Rendering Tools for Kitchen Design

Your kitchen is the central spot in your home. It’s where you cook, share family meals, help with homework, and sit and chat over a bowl of late-night ice-cream.

Rendering Tools for Kitchen Design

(Pixabay / svabic)

The problem is that kitchen renovations are costly. If you Google it, you’ll see a range of about $20,000 to $50,000 as an average range. That’s a pretty significant chunk of change, so when you’re ready to take the plunge and renovate, you need to know that what you’ve imagined will actually look good.

If you’ve ever watched home renovation shows, there’s always that part near the middle where the renovators take you through a virtual tour of what the home will look like after they’re done renovating. They do that using rendering software that allows the designer to input different products, measurements, paint colors, and specifications to create a digital image of the desired result.

There are many different rendering software suites on the market today at varying price points and degrees of customizability, so here’s a summary of five inexpensive and easy-to-use ones and what you can expect from each.

Google SketchUp

SketchUp is a free program designed by Google that lets you create a 3D rendering of your dream space. It may not be the most comprehensive program out there, but it has a lot of user-uploaded design spaces and elements that you can build from. One major downside is that there isn’t a customer service number for help with the free version, but you have the option to upgrade to SketchUp for Professionals (that comes with customer service as well as many other incredible features), and that’s only $120/year. They also have discounted versions for students and educators.

IKEA Home Planner

IKEA Home Planner is another great kitchen rendering tool, but only if you want to buy solely IKEA products. The cool thing about this program is that it won’t let you “force” a cabinet to fit into a space where it can’t fit (unlike some other rendering software which sometimes allow this to happen either intentionally or unintentionally). In the IKEA program, it either works, or it doesn’t.

The whole program is free to use, but it can be prone to glitches and bugs that can undo a lot of your hard work (hint: set up your account before you design if you know you’ll want to save your work). Another perk – if you were planning on purchasing through IKEA anyway, it creates a running list and total to help you visualize your budget.


Homestyler is a free program that lets you create floorplans, design spaces, and input furniture and fixtures. They have paid options with more in-depth rendering capabilities and editors, but if you’re just getting started designing, the free version has all you need and more. As a bonus, it even works on a mobile device.

Space Designer 3D

Space Designer 3D is a great platform for both serious and casual kitchen designers. In fact, the “casual” pricing option is paid per project instead of as a monthly subscription, which can be helpful if you only have one project in mind. It has a product catalog that lets you input exact appliances and furniture so that you get a true vision of how your space will look.

2020 Kitchen Design Software

2020 Kitchen Design is a fantastic program that lets you work in 2D and 3D, but it also allows you to play around with lighting and product positioning. Its photorealistic renderings and 360-degree panoramas give your walkthroughs a super realistic feel.

As far as product catalogs, 2020 Kitchen Design Software has one of the largest, making it really easy to find the look you want. These extra features come at a fairly steep price, however, ringing in around $100/month, although if you’re able to work quickly, there’s a 30-day free trial.

Other Things to Think About

There are a few last things to consider before starting the design process. First and foremost – does it let you save or export your work? Being able to email or print your designs before heading to an architect, engineer, or one of our remodeling contractors in Seattle is massively helpful.

Whatever program you choose, it should also have both 2D and 3D viewing options so that you can get the full picture. The ability to “walk through” the space is nice, but sometimes that’s only available through a paid service.

Lastly, the program should have some kind of object library, so you can see how things will fit within the space. Some catalogs may even have fabric and flooring textures, which is beneficial if you want to design the entire room. Keep in mind that many programs are contracted with specific companies to list their products, so you may not find precisely what you want, but you’ll probably find something similar.

There you have it! This is by no means an all-inclusive list. In fact, there are easily 15 other fantastic kitchen design software programs out on the market with varying price ranges and capability. We’ve created this list with the new or casual designer in mind, but know that there is a design program for every wallet and level of expertise.

And remember that if you’re new to the remodeling process and want the help of our experienced design team, call the professionals at Interior Remodel Specialists. We offer in-house or virtual consultations to help you design the kitchen you’ve been dreaming of.