How to Design a Residential Space - The Interior Design Process #1

One of the most useful things I learned when I studied interior design was one of our first ever modules: The Design Process. This is something that can be used and adapted by anybody -whether you are redecorating your university room, redesigning every room in the house or even if you are designing and building a home from scratch. This process will help you to make the most of your home, as well as making sure that you don't miss out on any important pieces of information that could affect the way your space flows.

Interior design is the creation of environments that balance the use of the space with aesthetic considerations. (So basically, we want to successfully balance function with aesthetics.)

There are six steps to the design process (if you are designing a space for yourself, you are the client):

ANALYSE - client needs, requirements & priorities | create a list of data | measure parameters

RESEARCH - collect data to look at: ideas, inspiration, materials, design solutions

DEVELOP INITIAL IDEAS - brainstorming | discussion | sketches | alternative options

REFINE - examine ideas | reject & accept ideas based on criteria | refine sketches | analyse solutions

DECIDE - select one solution | is the design successful? | obtain client agreement

IMPLEMENT - make the design a reality | cost & approval | working drawings | spec and schedule | ordering goods


For residential design, you need to understand the clients lifestyle as well as their emotional and psychological requirements. The easiest way to do this is by writing out a client brief.

Your brief should consist of 2 parts and cover the following:

- the main purpose of your design
- the function of the space and the activities that people using it will carry out there
- the atmosphere required
- the parameters, size of space & areas to be included
- the site situation, aspect, access, climate & cultural influences

Here's an example of a brief that I developed in my studies:

A married couple with two teenage children and two young children have asked for a complete refurbishment of their large three-storey country house, situated on the outskirts of London. All children have many hobbies and activities which involve their friends visiting them, and the teenage children need private space for studying and practicing extra-curriculum activities. The husband has a busy financial job in the city. The wife works from home as a writer. The couple are sociable and regularly host family & friends, during holidays and special occasions their extended family typically stay over.

*highlight the important parts then draw a bubble diagram with each part.

Click the image to open.

If you want to take it one step further, a good idea is to write down in detail exactly how each person uses their space daily. This way, you can work out the best flow for the space for each individual.

I hope this post helped you guys to figure out where to start with design, you can tailor this to your own needs and figure out which parts work for you and which don't! Make sure to keep an eye out for the next post in this series.


Love, Bethany


tags: interior design, how to


*NOTE! Bethany Riley Interiors has been nominated for Best Newcomer Blog in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018, if you're a regular reader and think the blog deserves to win then please vote through this link!