Interior design is big business, and when you’re working with clients, they expect the best. That’s why mastering digital tools and software like AutoCAD for interior designers is essential if you want to make a name for yourself in the industry.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how computer-aided design (CAD) drawing solutions—AutoCAD 2017 and others—can transform your designs. We’ll also cover why you should consider taking AutoCAD classes for interior designers before you even accept your first job in the field and how you can get started straight away on your own projects by learning some basic AutoCAD steps.

Why Do Interior Designers Use CAD?

Before we jump into how to actually use AutoCAD, it’s helpful to have some understanding of what the software does and why it’s popular in the interior design industry.

AutoCAD is a drawing and drafting tool developed and sold by Autodesk that’s used by anyone who works with buildings—think architects, engineers, contractors, and interior designers.

The software allows you to create a mockup of any physical space in either a 2D or 3D model much quicker than if you drew them out by hand.

So what do interior designers use AutoCAD for? For most designers, AutoCAD will be used to create plans and mockups of room layouts for both commercial and residential buildings. Most will start with a 2D layout as they work with a client to design the overall placement of key pieces of furniture or fittings. 

One of the best features of software like AutoCAD 2010 for interior designers and space planning is the option to convert 2D floor plans to 3D with the RoomMaker function, making it easy to show clients exactly how their final room will look.

model of a buiilding
A look at a basic model of a building in AutoCAD.

What Programs Do Interior Designers Use? 

AutoCAD isn’t the only tool that interior designers use for their planning, but it’s certainly the industry standard. Wondering how much you can make doing AutoCAD for interior designers? That’ll vary based on the depth of your skills, but knowing how to build eye-catching room designs within the program will certainly help you to stand out to prospective and current clients.

There are a few other tools that design firms now use that you might also want to brush up on. SketchUp Pro and Autodesk Revit are great pieces of software that allow you to build 2D and 3D models like in AutoCAD. SketchUp also has the added bonus of virtual reality integration to give your clients a “real” walkthrough of their future space.

But if you’re serious about working in the industry, AutoCAD is where you should start. If you’re trying to find out what is the best way to learn AutoCAD for interior designers, you’ve come to the right place. Now that you have a better understanding of what the software can do, we’ll share a few steps from some of our top AutoCAD for interior designers courses here on Skillshare so that you can begin working on your own room designs today.

How to Use AutoCAD for Interior Design: 5 Steps

There are endless possibilities when you’re using AutoCAD for interior designers, and it can seem a little overwhelming when a blank project screen is in front of you. 

For now, we’re going to keep things simple and demonstrate how to create a dining table and chairs within the tool.

1. Start With Basic Dimensions

Wondering what do interior designers use AutoCAD for? The most common is for making design plans like this.

Using either the sizing from your client or a sample you’ve found online, make a note of the width and depth of the table you’ll be drawing. Using the “Line” tool in AutoCAD, draw out the correct dimensions in the project space. Do the same for your chairs.

2. Place Your Chairs Around the Table

Taking AutoCAD for interior designers courses will help you learn how to create mockups and design plans.

Use the “Line” tool again to evenly divide your table into sections, depending on the number of chairs you’ll be putting into the design. 

Drag across your chair to highlight that block and type “M” for the “Move” bar to appear. You can then place it anywhere around the table block. Repeat the process until all of your chairs are on one side of the table, where you can then type in “Mirror”. This will replicate the chairs, where you can then drag them to the opposite side of the table.

3. Add Side Elevation Drawings

Different views of your designs will help you to plan more effectively.

Creating a profile, or side, view of your table and chairs is also an important part of the design as you work through your AutoCAD classes for interior designers. 

Using your “Line” tool again, replicate the first steps from your birds-eye view drawing. Use the same dimensions as you did for your top-down table, but this time you’ll be drawing it from the side. 

Add an offset to both the top and sides to account for the table top and legs. Once you’re happy with your drawing, you’ll want to use the “Trim” tool to remove any extra lines that you no longer need in the plan.

4. Add Chair Elevations From a Sample

autocad making a chair
Sample images are a good way to simplify the steps in your design process.

Find an image that you want to model your chairs after and insert this into AutoCAD using the “File” > “Attach” toolbar. 

Scale the image to match your desired chair dimensions and then trace over the chair image with the “Line” tool to create a block. This will give you a 2D model of the chair sample from your reference picture to use in your plan. 

Using the “Ray” tool, draw lines from your top-down view up to your elevation so that you can place the chairs in the same positions around the table.

5. Add Color to Your Design

autocad table and chairs
Color brings your design to life, both for you and your client!

Highlight the object you want to add color to and select the “Hatch” option in the left toolbar. From here, you can select the color in the new toolbar that will open above your object. Click into the sections of the table or chair to add the color before finalizing your design. 

That’s a very basic AutoCAD tutorial, and there’s plenty more you can do—interior designers use it to plan out the aesthetic for entire houses. 

But, these steps will get you started so you can practice with the software, refine your skills, and boost your comfort level before moving into more complex projects. 

Level Up Your Interior Designs!

Autodesk AutoCAD Masterclass: The Ultimate Guide to AutoCAD

Written By

Holly Landis

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