When I first speak to a potential new client, they sometimes say – ‘I am having an extension built now, I will call you back when it’s finished and I am ready to think about the interior design.’

My response is always the same: ‘It’s never too soon to start thinking about your project!’

Often I meet people who already have a team of  builders in laying floors, fitting kitchens, moving walls and then they call me in to get some advice on how to decorate furnish the space. By that stage there are often several constraints in place. Which I can work around of course. But I encourage people where possible to think of the space as a whole to begin with.

Take this scenario as an example:

You have just built an extension on to your kitchen. This now gives you plenty of space for a living area aswell as a large dining table. Although only after your kitchen is installed do you realise it’s quite tricky to find the type of sofa you had in mind to fit the space. Not only that but your kitchen is ready for use and any sofas you do see are going to take 2-3 months to be delivered. So your new room will not feel complete for a while yet!

A good interior designer will help you plan the whole room in advance of any decisions you need to make. This planning will involve decisions on layout, colour, materials, flooring, lighting, furniture, window treatments, artwork and accessories (to name but a few!). In the case of the scenario I described above, you may have proposals from a kitchen supplier or you may ask your interior designer to help you with initial layout ideas. And when the builders are ready to lay the floor you won’t be scrambling around tile shops trying to make a last minute decision.

Usually from when I first meet a new client until the whole redecoration project is complete it is a least a few months. This is partly because during the design stage of the project people appreciate being able to explore a few options, take their time and not feel under pressure to make hasty decisions they may regret. But the timescale is also due to the fact that curtains, sofas, and furniture in general can take a number of weeks to be manufactured, especially if it is being custom made.

If you are just starting a refurbishment or extension project, or still just thinking about it, a leisurely and enjoyable design stage followed by a number of weeks to order all the furnishings can be ticking away nicely alongside the building work. This will also help you focus on the end goal of having a completed room, ready to use and enjoy as soon as possible after the building work is done!