Take the time to interview several interior designers and check their references before making a final decision.

Each designer should explain their design process, how they work, and what they charge for their services. They should also ask you about your needs, timeline, and expectations. It’s important that both parties feel comfortable with the relationship before a contract is signed and work begins.

As with any professional service, a clearly written contract is essential. The agreement should outline what both parties expect to receive from the arrangement, the work that is to be done, and the fees to be charged.


Typical Designer/Client project process: an interior design project can be broken down into seven stages. Here is a brief overview of how a project progresses:

1. Pre-contract

  • Interview professional interior designer(s)
  • Determine what is the project scope
  • Budget and schedule expectations
  • Designer provides fee proposal

2. Schematic

  • Contract signed between Designer and Client
  • Information gathering, client consultation
  • Clients requirements documented
  • Site visit, measuring
  • Space plans
  • Design concept
  • Building code review
  • Hire consultants if needed

3. Design Development

  • Detailed budget and schedule
  • Design drawings, materials and documents
  • Consultant coordination

4. Contract Documents

  • Construction drawings and documents
  • Consultant coordination
  • Documents for permit and tender
  • Building permit application

5. Tender

  • Designer and client may work together to provide pricing documents to contractors
  • Designer and consultants answer questions, attend site tour, issue supplementary documents
  • Prices are received and analyzed; project awarded

6. Contract Administration

  • Contract signed between Contractor and Client
  • Designer monitors schedule and construction
  • Designer reviews shop drawings, price quotes and other documents for compliance with contract documents
  • Designer keeps Client informed
  • Designer responds to contractor queries and payment requests
  • Furniture installation, move in

7. Post Occupancy

  • Loose ends tied up
  • Optional post-occupancy evaluation