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Design Project Team Members & Their Roles

Nothing is more exciting than starting a new design project! (OK, maybe installing said design project?! I digress…)

As your creative juices start flowing, you realize that the project isn’t going to be only furnishings and accessories. The project blossoms and soon you are doing a new bathroom or kitchen- or even a total gut remodel!

In addition to you, the interior designer, you need a team to get the job done. The team usually consists of a contractor/builder, an architect and maybe some speciality consultants like a lighting, color, or even a kitchen design consultant.

As designers, there are definitely parts of the design process that we do better than others. There are also parts of the process that could belong to both you and another team member. So what do you do when this happens?

One of the most important things is to define everyone’s roles to make sure everyone is on the same page!! This helps you avoid the “I didn’t know you wanted me to do THAT!” situation. The most important role for you define is yours as an interior designer.

Interior Designer

The interior designer…

  • Works with the homeowner, builder, architect and any specialists needed to transform the homeowner’s ideas into a vision of the space
  • Considers how the space will be used and how people will move through the space
  • Creates preliminary design plans
  • Specifies materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, appliances, and plumbing fixtures
  • Creates a timeline for the interior design project and estimates project costs
  • Places orders for materials and oversees the installation of design elements
  • May have a specialty like kitchen design, bathroom design, lighting design, so this needs to be communicated to all involved
  • Guides the homeowner on space planning, flow, function and aesthetics


The contractor/builder…

  • Overseas all aspects of construction including, getting permits, making sure all work is up to city codes and working with engineers, if necessary
  • Is hired by the homeowner to perform work for an agreed upon price
  • May only supervise and hire subcontractors to complete project tasks, like tile, electrical, roofing, etc.
  • Determines a project budget and creates a project timeline


The architect…

  • Designs projects and provides plans for the builder, designer, City Planning and Homeowners Association
  • Can have a speciality like landscape architects, commercial building architects and remodel architects
  • Is concerned for public safety
  • Consults with engineers, surveyors and other specialists throughout the design project
  • Manages and controls construction costs and creates a project timeline

Speciality Consultants

The speciality consultant…

  •  Can be a color, lighting, cabinetry, woodworking, tile, etc consultant

You can see the overlap, right? The designer may design the floor plan and specify furnishings, but the designer needs the architect to be aware of the placement so they can note the proper electrical outlets, etc. The builder also must know where the outlet goes, but has to be flexible in case there are structural reasons that cause a design to be changed.

The bigger the project, the more hands are that touch the project- the more important it is to clarify your responsibilities. The only way to do this is through communication with your client, the architect and builder/contractor.

Use this download with your clients so they can easily understand the differences amongst the team. I hope it helps you!

Click Here to Download my Team Roles Guide

Have a great week!!