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How can I save time on interior design?

It happens to the best of us...

You say you'll just spend 10 minutes of your day / lunchbreak / evening looking for the right light fitting, then before you know it 3 hours have past, it's 11pm and you've got way too many Pinterest tabs open. THEN even when you've found the "perfect" item...the next day is no different seeing if there's something better...and the cycle begins again.

It's all too easy to fall into! Here's our best advice on how to limit the time you spend on your design.

WHO are you designing for?

Because if you've not got your target market in mind, any work you do is essentially wasted. Spend as much time as you like on the details for your own house, for investment properties, taking personal taste out of the equation makes things easier as it's all about your target buyer and what they want.

What is your budget?

And be honest — it makes it very easy to discount items, which is half the battle!

Once you know those two key things...


We say it a lot but a moodboard is a powerful tool for helping you focus on your scheme. It might take a few attempts to get it where you want, but time spent at this stage will dramatically reduce the time you spend throughout your project, by giving you a reference point for any creative decisions.

A moodboard doesn't need to be too specific at the start, but should give an indication on how you want your space to feel when you look at all the images together. Further down the line you can add more specific references for colours, materials and even furniture to help build the visual picture.

Interior Design moodboard for HMO coliving space. Navy and natural wood with stone accents and black fittings

Limit your palette

3 colours (plus black & a white/neutral) is more than enough to design an entire property. Any more than that makes things more complicated in terms of designing a cohesive scheme, but also for your contractors that have to follow the plan! Instead try using shades of one colour to create a complimentary (and easier to manage!) interior.

Don't sweat the small stuff too early

Yes — details are important. BUT getting hung up on specifics when the project hasn't even started yet is a sure fire way to waste time and create unnecessary stress. Things inevitably don't go to plan and will change as you go through the project so start wide and slowly filter down...we like to follow the below when we're working through a creative scheme.

Moodboard process - research, edit, develop, edit, final detail

DISCOVERY Go wild with inspiration and research — don't limit yourself!

EDIT what you've found to more cohesive moodboards that sit well together

DEVELOP the scheme, either add where things are missing

EDIT again — be ruthless! So that everything feels like it sits together and you start to see a more detailed picture

THE DETAIL where everything comes together and you can start to look for specific elements to cost up against your budget (it's much easier to switch out one specific thing for something similar, over not being sure what you're looking for)

The Create Process - Awesome, tricky, shit, I'm shit, OK, awesome

Inevitably your process will actually feel something like this...but know that it's not just you!

Plan ahead

(& give yourself deadlines)

Make a plan and stick to your deadlines to avoid analysis paralysis on what precise shade of navy to paint the headboard wall.

BUT plan for things to take longer than you think. Designing an interior scheme is not always linear and can be a lengthy process, and snap decisions are rarely the right ones. So give yourself enough time so those unexpected waves of genius that come when you're on a train or in the shower can be developed and worked into your design!

The added benefit of planning ahead is taking advantage of current supplier costs and also means there's time to change anything that doesn't quite work before it becomes an issue on site.

Interior designer working on a specification on a laptop.

Get organised

Unfortunately this means folders and spreadsheets! (Design isn't just pretty moodboards and shopping—I wish) Screengrab images of specific products you're using, and use a spreadsheet to keep track of costs (get in touch with us and we can share one with you). It's not the most fun but it DOES save an incredible amount of time having everything is in one place and ready to buy when it's needed.

This also means that items you like using can easily be copied and pasted into future projects, rather than hunting around for the product again.

Learn from mistakes

Every project is a learning curve. Mistakes happen but it only means you're more prepared for next time. Plus with every project you'll end up spending less and less time on the design as you start to develop your own unique style.

— C —


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