What is a Client Brief?

A client brief is the initial stage of an interior design consultation and is as much about the designer as it is about the client.


It is important for the designer to obtain a detailed client brief so they can understand exactly what the client wants and their expectations, it also determines the budget which is key to any design project as it is important for the designer to find out if a client can afford the services and then if they’re expectation align with the budget, because often they don’t and those hard conversations need to be had straightaway so everyone is on the same page.

A thorough client brief is critical because it establishes trust with a client.



A client brief sets the intentions and vision of the project. This is where budget is discussed, timelines, styles, and any other key information that is critical to the first stage of getting a interior design project off the ground.


Some interior designers might do a site measure during this stage, however I don’t for the simple fact that it can be very time consuming and if the client decides to not go ahead with the project its is time wasted, so I do not do the site visit until a design agreement has been signed and a “start fee” has been paid.


Understanding the design requirements is another section of the client brief and breaking it down so the client understands each component involved, such as which trades are needed, maybe the client needs a colour consultant or a flooring specialist, or a designer that specialises in lighting –  I’ve worked on high end homes where a art gallery consultant was required to source and hang incredibly rare and priceless artwork. So these things all need to be considered in the client brief.


Finding out if the client has worked with a designer before is important to note, most haven’t so they don’t know what to expect – this is a good opportunity to set the expectations and discuss the process.


It is important to understand who the decision makers are. In my experience if you miss this step you can easily have a project cancelled due to parties disagreeing or become a mediator between parties when something is installed within a property via permission from one of the parties but the other didn’t agree, this is not a fun situation to be in. So making sure all decision makers are involved is critical.


When it comes to the cost of a floor lamp for example, what one person considers expensive may be too cheap for someone else, understanding what your client deems as expensive is important, also understanding where a client would prefer to spend the bulk of their budget is important as well. Some may want high quality furniture but you can skimp on the accessories, whilst others may want particular items high quality and everything else can be mediocre. Finding out where a client shops or stores they prefer can also hint towards this and provide useful intelligence on where they might like you to shop as well.


Asking how did you hear about us is pretty important. If you never see the client again after that initial client brief, it should be something asked as a matter of course.


And of course lastly, asking the client about their style and what kind of furniture they prefer such as do they have a preference for green products or eco paint options, these will need to be things considered or passed on to the painter so the clients desires are being met.


I hope these things have answered your question about the interior design client brief. Let Calmnest know if you have any other questions, or if you would like to book a consultation of your own. You can do this by using the contact details or form here.






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