The Design Process 101: Where to Start When You Don’t Know Where to Start

OMG, I think my house is haunted!

Every time I go into the kitchen I hear this weird, haunting noise. It starts as a whisper – an inhale of breath that goes on for several seconds. And it’s close, so close it sounds like it is right under my nose. I hear it everytime I look around my kitchen, but I don’t see anyone. Then silence, followed by a breathy, sudden release of air and… frustration? “Uuugggghh.” There it is! Did you hear it too?

Come to find out, my house isn’t haunted after all (as far as I can tell anyway), that sound was me making an involuntary heavy sigh. But why am I heavy-sighing every time I walk into my kitchen? Maybe it’s because my house was built in the 1950’s and hasn’t been updated since I bought it in the 1980’s. Or maybe it’s because I feel like my friends and family are judging me on how my kitchen looks. I used to think it was “totally radical”, but now I’m like, “gag me with a spoon.” Sound familiar?

Do you wish your living space could be more than what it is? Do you want to create a comfortable gathering space for your house guests? They say the kitchen is the heart of your home. If your kitchen is still from the ‘80’s like mine, your house is in cardiac arrest, call 911! Or, just call MBS Interiors.

If you need help determining what steps to take on your way to a remodel, you’ve come to the right place. Together, we will go step by step through the design process, covering lots of other topics in future blog posts as well. The MBS Interiors design process gives the customer a feeling of inclusiveness, letting them make the decisions they want to make their space their own.

The Remodel Process


This is where you come into to a showroom and meet with your designer. Sounds easy right? Yeah, well…it is actually pretty easy. But there are things you can do to make it easier. You have to do some research before you show up. Look at your kitchen and see it for what it is, but also for what you want it to be. You can gather photos from magazines or create a “Dream Kitchen” board on Pinterest. The important thing is to know what you like, but also what you do not like.

Your designer will help you to establish the time frame for your project and give you a sense of what to expect during the whole process. You will also be given more homework (a Wants, Needs and Desires worksheet) that you should complete and bring back with you on your next appointment.


The first thing you will do in this step is to go over your homework that was given to you during your last appointment. Please don’t tell us your dog ate it – and besides, it wasn’t that bad. I bet you even had a little fun working through it.

Now is the time when your designer will ask all kinds of questions, cutting to the core of the matter and finding out what you want your kitchen to be. You can talk about style, design trends, heck, open up your Pinterest board and show us what you are looking for. This is Detail Discovery, so don’t hold back – give us the nitty-gritty.


This is where your designer shows you what they have come up with. Here you can review the designs and discuss the solutions you are presented. You can talk about features of the design and your designer can explain the functions and benefits of the layout. Besides seeing the layout, this is also the step where you establish a “ball-park” figure for how much you wish to invest in your project.


This is where the magic happens. Your designer will be putting the puzzle together, so to speak, of all the pieces of information you gave them in all your previous meetings. A lot of important decisions will be made in this stage. But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through it.

  1. If you asked for any change to the plan layout, they will be reviewed with you. Otherwise, a general review of the layout will happen.

  2. Remember that “ball-park” figure you came up with in your last meeting? Now it comes into play and your designer will help you turn this abstract figure down to real numbers.

    Have you ever been car shopping? You find the type of car you like then you look for the features you want in your car. Are you getting the base model 4 cylinder stick shift with power nothing, no air conditioning and a stock radio with a cassette tape deck? Or is the hybrid, bluetooth enabled, dual climate controlled, rearview camera, panoramic sunroof, heads-up display on the windshield, car that parallel parks itself more your style? They are both cars, right? Of course they. Are they the same? No way. Can you get the deluxe hybrid car for the same price as the base model? I don’t think so.

    Kitchens are the same way. You need to have realistic ideas of what you want and what you can afford. Your designer will explain the differences to you of the different types of cabinets, the types of wood they are built with, their functionality and the specifics of your design. We will also be getting the final measurements of your project before the next meeting.


This is where the rubber hits the road. Your designer will review the final layout and all the selections they made with you. We will talk about the ordering process and what you should expect during the installation phase. The “ordering process” and “installation phase” are two topics that can and will be covered in their own blog posts (*wink, wink*), so stay tuned. Just know that for now, we will cover it with you during your appointment at MBS Interiors.

Time to get started on the paperwork. After the layout has been finalized and all the details are picked out, you will need to complete the paperwork, sign on the dotted line, and we will collect your down payment. We will place your order and give you an estimated delivery time.


This is what you have been waiting for. Say goodbye to your heavy sighs forever and say hello to fabulous. Just remember, this isn’t a TV show… kitchen installations don’t get completed in an hour with limited commercial interruptions. This portion of the design process is in the hands of your contractor, so it’s really important to work with someone you can trust (another great upcoming blog post). Your designer will be visiting your job site to inspect the installation process and make sure everything is going according to plan. This phase is exciting for both you and the designer.

Doing a remodeling project can be stressful, confusing and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Working with a professional designer who will guide you through the remodeling design process can make a huge difference in your stress level, your sanity and even your wallet.

So if you think your house might be haunted like I did, take a step back and look at your kitchen before you summon a priest to your house. It often turns out the simplest answer is usually the correct one. Your kitchen isn’t haunted, it’s just ugly. Don’t call Ghostbusters, call a designer. Now you know the steps of the design process and what to expect. Don’t be afraid to get started… take back your kitchen!


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