MASTER PLANNING: an interior designer’s perspective

  • “Where do we begin?”
  • “We have so many things we want to do, but we are not sure how to go about accomplishing them all.”
  • “We want to move forward, but we can only afford to do this room for now.”

This is some of the dialog I hear upon receiving a telephone inquiry or meeting with a client to discuss how I can help them with their interior design needs. Whether the project involves one room or an entire home, planning accordingly is of utmost importance. This allows the client to make informed decisions regarding budget, scheduling, specifying and purchasing.

Where do we begin?

Just like most things in life, having a plan going forward provides parameters that enable one to have a sense of the scale of a project or task. I like to provide my clients with a road map for their needs. At the initial phone call or meeting with a client I learn of what they are seeking to do with their home. Sometimes, through this conversation we discover other areas that they have been thinking of working on, but have pushed aside in light of prioritizing the task they feel is at the forefront. By sharing all of their thoughts, we can not only focus on the space they would like to begin with, but also lay the groundwork for the additional areas for the future. It sometimes makes sense to add these other areas while doing their main thoughts, just because costs may factor in that enable them to get more for their dollar in the end.


We have so many things we want to do, but we are not sure how to go about accomplishing them.

Write a list. Bullets down the side of the page with ALL of the items listed.          It begins with:

  • Construction: do the changes involve an addition, are we removing or adding walls.
  • Will we be selecting light fixtures, flooring, wall finishes, doors, windows or heating system. I try to get a general idea of the next level of detail. Will I need to contact my subcontractors as well.
  • Kitchen: cabinets, counter tops, flooring, appliances, lighting, furnishings, backsplashes, window treatments, etc.
  • Bathroom: vanity, tub/shower, flooring, fixtures, flooring, wall finishes, tile work, medicine cabinets, lighting, storage space, window treatments, etc.
  • Living room, dining room, bedroom or den: wall finishes, flooring, window treatments, upholstered pieces, furnishings, lighting, tables, case goods, bedding, pillows, carpeting/area rugs, artwork, etc.

My responsibility to my client is to help create this list, if they have not already, so that the magnitude of the project is not quite so overwhelming. There may be several decisions to make, but once they can see them in this format, it provides a checklist once the project begins. It also provides the road map to which I referred to earlier.


We want to move forward, but we can only afford to do this room for now.

By creating the master plan for the entire project, it allows the client to budget and prioritize what they can and want to do now but also plan for their future projects. Often times, while working on one area we come across design ideas that can be noted for the next area to be worked on. Whether it’s a fabric to be used for reupholstering a sofa at a later date, a vanity for a bathroom discovered while selecting cabinetry for a kitchen or ordering window blinds for several rooms because they were being offered at a special discount. Being able to view the project as a whole at the onset and then breakdown all of the components, allows the client to have a better grasp of  the details involved with creating not only a beautiful space but also a functional one. In the end, master planning for your project can actually help save you money.


For additional questions or thoughts, please contact:                                       

 Lisa Kawski at lmk interiors, ltd. or

Have wonderful holiday season!


  1. Leslie December 16, 2009

    Niceley organized!!

  2. Elizabeth December 16, 2009

    word….cool pic 🙂

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