadlines.

8. Recycling Models

As an artist, you can access an extensive library of 3D models. These models are available for inspiration and can be used as building blocks for fresh, new elements in your design.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happens most of the time.

Some rendering artists recycle these models or use a combination of previously developed design elements to create their renders. However, this can make renders appear repetitive and subpar. Hence, you should only use them to create drafts which you can then modify with different elements to maintain the originality of your render.

9. Using Full Sci-Fi Projects

Architectural visualization is very forgiving. You can add almost any element and create a complex, intricate model that showcases your capabilities and imagination. However, creatives may find themselves getting carried away from time to time. They may reach a point where renders lose their realism due to too many unfamiliar objects and touches. 

Be creative but remember to strike a balance between what clients and other stakeholders will find reasonable and going “full sci-fi.” Keep in mind that renders should be environments that fit the limits of reality and know when and where you can push your boundaries.

Steer clear of too many avant-garde elements as they can make the project appear unreal and fabricated. This means that clients will have trouble relating to it which can make them hesitant to invest in your designs. 

10. Using Poor Reflection Renders

Reflection in rendering is an art. While they’re commonplace in the real world, rendering them and making them look believable can take a lot of time and effort. Reflections add realism and depth which is why we strive to incorporate reflection planes, gloss, tint, etc. in any quality render. 

If the details, textures, shapes, and colors are off by even a smidge, it can ruin the illusion and make people focus on your mistake instead of the space.  


Rendering is a visual innovation. It’s a fusion of art and technology. As such, it requires several skill sets which can be difficult to master and entails learning from many mistakes. To be a successful renderer, you need to be creative and have drawing skills but you also need to learn how to operate rendering software. 

These ten common design mistakes illustrate that translating sketches into life-like virtual environments is no small feat. If you need professional renders, it pays to seek the services of experts like Plus Render, a high-end architectural visualization firm that employs international rendering specialists.

Design mistakes like these can ruin the realistic appeal of interior design spaces. The creative team at PlusRender can help you eliminate these roadblocks with professional-quality, polished, and beautiful renders. We can provide video renders, image renders, and 3D virtual tours that are stunningly lifelike and free of mistakes.

Visit our website or book a call to find out what we can do for you.

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