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Interior Design Process

The Interior Design Process
The Interior Design Process

The Interior Design Process is a series of steps that a designer takes when working on an interior design project. The details of each stage will differ depending on the type of design but the approach will always be similar. It is vital to stick to the design process during a project as skipping a stage, completing stages out of order of not using the process at all will result in a lower quality outcome, an outcome the client is not happy with or even worse no outcome at all. But if you do follow the steps of the process it will help you complete your project to the highest standard possible. The steps of the interior design process are outlined below, they are not definitive but they are the recommended stages in order to achieve a successful outcome.



1. Analyse The Brief

Each design project will begin when a client delivers the designer with a brief. The brief will outline what the client wants although as the client will likely have no design experience it is important for the designer to carefully analyse all details given by the client and if necessary to make further enquiries about the needs of the client. The success of an interior design scheme will depend not only upon on the skills and creativity of the designer, but their ability to answer the brief set by the client. A good brief will be as detailed and project-specific as possible. It will outline the client's requirements and aspirations, set down a budget for works and the time scale in which the project must be realised.


2. Identify The Key Requirements

Based on the analysis of the brief you must identify the most important parts. Ask yourself, what requirements must I fulfil? It is therefore important to identify and prioritise the key requirements of the brief. If the brief is not as detailed as you would like it may be a good idea to meet with the client and ask them some questions in order to discover their exact requirements, the style of design that would suit them, the spaces that their way of living will require etc.


3. Create An Accommodation List

An accommodation list is a list of spaces/areas (as opposed to rooms) that will accommodate the activities of the client. If the brief is for the interior design of an entire house or office then the list may include activities such as living, dining, receiving, sleeping etc. While for a single space brief the list may include activities such as seating, storage, playing etc. Designing a space by rooms can be very restrictive and therefore designing to meet the needs of the client is a more direct and accurate approach.


4. Draw Relationship Diagrams

Relationship diagrams follow on from the accommodation list and, as the name suggests, they diagrammatically present the relationship between the selected spaces. During this process it is important to consider factors such as light, noise, function etc. The function of each space will have an effect on where it is positioned within a building or, on a smaller scale, the function of an object/furniture piece will have an effect on where it is positioned within a space. To give just a single example of the multiple factors of relationships that are associated with an object, a desk will be best positioned near a socket (to allow a computer to be plugged), where it gets good natural/artificial light, away from nearby noise (so as not to distract from work), facing out a window or toward objects of interest (for inspiration) and of course where there is room to sit comfortably at it. This seemingly simple example demonstrates the wide variety of factors which can effect the decision making process when positioning spaces or objects within spaces.


5. Research Existing Designs

Research is important to identify possible design styles and ideas which may also suit the needs of your client. These samples can be used when meeting with the client to identify the style of design which they prefer. For students research will also help to familiarise yourself with industry standard designs and the quality of design which is required. See the section on Interior Design Styles as a starting point.


6. Create a Concept Design

With the increase in design technology in recent years design concept designs can just as easily refer to 2D or 3D digital graphics as it can to traditional perspective drawings or floor plans. What remains consistently important is that your designs successfully display your ideas in a way that the client can understand and visualise. As well as the aforementioned perspectives it can also be useful to create 'mood' boards to help present the style and colour scheme of your design concept. A mood board is a type of poster design that may consist of images, text, colours or textures samples of objects to communicate ideas to the client.


7. Obtain Client Feedback

As an interior design project cannot be easily edited, like digital designs can, it is vital to get feedback from the client before proceeding with the implementation stage. Clients are often uncertain about what they really want so it is important to present your design concept in a positive manner and highlight the positive features of the design to the client. The reason for this is that an indecisive client may result in numerous design solutions being presented without any real progress being made. This stage can be a real sticking point in the design process and can result in wasted time and resources so remember that you are the designer and it is up to you to guide the client in their decision making, that is why they hired you after all!


8. Implement The Design

This is the fun part. Realising your design concept and seeing it come to life. This stage may require sub sections of its own depending on the size of the project. However it is impossible to say exactly how as the number of variables is almost unlimited but what is important is to plan this stage extensively before you begin by preparing and clearing the space, ordering materials in advance and having them at hand on the day as well as hiring the staff required to get the project completed on time and within budget.


9. Evaluate The Design

Reflecting on a completed design is important in order to ensure you learn from experience and identify the successful parts of the design to allow you to replicate them in future design projects as well as identifying the parts of the design that did not go well in order to avoid or solve them in future designs.It may also be useful to get the opinion of others at this stage if you fear you will be unable to objectively evaluate your own design. As well as the design itself it is just as important to reflect on your process and ask yourself some questions such as, did I meet the requirements set out in brief? Did I keep to the budget? Did I complete the project on time? If the answer to any of these question is 'No' then you you need to assess your design process and identifying flaws in it or areas where you can be more efficient.

If you enjoyed this article then perhaps our articles on the web, graphicgames or furniture design processes may also be of interest.