Top tips for starting an interior design project

Embarking on any interior design project can have its difficulties and listed below are some important pointers to help if you are about to begin a project or looking at interior design as a career.

As an interior designer you need to be able to deal with a lot of different personalities; your clients may be a couple who disagree about everything in their home, you could be dealing with builders who don’t communicate very well, or suppliers that let you down. It is vital to build a good relationship with as many people as you can because if you are relying on other people, they may not have the urgency you have of getting things finished in time to meet your clients needs.

Here are my tips of important things to remember when starting a project.

PLANNING

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Make sure you visit the property you are working on as many times as possible in the initial stages as you will need to get a feel for the property. Check how the light is at certain times of the day and also revisit once you have your fabric colour choices to make sure that they work in the lighting they are proposed for. It s all very well to choose colours in your studio or workplace but lighting plays a large part on how colours look.

FABRICS

It is important to give yourself plenty of time when choosing fabrics, you will need to make your colour choices and hold a few options as many times fabric houses show stock and then find out they don’t have the stock the computer originally showed. Always have two or three alternatives and always get a batch cutting from the actual batch you will be ordering from as colours can really vary so much you can sometimes end up with a completely different colour scheme.

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LIGHTING

If you are looking for chandeliers or made-to-order lamps, you will need to give yourself at least eight weeks lead time. Many companies have a range of stock lighting however if you want something really unique, you will most probably be ordering from overseas or a fabricator in UK and will need longer lead times.

BESPOKE FURNITURE

If you are designing your own furniture then double check all your sizes, for instance some breakfast bar areas do vary slightly in height and you don’t want your stools to be too low to sit comfortably.  Also look at your space properly and measure and map out your furniture in advance of ordering, you don’t want to have items so large that you cannot move around the room comfortably.

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ACCESS

It is important to look at access and this can be overlooked easily but is an essential part of   your installation check- list. If in doubt measure your doorways to make sure large furniture items will fit through, you may need to assemble some items once in the room.  Spiral staircases may cause restriction in moving some large items into their destination. I recently worked on a property that had a games room in the basement but there was only access via a spiral staircase, with no access from the exterior.  I needed to put a pool table in the room, and because I am an experienced designer, I knew how important it was to measure the curve of the staircase, revert back to our install team to see how this potential problem could be overcome.

POINT OF CONTACT

This is essential on an installation. You need to have at least one person that you can liaise with regularly to make sure that  you are all on the same page and know what is happening and when. Also someone who can take deliveries for you in advance is always helpful when on a large project.

ORGANISATION

Finally be well organised! I am working presently on a £30 million house in London and will be ready to install the furniture and accessories in a few days. I have given myself three days to complete the task, purely down to the fact that I have spent weeks and weeks walking through each of the rooms in my mind and making sure I have not forgotten anything. If you do this you should be able to cut the time of your installation down quite significantly!

I hope these tips help you. I would’ve loved to have read them when I started out, but at least I can give you the advice I have to give from my past and very interesting experiences, Good luck!!!

‘Your Home in Their Hands’ is on Sundays at 4pm on BBC One and ‘Four Rooms’ will be on the 22nd of February on Channel 4.

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