Writing a great Interior Design brief

Writing a great Interior Design brief: 5 key factors that can’t be overlooked

Whether you are planning a new development or a simple renovation, the overall success of your project is directly dependent on the quality of the information included in the initial brief. And when it comes to the Interior Design part, there are key elements that must be addressed at this early stage. 

At Gilmore Interior Design we work closely with all our clients from the Aged Care, Health Care, Commercial and Residential sectors in the development of their briefs, and it is the role of your Interior Design consultant to guide you through this process. 

However, to help you prepare and ensure you are equipped to give your Design team all the information they need well in advance, here are the 5 key elements that can make or break a good brief: 


As Interior Designers, we want to know: 

  • What is the overall vision for the space you are creating?
  • What do you want the space (s) to feel like? 
  • What do you want the space (s) to look like? 
  • What sparked the need to create this space?
  • What other spaces inspire you? 
  • Do you have examples of other spaces that deliver on just what you need?
  • Do you have a style and theme in mind? 
  • What are the mandatories for this space? 
  • What are the absolute NOs?
  • What activities will take place in the space?

Curating images for inspiration is also a must here (hello, Pinterest). The more information you share with the design team, the more accurately they will be able to respond to your vision. 


It is also crucial to determine, from the start, the scope of the project, and the roles that each consultant will play. 

  • What will the Design team be responsible for? 
  • Are you engaging other consultants directly or would you like the Design team to lead and coordinate the entire process including project management and procurement
  • Where do their responsibilities start and end? 
  • Who are the stakeholders/decision makers responsible for approvals
  • How will the overlaps between consultants be managed?

Your Interior Design team can coordinate and deliver the entire project, including all consultants, for you. 


It is very important to establish:

  • What is the total project budget?
  • Do you have a breakdown for areas / phases? 
  • Does it include GST?
  • Have you considered the demolition costs (in case of renovations)?
  • Does it include a contingency for emergencies?
  • When is the space going to be occupied? 
  • Is there any flexibility with this time? 
  • Have you allowed for permits and approvals? 
  • It is also crucial to engage a QS (quantity surveyor) at an early stage of your project and include a schedule of rates for all materials.

Again, your Project Manager or Interior Designer can guide you through this and ensure that all the proposed work is feasible within the budget and timeframe established.


This point is particularly relevant for Aged Care, Health Care and Commercial Projects. 

When preparing the brief, it’s extremely important to include insights from the people involved in the day-to-day running of the space you’re creating. Having these front-line insights prevents any potential clashes between the overall vision and the realities of the space, ensuring that the end result will offer all the practicalities required for the optimal, lasting use of the space.

For example: 

  • For Aged Care Projects – Facility manager and other key stakeholders
  • For Commercial Projects – Establishment / venue manager
  • For Health Care Projects – Hospital / clinic manager and directors 


And last, but definitely not least, for us at Gilmore Interior Design the most important aspect of any Interior Design brief is the people who will inhabit the space. 

Having a good understanding of who they are, what they need, and what’s important to them, is paramount in the creation of a good, positive atmosphere that will serve its intended purpose. 

Our design philosophy is to enrich lives through Interior Design, and the first step to achieve that is understanding:

  • Who will inhabit the space (gender, age, lifestyle, health concerns, physical or mental impairments, mobility issues)
  • What is important to them
  • What do they like / don’t like
  • What a typical day in their life is like
  • What will they use the space for
  • How much time they will spend in the space 
  • How often will they use the space?
  • How do we want them to feel in the space?
  • Which activities we want to encourage in the space?

Regardless of the nature of your Design project, a successful Interior Design must always be centered in the people who will inhabit and use the space. It’s only when the Design team is committed to this vision that form can meet function without any compromise. 

At Gilmore Interior Design we are committed to enhance lives through exceptional Interior Design. Do you have a project you would like to discuss? Contact us today. 

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