We receive a lot of what I think of as ‘foundational’ questions about our work—what we do and who we do it for, as well as the costs and process involved. Because of that, we’ve put together our ‘What to Expect Series’ to hopefully answer some of those very common questions. And help you better understand what working with the Bella Vie team will be like. ‘What is the process of working with an interior designer’ is the fourth in our series.

The Interior Design Process: what is the process of working with an interior designer?


If you’ve ever wondered exactly how a living space can go from a dream to a real-life, professionally designed, beautiful space that is perfect for you and your lifestyle, today’s What to Expect piece is for you.

We talk through the stages of the interior design process, from dream to concept to reality. It all starts with your idea and a phone call.

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You have an idea

The starting point for most of our clients is an idea. This might be what an idea about what you’d like your space to look like. Or it may be that you’re undertaking a new build or an ongoing renovation and you need help designing the perfect interior spaces. Or it may be that you have a change in lifestyle, and you’re looking to change your spaces to accommodate that.

Whether you have a fully formed idea, or simply know that you need to make a change, that’s the time to begin the interior designer process.  

The first step – schedule a Discovery Call

At Bella Vie, we specialise in bespoke interior design services, tailored to your project and needs. The first step in the process is to schedule a Discovery Call. This is a complimentary, 15-minute phone conversation where we can touch base about what you’re looking for and you can get a feeling about who we are as interior designers.

This is the perfect start, particularly if you have never worked with an interior designer. You probably have quite a few questions! This is the time for us to put your mind at ease and talk you through the process. Once you have booked a call, you will complete a short questionnaire to help you work through your interior space needs.

Design Consultation

Once we’ve had our Discovery Call and you have decided to engage us as your interior designer the next step is the Design Consultation. This stage of the interior design process is our first two-hour formal design consultation.

At this consultation we talk through what you love and don’t love about your space, how you currently live and how you’d like to live and what works and what absolutely doesn’t. We’ll get your wish list and budget and start to get a feeling of the outcomes you’re looking to achieve and the best way to go about achieving them.

This consultation ideally happens face-to-face or via live Zoom. We are based in Brisbane, but can meet with you virtually no matter where you live in Australia.
Following our Design Consultation, we’ll provide you with a formal Interior Design Proposal outlining the full scope of work and our fees to complete your project.

Site Survey

The site survey is an essential step in the interior design process. It’s at this stage that we come to your property to take on-site measurements and photographs to make a final design assessment and form the project brief. If you are working with an architect or building designer, they’ll create the plans we can refer to. If we are working with you virtually, your builder or a local professional can be arranged to come in and take the measurements for us as well.

Design Phase

This stage of the interior design process is where we gather and refine ideas to develop a unique design concept, tailored to you and your home. We bring together our creative thinking and expertise, detailed documentation and initial costings.

The Design Phase includes the concept development; spacial planning; preparation of floor plans, elevations and a 3D model; design custom elements such as joinery and wall panelling; sourcing; selection of fixtures, finishes, appliances and lighting; and preparation of the final presentation of working drawings and specifications. This phase is charged at a fixed cost, determined by your scope and requirements.

Once the concept design is ready, we present the design to you in person for your review and feedback. Of course, if that’s not possible, our online software enables us to seamlessly deliver presentations and communications to you as well. Your feedback will be used to finalise the design and prepare the final drawings and specification documents for construction.


Decoration Phase

Interior design projects incorporate structural design work, such as living room or bedrooms with custom joinery, kitchens, bathrooms and moving walls. The scope for an interior decoration project includes furnishings only, with no structural changes. Such as furniture and soft furnishings for a living room.

If your project includes both interior design and decoration, we will undertake the interior design before commencing the decoration.

Interior decoration is charged hourly and may include all or some of the following;

  • Selection of furniture, lighting, rugs and accessories to suit the scale of your home and your aesthetic considerations
  • Design of window treatments appropriate to interior
  • Design and management of bespoke upholstery and cushions
  • Curation of artwork
  • Incorporating existing pieces – antiques, family heirlooms, items you love
  • Selection and presentation of everything for approval before we start the ordering process
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Execute Phase

Following design approval, the next stage in the process is the Execute Phase which is tailored to suit your project.

his phase is charged as an ongoing rate and may include all or some of the following:

  • Briefing trades with design drawings and specifications
  • Liaising with trades and suppliers on the design, timeline, and budget
  • Procurement of lighting, furniture and soft furnishings
  • Regular site visits to ensure the design intent is upheld
  • Co-ordinating the delivery of procured items
  • Managing any defects or damage
  • A final reveal at the end when all furniture, products and items are in place
  • Providing you with all the relevant care, warranty, and maintenance information for each specified product

On installation day, your design dream becomes a reality. You can start living in your bespoke, interior designed space that marries beauty, functionality and flow with your own personality and lifestyle. What could be better than that?

What Else to Expect From the WHAT TO EXPECT Series?

Resources to Help You Get Started:

We’d love to work with you and your builder to create a beautiful home. Get in touch with our team at Bella Vie Interiors.

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