Should I Pay Extra for Computerized Renderings (3D Modeling) of My Home Renovation Project?

The following article is part of an ongoing series on home remodeling and personal finances.

One home renovation expense that a homeowner may be confronted with when working with an architect or general contractor is whether or not to pay for professional drafting or computerized imaging of their renovation project (3D modeling).


Computerized rendering of our remodeling project which included opening wall between our kitchen and living room areas.

While virtually all general contractors will generate “blueprints” for any home renovation work, they’ll often provide the homeowner with the option having realistic computer images of what the project will look like when complete. This technology has become very popular after being used on many home improvement shows like HGTV’s Property Brothers. While the drawings are very useful, they are also very expensive costing thousands of dollars depending on the scope of the home remodel or renovation. The question is whether or not paying for these computerized images is worth it?

Why You Should Consider 3D Modeling:

We recently met with a general contractor to discuss the opening of a large awkward wall that divided our kitchen and living room areas. The current opening in the wall is way too small given the scale of the wall and the area within the two living spaces. The also creates flow issues and during parties and family gatherings essentially creating two separate events every time we have some sort of function at our house.

We had an idea of what we wanted to do based on some photos we found online, but we weren’t confident in how it would look in our home. Our builder encouraged us to consider having professional renderings made of our concept (pictured above) to get a better idea how it would look and whether or not the project would be worth doing.

The Process and Cost:


An earlier design concept for our living room fireplace makeover.

This involved both the builder and designer coming to our house to take measurements and discuss the scope of the project. Once the legwork was done, the drafter was able to produce decent quality 3D images within a few days. Our total bill was about $1650 for a packet of various renderings and custom built-in cabinetry we were considering (not cheap by any means).

Computer generated renderings for home construction and renovations are expensive but they can prevent you from making even costlier mistakes down the road. The renderings we received help reassure us that we were making a good decision in our home remodeling project.  We used a similar service when redoing our fireplace mantel last month.

A good quality design/drafter capable of producing 3D computer modeling images can charge up to $75/hr or more depending on your location. You might be able to find a less expensive option but it is best to go with a computer design professional that your builder is familiar with.

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