top of page

Stages of Interior Design

How many stages are there in the interior design? What are the features of each of them?

Any task as complex and intricate as the construction of a home should be divided into stages for ease of management. There is a specific sequence consisting of 5 stages that is widely employed in the world of construction today.

The steps of process design are:

  • strategic planning;

  • concept;

  • design development;

  • construction documentation;

  • construction management.

Bigger and more complex construction projects may include further stages or break down each stage into other major components. For our purposes, we will look at just these 5 stages of modern step design. This article touches on the basic requirements at each stage, and what is expected to have been achieved when the stage is concluded.

Strategic Planning stage

Image by Christina @
Stage 1

Strategic Planning

This is the first step of 5 in the design process, where the client and designer discuss the project details through questions and answers.

The designer will ask the homeowner about their vision for the overall and individual spaces. The designer then clarifies the vision with queries. The planning stage may include virtual and on-site visits, measurements and photography of the area, and assessments of the client's requirements and building codes.


By the end of this stage, the homeowner will have a clear understanding of the layout, timeline, and cost. A provisional contract will be signed, but both parties can make changes during construction.

Concept stage

The Strategic Planning stage sets the foundation for construction, while the Concept stage determines first-level details.


The homeowner explains needs, preferences for colors, finishes, patterns, materials and furniture.


The design team presents options for each room and object to the homeowner for approval, as the reality may differ from the vision.


Feedback from the homeowner may lead to adjustments and changes, affecting the budget and vision. The client must approve these changes before moving on to the next design stage.

Image by Helena Lopes
Stage 2


Design stage

Image by Jorge De Jorge
Stage 3


The Design stage begins with some decisions made. However, many of the specifics still remain undecided or tentative.


For example, the kitchen's size is set, but specifics like fridge and dishwasher size haven't been chosen by homeowner. Only after picking a model can custom fittings be determined as sizes vary. Colors may change based on choices.


As this stage progresses, we will be able to determine further details of the floor plan. The home owner will receive options for finishing and fixture recommendations.


As before, the client needs to sign off on the recommendations and changes before we move forward.

Stage of construction documentation

By the end of the Design stage, most decisions have been made and the process moves to solidifying them in Construction Documentation. Effective communication is crucial here. Utilize phone calls, emails, and 2D/3D plans and renders to clearly show the client the final outcome. As the designer, you will also need to work with contractors in charge of electrical, plumbing, and other specialized areas. Ensure that final measurements and choices for lighting, elevations, placement, and finishes are confirmed. Obtaining necessary building permits or making changes to existing ones may also be necessary before starting the construction phase. Some designers have an architect or engineer review the entire plan prior to proceeding. With plans mostly finalized, client authorization for few changes may be needed. A formal document should be prepared by both parties.

Image by Daniel McCullough
Stage 4


Maintenance and construction management phase

Climbing a Ladder
Stage 5

Maintenance and

In the Construction stage, the actual building of the home begins after careful planning and review. The contractors have been selected, permits and licenses obtained, components and building materials ordered and delivered. Make sure that there is enough space at the location to safely store materials in a protected area.

The designer and the homeowner should take regular walk-throughs of the site to monitor progress and also to ensure that the construction and installation are being done in accordance with the plans. As the home nears completion, collaborate on the final placement of light fixtures, furniture, and art.


Go read the next lesson to hop into the Strategic Planning and Concept stage.

bottom of page