What Does the Interior Design Process Look Like?

The interior design process can be convoluted and, therefore, takes a great deal of patience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that although professionals in this industry may work in a variety of areas, the majority of them adhere to the same method.


First, the needs of the clients must be properly understood. The interior designer usually holds a one-on-one meeting to go over what their client wants to be done to the space and budgeting requirements. During this time, it’s also a good idea to map the space by taking a look around the room(s) being worked on, observing existing furnishings, and begin visualizing what work needs to be done.

Design Plan and Costs Estimates

The next step is to initiate a design plan. Traditionally, interior designers created sketches but with the technological advances underway, they’ve found that the use of computer-aided design software, or CAD, is faster and more accurate. After a plan has been crafted, the designer will run it by the client for feedback and revise accordingly. The designer will also reveal the estimated cost to the customer.

Specification of Materials

Once the design plan is settled, the interior designer identifies what materials they’ll need to complete the process. These can include but are not limited to, wall borders, paintings, furniture, special light fixtures, and flooring. The designer will also judge whether the space needs other work done that falls out of their expertise. If necessary, he/she will collaborate with an electrician, architect, plumber, and/or engineer.

Final Arrangements

The interior designer ties up the process by developing a timeline, organizing contractors’ schedules, and ensuring everything are completed by the deadline. After the client sees the space and expresses satisfaction, the designer still may make a follow-up visit to ensure the longevity of the new design.

Support Services

Many interior designers who run their own businesses hire assistants to handle administrative duties while they tend to the creative aspects of their careers. Design assistants help with researching products, ordering materials, and taking notes. They are also involved with scheduling meetings, organizing presentations, confirming travel arrangements, and requesting new office supplies. They often travel with interior designers that work independently as well.

Interior design firms that employ several designers may also hire a group of assistants to meet the company’s needs. They are either shared by a group of designers or assigned to one specific designer. Although assistants generally experience more flexibility with independent designers, they are more likely to receive better pay and benefits packages with a firm.

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