The 4 Phases Of Interior Design

August 20, 2013 General, Interior Design 0 Comments

Phases Of Interior DesignInterior Design isn’t just about picking the right tables and throw pillows.

Decorating actually comes last for most designers – after the walls have been torn down, the floors torn up and everything has been remodeled. It comes after the tiling, painting and repurposing. Here, we’ve broken the Interior Design process down into four phases. Discover what each phase requires and tips for getting the job done:


It might seem obvious that the Interior Design process begins with design. But, as architectural professional Steven Kutch points out, “the key to the success of any project can be found in the planning stages.”

Kutch argues that the design allows you to define the project and its scope. This is an important step where you decide how much you need to remodel, renovate and decorate. This step also allows you to outline a budget for your project.

You can take some time to sketch your ideas, make a mood board or do research. You can even use social networks like Pinterest to find inspiration for rooms, repurposing, furniture or fabrics.

These courses emphasize the design phase:

  • The Design Process
  • Design Thinking & Making


Many people do not know the difference between remodeling and renovating. As an Interior Design student, however, you need to know that remodeling refers to altering an element of the structure or the entire structure.

Kutch gives the example that if you tear out a wall’s plaster and lath to replace it with gypsum board, you are remodeling. By completing the design phase first, you know exactly what you need to do in a room to make your vision come to life. Therefore, you know if you need to contact a contractor or a craftsman to help you remodel. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends hiring a professional contractor who is familiar with the building codes in the area you’re working in. The NARI also recommends comparing products based on value and quality, not just price.

These courses emphasize the remodeling phase:

  • Construction Drawing for Interior Design
  • ADA & Building Codes


According to Kutch, renovating refers to renewing an element of a room’s structure or of a building’s entire structure. Here, the example is floating existing plaster walls with a skimming compound, repainting and replacing the baseboards.

Keep costs low by renovating rather than remodeling. Simply painting a room can be impactful, especially if you use faux finish painting techniques or wallpaper. Creating texture on walls can hide minor imperfections – and is much less expensive than tearing down, moving or replacing an entire wall.

If you are concerned with resale value, follow your design plan and remember that neutral designs are often the most appealing to potential buyers (especially in living rooms and bedrooms).

These courses emphasize the renovating phase:

  • Architectural Detailing and Construction
  • Materials and Sources


Though it is not the only thing interior designers are responsible for, decorating is important because it creates a finished, polished look after the remodeling and renovating are complete.

Your décor for a newly remodeled or renovated room should flow with the rest of the space – whether it is a home, office or public building. Talk to the person you are designing for to get a sense of their style and how they want the room to function.

If you are working on a tight budget, consider up-cycling some of the furniture and decorations from the room before it was remodeled. Repurposing and painting chairs, tables or other pieces of furniture can change them dramatically – and save money.

These courses emphasize the decorating phase:

  • Textiles
  • Sustainable Design

Whether you are interested in the entire Interior Design process or you hope to focus on one aspect in particular, you are going to need more information. Find it at Harrington College of Design.


What do you think?