A few weeks ago, we looked out how to pick the perfect interior designer for you. Today, we’ll look at how to nail the brief to your designer.

Engaging a creative to undertake a job as personal as creating a home for you to raise your family in is a daunting task. There are so many what-ifs and unknowns to overcome. Will they get it right? Do they understand how to make the home feel like my own? Can I afford it? Will I love it? The first thing to adjust is your mindset. You’ll need to gear yourself  to be ready and eager for the adventure. See this journey as an exciting collaboration, rather than the handing over of your keys to the kingdom.

We feel really strongly about collaboration at Sally Caroline. In fact, we’re passionate about it. It’s not about a client coming to us and telling us what to draw, neither is it about us telling a client how to live. This is a creative journey, a partnership in which we jointly explore the many avenues of deviations in idea that the path will take. The right designer undertakes an exploratory journey of understanding with you. They need to nut out how their clients live, and how they can improve this living through a thoughtful and highly considered home. They look at personalities, lifestyle, preferences of taste, style, ambition and goals. The places you’ve been, and where you are now respective to where you’d like to be, all informs our treatment of your home. At least it should!

So, what are the ways for you to adequately prepare for this brief, to ensure all your needs and unforeseen wishes will be resolved in this creative partnership? We love it when clients come to us with a clear brief and list of guides or goalposts to help us determine what success will look like.

Below are our key points that you’ll need to answer in your brief so that we can pick up what you’re putting down:

1. Your family

Who lives in your home (now and in future)?

We need to know upfront who we’re designing for, whom the home needs to support and shelter. This is where you tell us about the family you have, or intend to have.

WHO are we designing for?

2. Your project

Give us the 411 on the project’s specifics. These include the property address, the architectural style of your home. Is it heritage?

We then look at the scope of the work. Is it a new build or renovation? If it’s a renovation, what are the current issues with the home? What rooms or areas will be renovated? Why?

WHAT are we doing?

3. Your Style

We’ll then want to know about your personal style preferences. Most people engage interior designers for a beautiful home first and foremost, so this is important. We want to create a home that will reflect your best you, that you’ll instantly align with. Some great questions to answer here are:

– Make a list of words that describe you

– Describe your style? Are you a minimalist? Do you love extravagance?

– Describe the go-to outfit that you love wearing? How does it make you feel? Why do you love it?

– And your favourite restaurant? Why you love it and how does it makes you feel?  

– What is your favourite Hotel? Why do you love it?

– How would you describe your family lifestyle

– How would you imagine your dream home would look and feel?

– Have you collected images of a few things you like to describe the look and feel you’re going for?

– Who are your design heros? What are your current fave interiors projects? Why?

WHAT’s your style?

4. Budget

Now, most designers are aware that this may not be a number you’ve specified in concrete. You may have a range in mind, or know the limit of your ability to spend. What’s important is knowing what you’re willing to spend and what your viable budget is. Below are some questions to help you answer the big budget question prior to briefing:

– What is the available budget you have to spend? This might be savings, available finance, or the figure you know you’re comfortable to spend.

– What is the viable budget? This the figure you spend on the project before you consider yourself over-capitalised.

It is critical to be clear on your figures and communicate them early on in your project. It’s a tricky topic, but once everyone’s on the same page there’ll be less room for budget blow outs. Trust me when I say the conversations that follow those are a lot more tricky.

HOW MUCH have we got to work with here?

5. Timeframe

What are the key milestones you want to achieve and by when? Are there any restrictions to work with?

Even though you may wish to be in your new home by Christmas, this must be weighed up in likelihood to the scope of works and build program.

WHEN are we working to?

6. How we can best serve / What you would like from us?

What other project considerations would you like us to be across? Will we be helping you from early ideas through to completion?

Or will you manage the build?

How involved will you be?

Will we assist with furniture also?

WHAT else?

And that’s a wrap! Just remember, the more you work on your brief, the better your designer will understand exactly what you’re after. Getting this as close to perfect as possible from the outset saves you from all the errors that miscommunications may bring down the line.


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