A luxurious dressing room by Barbara Hawthorn Interiors.

Design: Checklist

A guide to completing a fun and successful interior-design project

Endless details and decisions can make navigating the waters of the design process a challenge. A good designer will make the journey easy and rewarding—and the tips below will set you on the right track.

  • To choose a designer, go with experience, transparency and fun! In addition to checking references and reputation, make sure you are comfortable and compatible.
  • When arriving at a budget, create a detailed list to avoid surprises. An accurate budget should reflect the entire scope of the project. A contingency fund will give you flexibility.
  • Let your designer help you discover your style. Visuals are helpful. Use design magazines and online resources like Pinterest and Houzz to identify the spaces you find appealing. Also show your designer what you DO NOT like.
  • Working with your designer, make a wish list to identify and articulate your vision and itemize everything you’ll need. Think about creating that WOW! factor.
  • Establish a realistic time frame. Fast will require compromise. Perfection requires taking the time to become educated and make informed choices. Doing the work in phases can help accommodate budget limitations, and can be convenient for living in the space during a renovation.
  • When selecting fabrics, finishes, furniture and lighting: Where possible, go “green,” go local, go with what gives you the best value.
  • Remember that a space is impersonal until art and accessories are added. Those finishing touches provide the fun, excitement, refinement and personal touch.

Source: Barbara Hawthorn, Barbara Hawthorn Interiors. Interior Design: Barbara Hawthorn. Photography: Geoffrey Hodgdon.