[Updated January 2022]

This is a question that we’re often asked by people planning a new build or a renovation. Do I need an interior designer when I already have a builder? Well to answer that question, it helps to understand what it is that an interior designer actually does.

Living and Dining room in a modern Queenslander - Bella Vie Interiors
Living and Dining room in a modern Queenslander - Bella Vie Interiors

Do I Need an Interior Designer When I Have a Builder?

What Is an Interior Designer’s Role?

Do you think an interior designer’s role is to come in at the end of a build project and decorate? Well, think again. Interior designers bring a lot of planning and expertise. And it’s best introduced before the builder even starts on site. In my experience, an even better outcome is achieved when the builder and designer collaborate before embarking on construction.

A builder’s role is to think about how he’s going to manage the build project from start to finish. On the other hand, an interior designer’s role is to think about how the home is going to work for you. From the moment we open the door a designer is thinking about many of these issues. How the entry will look. How the kitchen looks as you enter it. And how to create the WOW when your guest walk in the door.

We’ve pulled together the top five reasons that help answer the question, ‘do I need an interior designer when I have a builder’.

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Image: Lisa Alward - Bella Vie Interiors

5 Reasons You Need an Interior Designer to Work With Your Builder

Interior Design FAQ 1

Keep your vision on track

You’ve taken the time to have plans drawn up for your home. So it makes sense that you want the end result to be everything you expected. An experienced interior designer will help keep your vision, and the architect or building designer’s intent, on track.

When it comes to a division of duties, in general an architect takes care of the build legalities, logistics, planning approval and the use of certain building materials. The builder executes what’s drawn on the plans but, in many cases, they are not known for their creativity or design flair. So, it’s the designer who imparts their expertise on the initial plans to create an interior space that works from both a practical and design perspective.

Having an interior designer on board ensures the details are there throughout the construction process. We help bring together the architect’s intent with internal elements to suit your lifestyle. And when we’re involved from the start, we can help the builder be more efficient, effectively saving you both time and money on your project.

Modern Queenslander renovation building site - Bella Vie Interiors
Completed Renovation of a Queenslander - Bella Vie Interiors
Completed Renovation of a Queenslander - Bella Vie Interiors
Interior Design FAQ 2

Avoid mistakes

Interior designers specialise in space planning. Our role is to realise the full potential of your new home. And as a part of realising its full potential, we help ensure that your team don’t make costly or unsightly mistakes.

An experienced designer can offer valuable insight into the flow and ergonomics of a home. A designer will consider whether rooms are too large or too small and how well they will function for you. We can also look at spaces and see for example, whether a wardrobe is large enough to suit your needs. In some instances you may have a really good floor plan, but the rooms haven’t been designed to cater for ideal furniture placement or for your own special pieces that need to be incorporated.

We pick up on details that you or your team may have missed to ensure you end up with a beautiful and functional home, and not one riddled with mistakes.

Before a Hamptons Style Home Renovation - Bella Vie Interiors
Before a Hamptons Style Home Renovation - Bella Vie Interiors
After a Hamptons Style Home Renovation - Bella Vie Interiors
After a Hamptons Style Home Renovation - Bella Vie Interiors
Interior Design FAQ 3

Simplified communication

Having a designer involved improves your communication (and so your relationship) with your builder. In practical terms, your builder can now get streamlined information from the designer without having to interrupt your day. In the same way, your designer can interpret building jargon for you, ensuring you understand exactly what is happening and when. And you can both avoid the frustration of arranging meetings which forces work on a job to stop.

Additionally, you may find that you have some specific inclusions you’d like in the home that aren’t detailed on the building plans. These could include a freestanding bath with floor mounted bath mixer, wall sconces at a specific height or lamps on side tables in the middle of a room.

If you involve an interior designer before construction, you can start developing some of those ideas before the builder goes too far. No one wants to get to the electrical walk-thru to find it’s too late for floor lamps unless you spend more money to make it happen.

Interior designers plan the details before the first electrical and plumbing rough-ins. And everyone is much happier when a project is well-planned.

Interior Designer site visit - Bella Vie Interiors
Interior Designer site visit - Bella Vie Interiors
Interior Design FAQ 4

Design to suit space and budget

An interior designer can help you better understand your project budget and what’s included. And this means that you’ll be able to finalise a design that suits your space and budget.

Your builder may ask you to go to his supplier to make selections for items he’s made allowances for such as taps, tiles, flooring and cabinetry. If you don’t like the items that fit within the allocated allowance, you potentially face a variation. A variation usually involves selecting a preferred item and wearing an additional cost.

It’s a good sign when your builder spends time with you prior to construction to create budgets and allowances that are realistic to what you want the end result to be. However, builders generally aren’t designers and may not take into consideration the overall aesthetic when making recommendations. This is why working with an interior designer to get the selections right before the budget is finalised is important.

The majority of your selections will be made prior to commencement of a project when working with an interior designer. This helps you understand the real cost of your build project with the exact specifications you agree on.

Bathroom during construction phase - Bella Vie Interiors
Bathroom during construction phase - Bella Vie Interiors
Red Hill House Bathroom Vanity Bella Vie Interiors
Red Hill House Bathroom Vanity Bella Vie Interiors
Interior Design FAQ 5

Add value, synergy and aesthetics

To answer the question of ‘do I need an interior designer’ you simply have to think about value, synergy and aesthetics. Ideally your builder should be organised and communicate clearly and regularly throughout the construction phase. But even with the best builder, sometimes it can be difficult to cut through all the building jargon.

Your Secret Weapon

An interior designer can be your secret weapon to understanding the build process. And this means we can work with your builder to enhance the process of building your home and ensure that the end result gives you value for money and synergistically aligns with your lifestyle and aesthetics.

From the beginning of the build process to the all-important finishing touches at the end, an interior designer can be both a trusted advisor and an advocate. Of course, engaging an interior designer can be considered an extra expense. But it should be viewed as an opportunity to save time and money. It’s just like hiring a quality architect for the plans and builder for the construction of your home. Hiring an interior designer is an opportunity to add significant value to your home.

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Red Hill House as seen in Home Beautiful

So…do I need an interior designer if I have a builder?

The short answer is yes! In our experience, the most successful, smooth and efficient projects use a team of talented experts who are great at what they do. Between them they have clear roles and responsibilities that allows them to shine in their own genius zone. And that means better outcomes and a more beautiful and functional home for you!

Need More Information?

We’d love to help you design the perfect kitchen for your home. Get in touch with our team at Bella Vie Interiors.

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