Interior Design Project Processes that Work

Filed under Business Goals, Education, Organization, Return on Interiors

When I start a new design project, I am just so excited! I love the space, love my clients and “see” the finished space in my mind. I’m on cloud nine and nothing’s gonna stop me. Yep, it’s the honeymoon period :).

Once I understand the entire scope of work, then I feel like the honeymoon is over. Ha! This is what I call the “now what” stage. I used to wonder where and how to start each job, and felt my forward momentum and motivation come to a screeching halt!

Not anymore! Now that I have established interior design project processes that work, I feel So. Much. Better!

What is involved with each project, aside from making a space pretty?

Below is a general outline of an interior design project. Remember, this is general, so you may not have each phase on every job or you may do two phases at the same time. Every job is different and most of the time these “phases” partially merge or occur simultaneously.

Defining Scope

The first job is to clearly define the scope. Sometimes, it takes a little time to understand the needs and requirements of the homeowner for their project. In order to accomplish this, you need to ask questions and more importantly, listen to your homeowners.

Design Concepts

The second phase is a fun stage where you get to design the job concepts with renderings, samples, swatches and visuals. These inspirational tools help convey the design intent and direction. From this, the details will be determined and decisions will be thought through. It is really important to partner with all building team members and vendors to ensure the plan is meticulously followed.

Product Proposals and Ordering

The third phase is when designers propose products and begin product ordering, project coordination and scheduling. Yep, it is a fluid process and some decisions will need to be made immediately, and others not. Communication is key. 

It’s important to continuously coordinate and stay on top of all orders, deliveries, vendor statuses and installation schedules. This helps eliminate the chance of potential problems or delays. Did I mention communication is key? Ha!


This is when the magic occurs. Depending on the size of the project, it could be a few hours or it could be a couple of weeks! Often, workers are present doing some touch ups; carpets and furniture are placed; art is hung; accessories are positioned; and other trades are helping out, like the electrician, who may be hanging a chandelier.

The designer brings a list of everything that should be there and checks it twiceOK, maybe more than that!

Evaluation Phase

During this last phase, the client and designer discuss the end result and make sure they are satisfied with the design.

How do you do that? This can be a conversation, a survey or whatever you want it to be. The primary purpose is to make sure that the clients’ needs are met. Secondarily, the client needs to know that the designer will help out with anything they have questions about.

This may not be a one-time phase, as certain items may be backordered. When that happens, stay diligent and make sure the client ends with a smile!

These interior design project processes help me stay on track and keep the forward momentum going throughout my design projects so that I’m not stuck wondering, “Now what?”

To help you stay on track with your next design project…DOWNLOAD

Click Here to Download the Guide Processes that Work




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