What to Expect When Working With an Interior Designer

The Process

Over the last few years, we have seen a demand for creating spaces that are beautiful and functional for life. The interior design industry has exploded with more and more clients wanting to work with designers to bring their visions for their homes to reality. We want to ensure you know exactly what to expect when working with an interior designer and we are diving into this topic in today’s post.

It can sometimes be unclear or confusing to those outside of the industry exactly what it is designers can provide for their clients, and while there is a range of services that can be offered, interior design more often than not stems far beyond selecting flooring and paint colors. With projects that are often quite complex, a designer can take the weight of all of those decisions and management of the project off of your plate.

The steps can vary from firm to firm but here is how we like to approach the process and what it might look like working with an interior designer: 

Jenny Murphy of J. Reiko Design looking at interior samples for a design project

Discovery Call + In-Home Consultation

After an initial discovery call, we can add on an in-home consultation where we’ll determine your needs, answer any questions you may have about the process, and ensure working with an interior designer makes sense. 

Proposal + Retainer

Our proposal will define the scope of work and cover your estimated fees and investments. Once you’ve accepted the proposal, a design retainer will be collected to reserve your spot on our calendar.

Site Measurement + Idea Session

This is when we’ll dive deeper into how you use your home and any lifestyle-related preferences you may have. We’ll hone in on the overall direction and your desired aesthetic. While on-site, I will also draft an as-built digital model based on your existing space. 

Jenny Murphy of J.Reiko measuring a window frame

Schematic Design (Interior Architecture)

We’re all about space-planning, layout, and analyzing functionality. As such, we’ll present multiple solutions for the space(s), including the pros and cons of each option. We’ll work together to combine, adjust, and refine until we have a floor plan that fits your needs.

Design Development (Interior Design)

Next is a further refinement of the details and selection of the finishes for each space. We’ll meet for design presentations complete with material samples to give you a tangible idea of what your new space will be like.

hands holding interior design samples in a neutral color to show working with an interior designer


Now it’s time to develop all the product specifications that are needed in order to implement your design, as well as the completion of construction drawings + other documents for permit submittal. These will be provided to you as well as your team of trade professionals. 

Procurement & Construction Coordination

Our collaboration with your builder continues with additional site visits (as needed) to ensure the design is being carried out as expected. During this phase, we’re available to answer any questions or help solve any issues that arise during construction.

Furniture & Styling

Once all construction and installation is complete,  you have the option to receive additional design support through furniture selection and styling. If added to your project, we will provide you with furniture layouts by room, including foundational pieces and curated details to deeply personalize and finesse your space. 

Photo of the J.Reiko design team with sign sitting on wooden blocks

As you can see working with an interior designer can bring you peace of mind knowing that they will be handling all aspects of your design project from start to finish. It is more than just selecting colours and finishes for a room, it is true project management along with a very technical skillset to bring your vision to life.

Click here to see our full process in action

If you have a project you are thinking about make sure to reach out HERE to see how we can support you in your home.


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