While an office’s look and feel can be an important recruiting tool, navigating an interior design project can be overwhelming. Today, we’re sharing some common pitfalls to avoid, as well as tips to get your project off to a great start. We asked FSI interior designer, Sara Price, to share some of her tips for completing a successful interior design project. Below, you’ll find the first half of our interview with her.

What should businesses know before starting an interior design project?

They should have a clear idea of their vision and goals. Knowing what they want to accomplish, as well as the kind of environment they want to create, will set the course of the project.

What items should organizations consider before kicking off a project?

  • Budget
  • Timeline or schedule
  • Goals
  • How long the space will be used
  • Any requirements put in place by the landlord
  • The function or purpose of the space
  • Ways to boost efficiency

How can companies plan for the future with their design choices?

  • They should think about how long they want to be in the space, as well as the number of employees it will house. The staff count should also include future projections.
  • The overall design should be timeless. Companies should update for current times without being too trendy.
  • Accommodating current and future technological needs is another important consideration.

What is the process like when teaming with an interior designer?

  1. An introductory meeting is held first to determine scope, aesthetic, budget and vision.
  2. Then, the design team begins by offering options and hosting brainstorming sessions. At our firm, we prepare “thought starters,” or grouped suggestions, to hone in on an overall direction.
  3. Next, the client begins to narrow down what they like.
  4. From that feedback, the design team presents more specific options.
  5. Once a design plan is finalized, we choose finishes together.
  6. Then, a meeting is held with all partners, including the architect, to see how the plans will work together. Any further edits are made now to prevent change orders in the field.
  7. Next, we specify furniture.
  8. After installation, we do a punchlist to make sure all of the details are in place.

What are some common mistakes?

There are a number of common mistakes that can be avoided. The first is not including all of the sub-contractors in the design process. Hosting pre-installation meetings and coordinating with all parties is key to a project’s success. Working directly with A/V and electricians helps to prevent issues during construction. Also, staying on top of product lead times is important. Back orders or lengthy production timelines can throw off construction schedules. Another best practice is to remain aware of the budget throughout the entire process – not just at kick-off.