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Bringing in a professional interior designer can help you achieve your dream home within your budget and without headaches. From an outside perspective, the interior design process may seem like just picking out paint colors and putting out fresh flowers; however, luxury interior designers know that interior design is much different than interior decorating and requires a great deal of planning, preparation, and execution.

Working with an interior designer to handle the planning, budget, scheduling, and contractor coordination can take a lot of weight off your shoulders when designing your home. While we handle the minutiae, you can focus on your vision for your new home.

Whether you’re considering hiring a pro for your next extensive renovation or you’ve already chosen to move forward with an interior designer, understanding the process can help it go more smoothly. We’ve put together an overview of what our interior design process looks like so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

Interior Design Timeline

The time it takes to complete an interior design project varies based on project complexity, but the average duration is about 2-4 months. The process usually looks something like this:

  • Hiring an interior designer: 1-2 weeks
  • Proposal and contract signing: 1-2 weeks
  • Concept boards and renderings: 3-6 weeks
  • Design revisions and approvals: 1-2 weeks
  • Materials and construction: 8-16 weeks
  • Furnishings and decor: 1-2 days

Stage #1: Design

The Initial Meeting

After hiring an interior designer, an initial meeting usually takes place to learn about your lifestyle, tastes, needs, budget, and vision for your new space. Luxury interior designers work hard to make sure the homes they design for their clients fit their personality and style. In the planning stage, we will:

  • Discuss the project in detail
  • Go over style preferences, ideas, and vision boards
  • Conduct a site visit to measure, photograph, and inspect the space
  • Inspect building codes and city regulations
  • Establish a preliminary budget

This is an integral part of the interior design plans because it helps us ensure that you get exactly what you’re looking for in your home. After this initial meeting, we will develop a proposal and enter the contract signing portion of the process.

Interior design drawings and paint samples laid out on a table. Luxury Interior Designers.

Concept Boards

Concept boards are a fantastic tool that many interior designers use to envision the direction of the project. They are visual presentations of the style, mood, colors, and textures that we want to use in the room. A good concept board will convey the overall feeling and final look of the space.

Some designers use physical collage boards; however, many pros gravitate toward digital renderings for convenience and precision.

We usually group concept boards into three categories:

  • 2D Board: A physical collage presented on A3 cardboard
  • 3D Spatial Drawing: 3D mechanical drawing
  • 3D Spatial Rendering: 3D prototypes of an architectural layout

The final package of design specs may include floor plans, color palettes, lighting locations, interior elevations, and other details. There will also be an interior specifications document that outlines all the materials, finishes, and installation methods needed. This is a crucial part of the interior design process that acts as a preliminary requisite to hiring contractors and vendors.

3D Rendering of a living room design. Luxury Interior Designers.

Step #2: Procurement

Contractors & Vendors

Following the planning stage, your designer will start gathering a team of subcontractors to plan any construction, painting, wallpapering, electrical work, window treatments, custom furniture, or plumbing your project requires. One of the qualities to look for when hiring an interior designer is a solid reputation with local contractors and vendors.

The Nativa Interiors design team has established relationships with various skilled contractors and builders in Southern California. Our team will work with you to manage communications, negotiate prices, and coordinate schedules. During this phase, interior designers will complete the following tasks:

  • Provide drawings & renderings required for building permits
  • Prepare a tender package that outlines the timeline, project description, and significant categories
  • Recommend contractors/builders to bid on the project
  • Arrange site visits and inspections
  • Review bids and contractors to ensure quality work and fair pricing

During this stage of the interior design process, we take all necessary measurements, and each contractor provides you with an initial quote. One of the benefits of hiring a design firm is minimizing costly mistakes due to mismeasuring and miscommunications.

Tile material options laid out on a table. Luxury Interior Designers.

After approving the floor plan and hiring contractors, we will gather materials for interior and exterior finishes, cabinetry, lighting, and other interior details.

Did you know that hiring luxury interior designers can actually save you money? Our designers have connections to many high-end vendors in the San Diego area and can often negotiate lower prices, leaving more flexibility in your budget. Some of the finishes we’ll purchase in this stage include:

Exterior Finishes:

  • Roofing material
  • Siding & Stucco
  • Gutters & downspouts
  • Decking, railing, etc.
  • Garage doors
  • Entry & side doors
  • Window shutters

Interior Finishes:

  • Paint & wallpaper
  • Tiling
  • Flooring
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Fireplace
  • Interior doors & hardware
  • Base and molding

After approving all finishes, ordering materials, and hiring contractors, your designer will provide a final estimate for your project.

Turn-Key Service

When you work with our design team at Nativa Interiors, you can bypass many of the steps above coordinating with vendors and contractors. Instead, we provide turn-key services both during the design and production phases. We design the space. We manufacture the furniture. We deliver each piece to your home and finally install them in the room of your choice. Owning our furniture production facility gives us the capability to offer a wide range of personalization options and style alternatives to go along with an eclectic collection of décor, lighting, accessories, and curated artwork.

Nativa Interiors custom furniture. Luxury Interior Designers.


Stage 3: Production


Throughout your project, your interior designer will oversee all construction, contractor communication, and deadlines. We’ll work with you during the entire process and stay involved until the end to make sure everything is going according to plan. During this phase, interior designers:

  • Answer any questions the contractor may have during construction
  • Manage any necessary changes or alterations you may want to make
  • Conduct site visits to ensure construction matches design drawings
  • Perform crisis management when roadblocks and unforeseen circumstances arise

Interior designers relieve you of the pressure of managing a complicated design project and juggling contractors and vendors. Our job is to make sure you get the home of your dreams on your terms.

Home going through the renovation process

Premier San Diego Luxury Interior Designers

Interested in working with an interior designer for your next home renovation? Our award-winning high-end interior design team has gained its experience over the last 20 years through more than 1000 projects servicing Southern California, the US, and internationally. Very diverse in taste and style, whether you are looking for Mediterranean, Modern Mountain, Contemporary, Transitional or Coastal décor style, we’ll be able to pair you with the best representative to match your needs.

Connect one-on-one with our luxury interior designers to discuss how we can help your interior design process go smoothly.