The true nature of a design project’s timeline can be tough to nail down without some expertise. And home makeover shows, though entertaining, certainly don’t help create realistic expectations. (I’ll be the first to say, yes, our team does get its beauty sleep at night!)
But if you’re considering an interior design project now or in the future, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Success in the real world is very different from success on TV.
To help pull back the curtain, I’m sharing the phases and timelines you can expect from a design project with or without construction.
Calendar and notepad ready? Let’s go!
Edit: Due to COVID, we are still seeing many delays in production and shipping due to shutdowns. These types of delays are unfortunately out of our control, but we have learned the amount of cushion needed to properly construct your project’s schedule. We will map out your exact timeline together, but for a quick estimation, add 20% to all timelines quoted here.
Phase I: Assembling a Team You Trust
I talked about how to assemble your design project’s dream team here, but as far as timeline goes, you’ll want to start finding your squad well in advance.
Design and building professionals will have to schedule your project around their current work, and contractors especially — thanks to the uptick of the economy — are usually booked several months out. (Once you decide on a contractor, get on their schedule!!!)
One of the reasons we suggest starting your team with a designer is because we use your goals (shared in your initial design consultation) to create a schedule for everything: every meeting, presentation, necessary approval, construction or design phase, and project wrap-up.
This lets you plan ahead and keep your personal schedule as uninterrupted as possible.
Timeline: A few weeks to a few months, depending on the team members needed
Phase II: Schematic Design
The Schematic Design phase consists of a fully conceptualized plan for your space. Just a few of the many details we nail down in this phase:
- Your project timeline, complete with all phase, meeting, and presentation dates
- Space plan based on your desires and needs
- List of products that will need to be sourced
- Range of possible investments for Good, Better, and Best levels of furnishings
- Design concept boards to capture the “vibe” or “feel” of the space
This is crucial for any successful design project, but especially if your project involves construction. We’ll know in advance how many walls are staying, whether plumbing is getting moved, and the general level of finishes you want.
This is a HUGE advantage for getting accurate quotes from contractors!
Standard Timeline for Schematic Phase:
- Single Room: 2-3 weeks
- Whole House: 4-6 weeks
Design Timeline with Construction:
- Single Room: 2-3 weeks + 2-4 weeks to obtain contractor quotes
- Whole House: 4-6 weeks + 4-5 weeks to obtain contractor quotes
Phase III: Design Development
This is where we really get down to business! Taking your budget and the concepts we developed in the Schematic Design phase, we’ll make selections for every detail in your space… furnishings, fabrics, finishes, lighting, plumbing fixtures, draperies, trim, etc.
For construction projects, we make all selections that will impact construction first (i.e. we pick tile, flooring, etc. BEFORE sourcing sofas and rugs).
Every. Last. Detail. To be mindful of your budget, we also collect quotes and samples as we go — which we make sure to align with our predetermined timeline.
Next, you’ll be presented with our selections! You’ll have the opportunity to share any feedback and receive any revisions. Once approved, we create proposals for the items, receive payment, and submit official purchase orders on your behalf.
Standard Timeline for Design Development Phase:
- Single Room: 2-3 weeks for selections + 1-2 weeks for revisions and proposal creation
- Whole House: 4-6 weeks for selections + 2-3 weeks for revisions and proposal creation
Design Timeline with Construction:
- Single Room: 2-3 weeks for construction selections + 1-2 weeks for revisions
- Whole House: 4-6 weeks for selections + 2-3 weeks for revisions
Please Note: If materials are specified during this phase but not ordered shortly thereafter in Phase IV, you run the risk of your items becoming unavailable and potentially pushing back your timeline.
This is the process of finalizing all drawings, which usually include a final space plan, reflected lighting plan (RCP), switching plan, millwork elevations, as well as detailed finish and material schedules. This simply tells the contractor and his team what materials were selected, where they go, in what direction.
For large projects, this could be hundreds of line items! Keeping them all straight is imperative to ensure proper installation — and other reason why our meticulous organization is so important.
Timeline: 2-4 weeks, but up to several months for an architectural project
Phase IV: Item Procurement
You won’t see much going on during this phase, but this is when the most magic is happening behind the scenes — and our buttoned-up processes really come into play!
Procurement involves placing highly detailed orders for your items, communicating with vendors and manufacturers, tracking shipments and deliveries, handling any issues that arise, and storing every item with the utmost care in our warehouse…
…along with receiving the items, checking them for damage, managing them as needed, and prepping the lot for delivery.
This is also when we start planning and gearing up for Phase V, your highly-anticipated Install Day!
Standard Timeline for Procurement Phase:
- Single Room: 1-2 weeks for ordering + 6-12 week lead time
- Whole House: 2-3 weeks for ordering + 6-12 week lead time
Design Timeline with Construction:
- Single Room: 1-2 weeks for ordering + 2-6 week lead time
- Whole House: 3-4 weeks for ordering + 2-6 week lead time
Please Note: Any delays in payment will delay the ordering of your materials selections, which runs the risk of your items becoming unavailable and potentially pushing back your timeline. (Gasp!)
[Construction-Only Phase] The Actual Construction
Once construction is underway, you can expect renovations to take anywhere from 3 weeks to several months depending on the scope of your project.
You’ll know the timeline of your construction project well in advance (see Phase II), so you can schedule around it and keep your usual lifestyle as uninterrupted as possible.
Timeline for Construction: 3 weeks to several months, depending on the scope
Phase V: In-Home Installation
Treat yourself to day out while the Blakely team goes all hands on deck! This is the moment when we finally get to install the items we’ve ordered for you and professionally style your space to the nth degree.
You know that moment on design shows when the homeowners gasp, laugh, and cry all at once? When you arrive home at the end of the day and see your new space, you’ll know exactly how all those emotions are possible!
Don’t worry, though — we’ll all be laughing and crying right along with you. 🙂
Standard Timeline: 1 day, 2-3 days for larger projects
Whew! Not quite the snap of the fingers TV makes it out to be, right? But I can tell you… the final result is no less magical. More so, in fact, since it’s yours.
While these time estimates should help you calculate a rough start date and timeline for your project, our Interior Design Project Planner is an equally valuable resource for you. Be sure to download it if you haven’t yet!