"So, what's the process?"
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO AN INTERIOR DESIGN PROJECT
The interior design world has always been mysterious. That rings true for clients and other designers. For years, professionals kept their processes secret from competitors. In the age of social media, blogs, vlogs, and podcasts, a wealth of knowledge has been shared amongst the design community. However, this content comes from industry-known sources, not from ones the everyday home or business owner regularly sees. Which means the most common question from new interior design clients is still, "So, what's the process?"
The truth is, not all designers will approach a project the same or have a clear, laid out plan. Therefore, we can't speak for the entire industry. We can, however, share the steps Beyond Interior Design works through so you can gain a general understanding of the interior design process.
PHASE 1: CONSULTATION & CONTRACT
CONSULTATION The first step to any project is the consultation. At this appointment, the designer walks through the space (if accessible) and creates a baseline scope of what the clients would like to accomplish. This is also the first opportunity the designer can provide valuable information specific to the project.
CONTRACT After the consultation, if the project seems like a good fit, both parties sign a contract. A fee or retainer is usually collected at this time.
PHASE 2: RESEARCH, DESIGN, PRESENTATION
TRADES DAY Now that the designer has onboarded the client, it's go time! The design team heads back to the project site to obtain measurements, capture before photos, and finalize any other criteria. The team also schedules tradesmen to come out and propose very rough estimates of cost and doability (for example, if raising the ceiling was in your scope list, the designer would schedule roofers to come and determine if that's even possible.)
DESIGN AND DOCUMENTATION This stage is where the magic happens! The designer now has everything they need to do what they do best — design. While creating the floor plan and renderings, the designer also sources goods (furnishings and materials) and services during this stage. Once the drawings have been executed, estimates can be procured.
PRESENTATION The design comes to life in the presentation stage. Here, the designer reveals their concept to the client, providing 3D renderings, samples of materials, and cost estimation.
PHASE 3: PROJECT MANAGEMENT
ORDERING AND BUDGET REVIEW Once the design team gets the go-ahead, it's time to purchase the furnishings and decor. A responsible designer will keep an eye on the budget so they can notify clients if anything changes drastically (i.e. price or availability of items and how that affects budget).
CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION This stage can occur simultaneously with the ordering and will also undergo budget review throughout the progression of the renovation/construction. (Simple renovations like wallpapering and painting occur during this stage, as any changes to a room's surfaces must occur prior to installation.)
INSTALLATION After completion of construction, it's time for Installation Day! This is when all the purchased goods are brought into the house and placed according to the design concept. Additionally, the designer will often bring styling items that the client can purchase if they like the aesthetic the decor creates. It may help some clients to view Installation Day as the final design day. Unless changes are made, the only other step is to close out the project. Basically, the installation is the climax of the process.
DEFICIENCIES The designer and client will walk through the new space once the installation is complete. The client will identify any deficiencies, and the design team will resolve them as soon as possible.
PROJECT CLOSURE The last step in the design process is the project closure meeting. Here, the designer and client will meet one last time to receive their project binder and final invoices. Afterward, the only thing left for the client to do is to enjoy their newly designed modern space!
Our process may seem simple, but we can't stress this enough — it's definitely not. Starting from the design stage and intensifying during project management, we're immersed in a complex game of Tetris, and every little piece has to fit together perfectly. Mess one up and it takes several more moves to get back on track. That's why the process exists in the first place, to help organize all the moving parts and keep us working efficiently for our clients. It truly does take a dedicated professional and their team to execute an effective design process, and we strive for that every day.
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