5 Practical Sketching Tips for Interior Design Newbies
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Use a Grid for Balance and Proportion
  2. Experiment with Different Sketching Techniques
  3. Incorporate Color and Texture
  4. Learn to Capture Light and Shadow
  5. Practice with Real-Life Settings

If you're stepping into the vibrant world of interior design, one of the first skills you'll need to master is sketching. Sketching allows you to bring your creative ideas to life, giving you the ability to visualize your designs before they become reality. It's not always easy to learn how to sketch interior design, but with the right tips and tricks, you can get there. So, let's dive into some practical sketching tips that'll help you navigate your drawing journey!

Use a Grid for Balance and Proportion

One of the most effective ways to maintain balance and proportion in your sketches is through the use of a grid. This classic tool can be an absolute game-changer for interior design newbies. Let's explore why.

Understanding the Importance of Balance and Proportion

Balance and proportion are the foundations of any great interior design sketch. They ensure that your design elements align harmoniously, creating a realistic representation of your envisioned space. Without them, your design can look skewed or distorted—something we definitely want to avoid when learning how to sketch interior design.

How a Grid Helps

  • Consistent Scale: Grids provide a guide for maintaining the scale of your design elements. This means when you're sketching a living room, for example, your sofa won't end up looking like a dollhouse piece next to a mammoth coffee table!
  • Alignment: With a grid, aligning different elements of your design becomes a piece of cake. This can be especially handy when you have multiple items on the same plane, like a row of picture frames or shelves.
  • Proportion: A grid can help you keep a consistent proportion among the various parts of your design. This way, your rooms won’t end up looking like they're bending and warping in strange dimensions.

Getting Started With a Grid

Now that you understand the benefits of using a grid, it's time to put it into practice. Start by lightly sketching a grid onto your paper before you begin your design. The squares in the grid will act as a guide, helping you keep everything in its right place and proportion. Remember, the grid is there to help, not hinder—so don't worry about sticking to it too religiously. Feel free to let your creativity flow!

The journey to learn how to sketch interior design is filled with exciting challenges and discoveries. So grab a pencil, pull out your sketchpad, and let's conquer this adventure one grid square at a time!

Experiment with Different Sketching Techniques

Sketching is much like cooking—there's more than one way to get the job done, and the best method depends on your taste. Just like there are countless recipes to explore, there's a world of sketching techniques waiting for you to discover. Let's take a look at some of the most useful ones for interior design.

Line Drawing

Line drawing is the bread and butter of sketching. It's simple, straightforward, and can convey your design ideas effectively. Here's the gist:

  • Outline: Start by drawing the outlines of your design elements. This helps you establish the basic structure of your sketch.
  • Detail: Once your outlines are in place, start adding details. For instance, if you're sketching a chair, this is when you'd add the pattern on the upholstery, the buttons on the cushion, and so on.
  • Refinement: Finally, take a step back, look at your sketch, and make any necessary tweaks. This is where your eraser comes in handy!


Want to add depth and dimension to your sketches? Shading is your best friend. Here's how it works:

  1. Identify your light source. This will determine where the shadows in your sketch should be.
  2. Use lighter strokes for the areas that are closer to the light source, and darker strokes for the areas further away.
  3. Remember, shading isn't about filling in an area with a single, uniform color. It's about creating a gradient effect that mimics how light falls on different surfaces.

Two-Point Perspective

Two-point perspective is a technique that can give your sketches a realistic, 3D effect. It can be a bit tricky to master, but once you get the hang of it, it's a real game-changer. Here's a quick run-down:

  • Horizon Line: This is your eye level—the line where the sky meets the ground.
  • Vanishing Points: These are two points on the horizon line. All lines in your sketch will converge towards these points.
  • Vertical Lines: These lines are drawn straight up and down. They represent the height of objects in your sketch.

As you experiment with these techniques, you'll find your own unique style emerging. So keep practicing, keep experimenting, and most of all, keep enjoying the journey as you learn how to sketch interior design.

Incorporate Color and Texture

Adding color and texture to your sketches can transform them from flat, two-dimensional images into vibrant, lifelike designs. While black and white sketches have their own charm, color and texture can truly bring your interior designs to life. So let's dive into how you can do just that!

