How early should a designer get involved in a building project?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “at what point should I get an Interior Designer involved when I’m doing a building project?”. The answer is that you ideally need to get your designer on board before the foundations are even built. Now you may think this is slightly too early but the sooner your Designer can go through the architect’s drawings the better. An interior designer will look at the project in a completely different way to your architect, who is looking primarily at the exterior design, the structure and the room placement.

A simple example is electrical sockets.  Now I know architects do electrical drawings but they look at things in a different way to a designer.  An architect (understandably) will not be thinking about the furniture placement of each room and where on the kitchen work surface you are going to put your kettle! These are all things that your interior designer will think of and go through with you at the drawing stage so that when the time comes the electrician will put sockets in exactly the right places. It would be a shame to build a gorgeous new house and then to have table lamp cables trailing around the room because the socket is too far away from the sofa’s side table!

Other areas where an Interior Designer will help you early on in the project is with product sourcing and making sure you have chosen products in good time to be delivered to your builder when they need it. There are 100’s of questions that your builder will ask…. Do you want spotlights throughout, do you want pendants over the dining table and island, what kind of front door do you want, what floor tiles in the kitchens, what wall tiles in all the bathrooms, what kind of finish do you want on your light sockets, do you want dimmers, what kind of door handles, carpet colours, paint colours, height of skirting boards, staircase, handrail, etc etc. I could go on and on.  All these questions and trying to answer them can be very daunting for a lot of people and at the end of any project most homeowners are completely exhausted and have made 100’s and 100’s of decisions. Builders also have a tendency to ask what ‘xyz’ do you want with very little notice. These decisions should not be reactive. An interior designer will get you thinking about things well in advance so that product lead times are taken into account and that you have time to make informed choices.

Then hopefully when it comes to the furnishings, window dressings and styling of the house your designer will know you well and know your tastes and preferences and will be able to bring everything together so that you can create a magnificent home.

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