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What to Expect When Working with an Interior Designer

Tasha Urban, NCIDQ, LEED GA

Most clients believe they're hiring an interior designer to perfect the aesthetic of their space: pick the right paint, place furniture to achieve "feng shui," and purchase stunning artwork. This is all true, but it's only one of many reasons why interior designers are integral to the design and construction of any project.

Estimated read time:
5 min

Why do you need an interior designer?

During a home renovation, an electrician asked the owner where he wanted the electrical outlets in his office. The owner, knowing the furniture layout he and the designer had worked on, bypassed a consultation with his interior designer and confidently told the electrician where the outlets should be positioned. It was only after installation that he realized he had specified an outlet right under his feet and chair mat. What had seemed like a small initial decision turned into a costly mistake - one that his designer could have helped him avoid.

Interior designers understand that the functionality of each space is paramount and know how to achieve it. A good interior design team knows which materials are most durable, how projects should be coordinated, and what common mistakes can be easily avoided, ultimately leading to time and cost savings.

What services does CRSA offer?

We are a team of designers that provides full interior renovations, tenant improvements, space programming, and finish-out services for private and public sector clients. Our portfolio ranges from hospitality, historic preservation, and higher education projects to government, office, and religious projects. Sustainability is integral to our firm's identity and designing for the environment is considered and prioritized in all of our designs.

For each of these project types, our team can help you with:

  • Design Concepts & Style Discovery: This exploratory research helps to ensure that products and features genuinely meet your needs. We'll show you how we can fold your brand and identity into the design, so your visitors, clients, and employees know exactly who you are and what you do.
  • Space Planning: Our designers will craft a plan to make sure all choices, both large and small, go together for a cohesive final look that not only reflects your style but also makes functional sense for your space.
  • Furniture Design & Selections: We work with a wide assortment of furniture, carpet and finish vendors and ensure all products are sustainable, durable, replaceable, and warranted.
  • Finishes, Fixtures, & Material Specification: We'll work with you and our trusted vendors to outline and specify the materials, fixtures, and finishes desired for your project.
  • Lighting, Accessory, & Art Selections: We understand the impact lighting, accessories, and art have on a space and we will guide you through selection of final pieces that will work cohesively within your space.
  • Construction Documents: We'll craft detailed construction documents to get the right information into the hands of the right people to ensure your project is on-time, in-budget, and meets your expectations.
  • Construction Administration: Our designers will stay involved during the construction process to help solve problems and assist with delivering a high-quality project.
  • Project Installation: This process involves the installation and coordination of soft goods – all the furniture, accessories, and other items that make your project complete.

These skills enable our designers to create cohesive and functional designs, coordinating the project from beginning to end.

How to get started

That's the easy part – contact any of our designers or architects. We'll talk to you about your project and walk you through how we can help you bring your vision to reality.

Get in touch with us!

What to expect during your project

Step 1: Consultation

The very first thing you can expect to do is a no-charge consultation to determine your project type, needs, and goals. We'll work with you to answer these questions, among others:

  • How big is the project?
  • What is the function of the space?
  • What is the project aesthetic?

Step 2: Site Visit

The designer will visit the site to observe the real limitations, opportunities, and scope of the project.

Step 3: Strategic Planning & Programming

Our team then creates a program identifying the design needs and problems, and the solutions we would use to achieve the design.

Step 4: Proposal

The interior designer puts together a proposal for fee, including the following:

  • A project time line
  • How many hours we plan to spend working on the project
  • Client meetings
  • The project scope (what services will be provided for this project fee)
  • How many design concepts we'll present to determine the project's stylistic direction

Step 5: Concept & Design Development

The design team will typically put together two design concepts, including finish options (carpet, tile, countertop, and other materials) and preliminary floor plans.

Step 6: Design Review

After meeting with the client and refining the design direction, the team will create a polished design for the client to review in a final design charrette, or critique.

Step 7: Project Implementation

Once the design has been decided, the interior designers create drawings and gather item and material specifications for the contractor to bid on and create during construction. A designer will attend site visits during project construction to resolve any problems that arise and verify the design is being completed as intended. The designer will also be present during installation to confirm that every item (including furniture, artwork, lamps, etc.) arriving is undamaged, expected, and correctly placed.

Let us design for you!

If you are looking for a design team to help you achieve your aesthetic vision, focus on functionality and sustainability, and monitor project progress and cost, CRSA's interiors team is experienced and ready to deliver solutions for your project.