The Interior Design Process

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Interior Designers work on both commercial and residential projects and follow a systematic series of steps in order to prepare the final plans. Designers may be certified through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification in the US and Canada. They have to have two to five years of post-secondary education in interior design plus some full-time work experience before they can take the exam, although in some states it is not necessary to become certified. Interior decorators do not require the same amount of study and do not need to be certified.

  • Write down everything that is required in order to understand the objective. The information should include the contact information of the client, the address of the project, proposed timeline, budget, rooms to be included in the project, preferred colors, and permissions and consents required from the client and local zoning or planning departments. Get the client to sign a form accepting the estimate of your fees.

  • Measure the rooms and video-record or photograph them. Hand-sketch the rooms showing the current position of all fixtures, windows, doorways, services, lighting and furniture to be used. Transfer the hand sketches to a CAD drawing if you have the knowledge and software for computer-aided design, or create a finished hand draft if you prefer.

  • Make a list of all the components of each room and decide on the finished coverings, baseboards, electrical fittings, hardware, light fittings, furnishings, colors and textures and spend the necessary time needed to explore the options and create two or more color schemes. Draw them by hand onto copies of the finished drafts, and present your ideas to the client. Make any changes the client suggests and set up as many meetings as required until he or she is willing to sign for acceptance of the design.

  • Create a formal plan that includes details of every element of the project, including a site plan, floor plan, elevations, services, plumbing and drainage, electrical, ceiling plan with lighting and other features, plus detailed construction plans for demolition or renovation and installation of cabinets, etc. Consult with an architect or quantity surveyor if necessary, and ensure that the project will comply with the local code-enforcement agencies, and that all permits have been obtained.

  • Meet with the client and have him or her sign to approve the final plans for the project. At this point, the designer has completed his assignment and a project manager will take over the operation. As the designer, you should monitor the renovation and decorating process to ensure that your specifications are followed accurately.

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  • Photo Credit Young woman looking to the design drawing image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com
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