Updated: Feb 25, 2020
Many individuals wonder "why hire a designer when this seems like something I can do". So why should you pay to have a designer in your home or business? The process of designing a home or business is often underestimated. Difficulties of home and business projects are usually unrecognized until you are so far into a project that your can't turn back. The result is usually a stressful mess and an unappealing space. Although many do not realize it, a beautifully designed space is not only aesthetic, but it is functional and can dramatically effect emotions and feelings (we will go over this in another blog post). Although I can't speak for every designer, let's take a look at the process you get when hiring myself for your design project.
The Initial Consult
The first thing that needs to be done is for the client and myself to meet and discuss the project. I speak with you about what you are looking to have done and what your expectations are. After we go through the project and expectations we will discuss style, likes and dislikes, and get to know each other. I may ask questions relating to your lifestyle, how you function in different spaces you have now, where you do most of your shopping, etc. I feel it is important to establish a good relationship with my clients and the initial consultation gives us the perfect setting to do that. Initial consultations will be scheduled at a local coffee spot, restaurant, or other public space that will allow us to have these conversations. If you schedule further design services we will go over the design contract, pricing, and the next step of the design process.
Project Location & Site Assessment
*If the project is new construction this phase will be replaced with blue prints and a meeting between myself and the builder. You and I will move to phase three.
The second phase of the design process is viewing the project location and a site assessment. You and I, or even just myself, meet at the project location. At the location I will take measurements of the space and review what we discussed in the initial consultation. This phase helps me get a better understanding of the project requirements and limitations.
If you have your own contractors that you work with then this part of the process is already taken care of. I will request contact information for those individuals and/or companies and contact them for further review.
If you do not have contractors already in place and you would like help finding them I will step in and help search for those individuals.
*Note a contractor is required in a remodel project.
After reviewing phase two and going over your style, I will start creating a concept. During this phase I create mood boards, color schemes, and room layouts. The mood boards consist of inspirational images, flooring types, cabinet styles, lighting, furnishings, fabrics, etc... The content of the mood board really depends on the project type, whether its a new construction, remodel, room refresh, etc. Concept design is not to be confused with final selections. Some pieces in the concept design may change slightly, but these boards set the tone for the rest of the project and give us a goal to work towards.
The concept design phase can be considered à la carte for those who are on a low end budget. If you chooses this you will have the option to purchase the whole design concept + my time spent on the project. After the concept is purchased you can take those concepts and carry them out yourself, which again gives you a goal to work towards. Those who chose this option can also schedule a final consultation, after they are finished with the project, to go over what they have done and see if there are any adjustments that need to be made.
The next phase of the project really depends on the type of project. For smaller scale design projects this is the next step and may even be completed during the concept phase if you are decisive. During the selections phase we do exactly that. Make selections. Whether its furnishings, lighting, or other products/finishes, we are making a direct decision on the exact thing you want. Depending on the scale of the project this phase may take several consultations. If you are a new construction or remodel this phase will be pushed back in order to stick with the perfect timeline for receiving products.
Lighting Plans, Elevations, Flooring Plans, and Other Drawings.
Depending on the project a lighting plan and elevations may be required. During the lighting planing process we make sure that we choose the correct sizes of lighting and that they are going to be placed in the correct spot. Depending on the scope of work and your desires/needs this part of the project can be as little as a decorative lighting plan or in depth with full electrical plan which indicates where outlets, switches, lighting, etc.. will be placed.
Elevations are 2D drawings of walls which can include everything from plumbing fixtures, tile layouts, moldings, furnishings, etc.. These drawings can be helpful to those who have a hard time visualizing and they help ensure that contractors knows exactly what we are requesting to have done.
Flooring plans include detailed drawings of how flooring should be laid out. This is something that may be required by a builder and/or contractor when a more elaborate floor style is being created.
Other drawings that may be requested by you and/or builders/contractors are considered during this phase.
3D drawings of your space may be available upon request. These drawings require a lot of time to create and can be a bit costly.
Specifications are a very time consuming process for those doing it themselves. During our selections phase the client and I have worked together to create selections that need to be addressed with the builder/contractors involved in the process. Specifications will list out the products, materials, finishes, colors, etc.. that we are using. There is a lot to do during this phase. Picking out key components is a small part of the design process, but all the little details can be quite time consuming and stressful if you don't know what you're doing. Quality designers take care of this process for you.
Final pricing and ordering
Once the other phases are taken care of there may be a few adjustments that need to made. With small adjustments comes adjustments in price. During this phase we go over our products and selections and review final pricing. Once everything is finalized, orders are ready to be placed.
Time management & Tracking
No matter what the project is we want to make sure time is not underestimated. Despite what HGTV may tell you, a design project is not done in one day or even one week. Even a room refresh takes time, especially if furniture is being ordered and not picked up from your local Home Goods. Typical furnishings can take up to six weeks to arrive (weather and other factors permitting) and custom items can take even longer. Patience is key in the design process. Good things take time and a rushed design is usually sloppy and done incorrectly.
If I am handling orders and those items start to ship I'll handle tracking and make sure things are going to be in on time. If a product is delayed I will let you know and when items are ready to be delivered I will make arrangements.
Once everything is in and ready to be placed I come in and stage the room. This includes moving furnishings (if needed), placing accessories, hanging art, etc... This phase is the most rewarding and gives the client the final result we were looking for. Here is where our concept really comes to life and the client can enjoy their space.
It's important to keep in mind that every project is different. These phases are really guidelines on how I work through projects and the order may be adjusted to fit specific project needs. The end goal is what I am striving to achieve and I truly want clients to love and appreciate their space. I do believe that interior design is the most functional form of art and I want clients to be able to express themselves through their space.