Elegant lighting and perfectly textured upholstery make a house beautiful, but the art of interior design lies in creating a space that functions as a home. The job of the interior designer is to design a space that enhances their client's daily life—a process that usually begins with a client questionnaire.
Thoughtful questions and critical thinking should continue throughout the design process but asking the right questions in the initial consultation is key—the insight you gather there sets the tone for the rest of the project.
What exactly are the 'right questions'? Visualist speaks to five top interior designers to find out what they've got jotted down on their client intake form...
Jason Lai - the decision driver
Who is the decision-maker?
Deliberating on design decisions is important and you definitely want to cater to all party's tastes and requirements, but ultimately someone has to make a decision.
When dealing with multiple occupants, namely couples, it's helpful to identify whom you can trust to give you an answer and keep the project moving forward.
Jason Lai is the founder and principal designer of JL Interiors. Read our full interview with Jason Lai.
Jenny Branson - the functionalist
Why isn’t this space working at the moment?
Naturally, you need to know the key existing problems with the space before seeking to resolve them.
If you can understand why the design of a room is currently impeding your client's lifestyle, then you can really hone in on the functional priorities for the new space.
Jenny Branson is a Houzz award winning interior designer. Read our full interview with Jenny Branson.
Dean Keyworth - the logistical mastermind
Where do you envisage having your Christmas tree?
There needs to be a socket in the right place for fairy lights!
This question might seem trivial, but it speaks to a wider consideration of what your client logistically requires from their home—ease of fairy light adornment is a tangible example of how functional a home is.
As an interior designer, your work should adapt to your client's lifestyle—not the other way around.
Dean Keyworth is the former president of and founder of Armstrong Keyworth Interiors. Read our full interview with Dean Keyworth.
Nicole Forina - the sensible scheduler
When would you like to start and finish the project?
It is important to then be honest about how realistic that timeline for completion is.
Is your client willing to wait months for that bespoke piece of furniture to arrive or is a quick hassle-free turnaround their priority? Best to know before you put in the order!
Nicole Forina is the founder of NF Home. Read our full interview with Nicole Forina.
Lily Paulson Ellis - the guest-lister
Who will be using the space?
The family, dogs and children? Or do you intend to reserve it as a grown-ups-only space? Knowing who is 'on the guest list' for each room will help you to see how that space contributes to the house as a whole—is this room the life of the party, or the quiet area to hideaway and chill?
It will also help you to identify whose opinions/preferences to prioritise for that specific space—who better to inform a room's design than those who will be using it every day?
Lily Paulson-Ellis is the founder of LPE Designs. Read our full interview with Lily Paulson-Ellis.
Interior designers, looking for an interactive way to do your client deep dives? Stay tuned for docs in Visualist. Follow us on Instagram for updates.