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20 tips to ensure a successful interior design project

There are many reasons why a client calls on the services of an interior designer. On a commercial project, an interior designer is needed to design a layout that maximises the profitability of a space, whilst reinforcing the visual brand of the business. On a private commission an interior designer will be expected to deliver a layout that satisfies the spatial needs and aesthetic preferences of those who will subsequently live in the space. In both cases the cost of an interior designer represents a significant percentage of the overall project budget. But simply hiring a well known interior designer does not guarantee the best results.

You will only get the best results from your interior designer if your creative partnership is based on mutual respect and understanding. The interior designer should respect the client’s needs and expectations (and budget!). The client should in turn respect the interior designer’s professional skills, experience and creative process. In this way both the client and the interior designer will achieve their mutual objectives. It is also important to be clear about what these mutual objectives are. Effective and timely communication is therefore critical.

So what does all this mean in practice? I’ve drawn up a set of guiding principles for both the client and the interior designer that should ensure a successful and rewarding creative relationship.

For the Client

10. Choose your interior designer based on their design style, not just their cost.

9. The interior design contract should detail phases, deliverables, timelines and measures of quality.

8. Check that your approval is required to progress each phase of the interior design process.

7. Be clear about your execution budget and your vision.

6. Ensure that your expectations match your execution budget. You don’t get luxury on a small budget.

5. Have fun with interior design! Open your mind. Have faith in the interior designer’s creativity.

4. Don’t insult the interior designer’s ability. Keep criticism constructive.

3. Stick to your interior design decisions. Changing your mind later will cost you money and time.

2. Settle your payments promptly. The interior design contract details when and how much.

1.5. Hire the best contractor you can find or the interior design won’t be properly executed.

1. Communicate clearly, swiftly and consistently with your interior designer.

For the Interior Designer

10. Don’t work with clients who don’t share your interior design style.

9. Always insist on signing a detailed interior design contract for each project.

8. Ensure you understand fully the client’s vision before you start designing.

7. Design to the client’s budget.

6. Keep the project on budget.

5. Anticipate issues before they become problems.

4. Solve problems proactively and constructively to everyone’s mutual benefit.

3. Ensure that the decision maker approves each phase of the interior design process.

2. Manage the interior design process effectively. Make things happen in order and on time!

1. Be easy to contact. Always take your client’s calls and communicate clearly!

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