By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!

The Crucial Role of Interior Designers in Construction Projects








Often, when our clients think of construction, they picture architects drawing the plans and the contractors executing them. But there’s a pivotal player who is frequently misunderstood, and that’s us the interior designer. 

Unlike the architect, who focuses on structural integrity and external esthetics, and the contractor, who brings this vision to life, the interior designer harmonizes the function, safety, and style within the space. We ensure that the final outcome is not only beautiful but also practical and comfortable for our clients. 

We need to understand and educate people on the distinct roles and strengths of each of these three professionals and what they bring to a construction project. And most importantly, how an interior designer’s role is crucial for bridging the gap between the client’s vision and the project’s execution. 

Contractors are the backbone of any construction project.

Contractors translate architectural designs into physical reality. Their expertise lies in understanding construction methodologies, managing construction sites, building a team, and ensuring that the build adheres to codes and safety standards. However, their focus is not on the esthetic or the detailed functional aspects of the finishes or the flow of the rooms. 

Contractors may offer suggestions based on practicality or availability, but they do not have the bandwidth or the specialized knowledge to guide homeowners through extensive selection processes of all finishes required in any construction project. 

This can include not just choosing materials but also understanding their durability, their maintenance, and their suitability for the different spaces based on the client’s lifestyles, needs, and goals.


Architects are known for their ability to create cohesive and functional designs. They make selections regarding some finishes and materials along the way. Nonetheless, their primary focus remains on structural integrity, spatial functionality, and the overall aesthetic from a macro perspective. While architects are capable of making informed selections, they may not dedicate as much time to staying abreast of the latest trends, innovations, and materials as we do in our field.

So, as interior designers, we live in a unique niche in the construction and design process.

We’re the specialists who blend aesthetic vision and practical functionality, focusing intently on the livability and personality of the space. 

We dedicate a significant portion of our time to understanding the market’s latest offerings, from cutting-edge sustainable materials to the latest smart home technology. Our continuous education allows us to bring innovative solutions and trends to the table for our clients, ensuring that the space is not only beautiful but also aligned with the latest standards of comfort, efficiency, and style. 

Unlike contractors who might meet the clients later on in the process, possibly just before the work begins, or architects who might be more focused on the structural and spatial aspects required to meet the programming needs set by the clients, interior designers engage intimately with the client’s vision. This close relationship allows us to anticipate the clients’ reactions to proposals and alternatives, ensuring that decisions made throughout the project also resonate with the client’s tastes and expectations. 

As a construction project evolves, unforeseen issues and decisions are inevitably being discovered. Because we are armed with this intimate knowledge of our client’s preferences and the latest design solutions, we’re adept at navigating these challenges on the fly. 

So, as interior designers, we possess a unique set of project management skills honed through our extensive experience managing decorating projects from the initial selection stage through to the final installation. 

Our project management abilities are built on a foundation of clear communication, strategic planning, and problem-solving skills, which allows us to oversee projects with multiple moving parts and ensure a seamless, efficient completion. 

So, it is important to educate our clients as well as industry professionals that are incorporating an interior designer from the beginning of the construction process not only ensures that the design aligns with the client’s lifestyle and desires but our involvement also presents a significant financial advantage. Clients definitely do not understand that implementing ideas and strategies at the onset can help avoid costly changes that occur when plans need to be modified after they are drawn. 

While it’s true that many architects see interior designers as focusing primarily on superficial elements rather than the structural or spatial challenges of a project, bridging this territorial gap begins with mutual recognition of the complementary skills each of our professions brings to the table. 

We, as interior designers, must articulate our role as one that elevates the architect’s vision. By ensuring that the space not only looks exceptional but also lives exceptionally well. 

Together, we’re not just challenging outdated stereotypes; we want to redefine excellence and foster a new era of collaboration within the construction industry!

I do believe this is possible. We are all seeking this level of respect and professionalism, spoken about in today’s episode.

The most important piece to keep in mind is that there is a large group of professionally skilled interior designers on construction sites every day. It is easy to lose sight of that when you are the only girl on the job site and/or working alone or in a small firm.

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