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Interiors advice - things you should consider when planning your project

PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 June 2015

A concept board for a stairway entrance

A concept board for a stairway entrance

not Archant

Keeping an open mind could be the route to a successful interior project, writes Alison Tordoff

When I meet new clients for the first time, we go through the process of discussing what works and what doesn’t, to start formulating a brief. It helps them if they understand what design is, and why it matters.

Design is about creating products and services that make people happy. Designers have the ability to think through raw ideas and turn them into something tangible. It’s a ‘human-centred’ task, and designers care greatly about the people who use the product, service, building or experience they are creating. The ability to apply this from an early stage means a project has a greater chance of becoming successful more quickly.

The imaginative use of colour, texture, pattern, light and space is key to successful interior design. These factors create a significant impact on mood, wellbeing and productivity, and can be used to reflect taste, status and increase in the value of a property.

Most professional interior designers have trained in design, but qualified interior architects also have an understanding of structures and building services, including local authority requirements. They can provide assistance in re-shaping interior spaces, practical planning and project development, as well as the interior furnishings and decoration.

Interior architects and interior designers will work as part of the design team on new build projects or extensions requiring the services of a qualified architect, who would be responsible for the basic master planning and structure.

Interior stylists, or interior decorators, tend to be more involved with dressing the space and the selection of surface treatments, soft furnishings, furniture and light fittings.

Be upfront about your available budget. Design fees are usually based on an estimate or fixed price relative to the size of the project, and adherence to the brief; clients have been known to change their minds half way through a project.

When choosing a designer you should consider experience, the size of practice, familiarity with your locality, business needs… and personal chemistry. It’s worth talking to various designers to get a feel for how well you will work together. You need to be able to relate to the designer and feel comfortable discussing some quite difficult choices over a potentially long period during the project.

The design brief helps the client to focus and identify aims and objectives, and may include:

• Project objectives - what you want to achieve; how the design will be used and your long term vision.

• Constraints on the design - to fit with any existing areas; technical or legal requirements; environmental issues.

• Creative direction - style; materials; tone; mood; spatial awareness and usability.

• Project management - budgets; schedules and deadlines; communicating; deciding who will manage the project with the contractors; how the project will be measured at the end.

Keep an open mind and the results should exceed your expectations.

Alison Tordoff runs Fidget, an international award-winning interior design company. She lives in Windermere and recently launched The Love District, a new label celebrating the history, culture and landscape of the region.

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