Working with building designers and interior designers

Working with building designers and interior designers
Building a house or an extension, or a planning a renovation requires extensive knowledge of building design, engineering, codes, regulations, and requirements. By starting your building or renovation with a clear plan, you can create a home which perfectly suits your style, needs, and ideas.

Interior designers can work together with building designers if your plan requires it, and work with builders to fit out the house with appliances and permanent fixtures.

Communicating with your building designer and interior designer clearly during the planning phase is integral to getting the right results. You can bring pictures, drawings, magazine clippings, and anything which will give the designer an idea of what you like. Write down what your home needs in terms of form and function, and remember to let the professional make judgement calls based on their expertise.


Form refers to the design and style of your home. This includes things like colour schemes, traditional vs contemporary design, materials, atmosphere, and any aesthetic elements. Choosing a specific style will give your design direction and tie together each room in your home. Different styles include “industrial”, “minimalist”, and “Scandinavian”, for example. Your chosen style needs to be clear to your building designer and your interior designer, so features like exposed brick walls or high, arched windows can be incorporated from the start. It’s also a good time to mention any favourite items and features you want to accommodate in your design; things like a free-standing bath, an interior garden bed, or a special place for a treasured family heirloom.

This is the time to consider things like lighting and flooring as well. The floor is a huge surface, which has an impact on the style and atmosphere of your home. You might favour luxurious carpets and hardwood, or practical and hardwearing polished concrete or tiles. It’s important to consider what type of flooring you will be installing as you plan your home so that you builder can set down the right base. Lighting is equally important to consider. Will you want skylights and tall windows for natural light, or perhaps a lit up wall recess to house a work of art or a set of display shelves? Your designer can show you how to make the most of your chosen materials and preferred style.


The function of the house refers to things like the number of bedrooms, layout, storage, and position and shape of the building. Your designer will need to know whether you favour an open plan design, if you want a study or an ensuite, and things like entertaining or indoor/outdoor areas. Perhaps you live near the highway or airport and want to block out sounds. Kitchens and bathrooms come in different styles and layouts, and it can be very expensive to change these once things like plumbing and fittings are installed. Research types of kitchens and bathrooms to find the layout and style which complements your lifestyle. If you have children or pets this is a good time to ensure that your design is safe and suitable for their needs.

A building designer will work with you to draw up a sketch of what the building will look like. Many designers now use 3D modelling to give their clients a more immersive experience. This is a great time to make any changes to the plan, as you will be able to clearly see problems or elements you don’t like. Naturally there will be some elements you cannot control, like the direction of the sun, or the slope of the land. This is where the building designers’ expertise comes in. The designer will work with your preferences and their own creative talent to create something which is both to your taste and is also functional. Make sure you love the design before you go ahead with it. It might feel uncomfortable to ask for changes several times, but this is the time to make changes! Holding your tongue until development is underway can cause financial and logistical problems.

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