Adding Color

Color is the spice of design—it can change the mood, create harmony, and highlight key elements of your design. Here's how to add color to your sketches :

  1. Choose your color palette: Start by deciding the color scheme of your interior design. This could be anything from cool blues and grays for a modern look, to warm reds and oranges for a cozy feel.
  2. Color your sketch: Use colored pencils, markers, or watercolor paints to fill in your sketch. Remember to start light—you can always add more color, but it's hard to take it away!
  3. Consider lighting: The way light interacts with color is essential in interior design. Remember to adjust the intensity of your colors based on where your light source is.

Adding Texture

Texture is what makes an interior feel layered and rich. It's the difference between a room that looks pulled together and one that feels flat. Here's how you can represent texture in your sketches:

  • Texture Techniques: Use cross-hatching, stippling, and other sketching techniques to represent different textures. For example, cross-hatching can give the effect of a rough brick wall, while stippling can mimic the look of a plush carpet.
  • Shadow and Light: Use shading to highlight the way light interacts with different surfaces. This can help you create the illusion of different textures.
  • Experiment: The best way to learn how to sketch interior design textures is to experiment. Try different techniques, and see what works best for you.

As you continue to learn how to sketch interior design, remember that adding color and texture to your sketches is like adding seasoning to a dish—it can truly transform the end result. So don't be afraid to play around and find what works best for you!

Learn to Capture Light and Shadow

Imagine stepping into a room bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun, or the dramatic interplay of shadows in a minimalist, modern space. Light and shadow are some of the most powerful tools in your interior design sketching toolkit. They can add depth, create mood, and bring a sense of realism to your drawings. So, let's explore how you can capture them effectively.

Understanding Light

Light is more than just illumination—it's a game changer in the world of interior design. Here are some steps to capture it in your sketches:

  1. Identify the light source: Where is the light coming from in your design? Is it a window, a lamp, or maybe a skylight? Once you've identified the source, you can start to imagine how it will illuminate the space.
  2. Sketch the light: Use lighter shades to represent areas hit directly by the light. You can use an eraser or leave spaces blank on your sketch to create these bright spots.
  3. Play with intensity: Not all light is equal. Some areas might be bathed in bright light, while others are in soft, diffused light. Vary your shades to represent this.

Mastering Shadows

Shadows are just as important as light—they add depth and dimension to your sketches. Here's how to sketch them:

  • Observe Shadows: Look at how shadows fall in real life. They are usually darker and sharper close to the object and become lighter and blurred the further they go.
  • Sketch the Shadows: Use darker shades for areas in shadow. Remember, shadows are not always black. They can be varying shades of gray or even have a hint of color.
  • Consider the Light Source: The position and intensity of your light source will affect your shadows. Keep this in mind as you sketch.

As you continue to learn how to sketch interior design, remember, light and shadow can make or break your design. So take your time, observe, and practice—it'll pay off!

Practice with Real-Life Settings

The world around you is filled with inspiration. So, why not use it to perfect your interior design sketching skills? Practicing with real-life settings allows you to understand scale, balance, and how different elements work together in a space. Let's dive into how you can make the most of this practice.

Choose Your Space

Start by picking a space you find interesting. It could be your living room, your favorite coffee shop, or even a picture in a magazine. The important thing is that the space sparks your interest and makes you want to sketch it.

Break It Down

When you're learning how to sketch interior design, it can be overwhelming to look at a space and wonder where to start. Here's a tip: break it down. Start by sketching the larger elements like the walls and furniture, then work your way down to the smaller details like the decorations and textures. This makes the process less daunting and more manageable.

Experiment and Learn

Use these practice sessions as a learning experience. Experiment with different techniques, play with colors and textures, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. This is how you grow as a designer.

Remember, the goal is not to create a perfect sketch every time. It's about learning, improving, and—most importantly—enjoying the process. So, grab your sketchbook and start exploring the world one sketch at a time!

If you enjoyed these practical sketching tips and want to further improve your skills, don't miss Rachelle Meyer's workshop, 'Top Tips For Sketchbook Studies.' This workshop will provide you with valuable techniques and exercises to enhance your sketching abilities, which are essential for interior design newbies.