When Should You Start an Interior Design Project or Home Renovation?

If you’re considering an interior design project or home renovation, when should you get started?
How long will the project take?
Who do you contact first?

The answers to these questions depend on several factors, but before we dive into them, I want to share a quick story…

Around the same time every year, we meet with excited new clients who have big dreams for their home and are ready to bring them to life. We have our initial consultation, where we talk about all the good stuff: goals, budgeting, planning. But when we discuss the timeline, the couple tells us they want to complete their living space by Christmas… and it’s already October.

Situations like this happen with new clients every year, and it’s not the clients’ fault. We all see projects come together so quickly on TV that of course we believe the same can be done in real life.

I wish I could tell you that we pull off projects in the blink of an eye, but it’s simply not possible. Even a single-room renovation can’t be completed in less than a few months, and I think that’s a good thing. Your home shouldn’t just be thrown together…

It should be a thoughtful, classic, timeless interior that helps you live the heck out of life!

(Note: If you want your home design or renovation completed by Christmas, NOW is the time to talk to us!)

Today’s blog post will help create some clarity on the topic of renovation timelines. I’ll share some general timeline expectations, nuances, and guidelines for calculating your best project start date.

So grab a drink, pull up a chair, and let’s dive in…


The timeline of a project varies depending on the size of your space and the scope of your project, but here are some rough estimates. If you work with a design professional, you’ll solidify the timeline together.


• Smaller renovation projects, such as a bathroom or ensuite: 3-4 months

• Kitchen renovation and design: 6-9 months

• Living room renovation and design: 6-9 months

• Average design and renovation: 9 months

• Full-home renovation and design: 1 year or up to 2 years for large new builds

These estimates include design time, construction, ordering, installation, and everything in between (you can read about our full service design process here!). They don’t include custom furniture designs.

If we’re designing custom furniture for you, such as custom rugs, tables, chairs, curtains, etc., this can also add to your timeline. Custom designs can take from 16 weeks to a full 4 months. (In my opinion, the extra time is well worth getting a unique, personal, and perfect piece!!)

Pro Tip: If you’re thinking, “I just need some design help, not a whole renovation,” you’ll want to check out our Off The Rack service!

The custom-designed rug in this living room was just what our clients were looking for — and brings the whole space together!


What else can impact your timeline? One word: Seasons. And I’m not just talking about the weather.


Things are known to slow down in the summer here, as us Calgary folks all take a break from the office to get out and enjoy the sun. This means that timelines can increase as trades (the people working on your home) take holidays at the same time you do.

Of course, this is something you’ll know well in advance and have planned for with your design team, but when calculating your timeline, you’ll want to add at least 2 extra weeks to account for the slow-down.


During the Christmas season, you’ll also see work slow a bit. Factories tend to shut down for the holidays (so does our office at Christmas). It’s also difficult to do some exterior work during our coldest months. Extreme low temps make it impossible to pour concrete — it sets too fast.

If your project will be taking place over Christmas or the depths of winter, you’ll want to add about 2 weeks to your timeline, just to be safe. Of course, the professional you choose to work with should help you create a timeline that accounts for all these factors.

Our Top 5 Most Common Pain Points in a Renovation will also help you mentally prepare for what really happens during a renovation!

From our Turnkey Design Project in Calgary


We LOVE when a client comes to a design professional first… and that can be an interior designer, architect, or architectural designer. Going to one of these experts first shows that you value the result, the process, and prioritize the design.

Involving your design professional early in the process ensures the project is viewed as a whole, prevents missteps, and even saves money from costly mistakes. In our case, we bring on our trusted construction team and trades right away to ensure we build the project budget with all the professionals involved.

Their expertise is used to solve problems, create pricing quotes, and yes, plan timelines — all the essentials for getting the look, function, and lifestyle you want most.

From The Vacation Reno project


Last but not least, I put together this fun little guide / calculator to walk you through calculating the best start date for your project. You can copy and paste this text into a blank document to write in your responses.

1. Think about the type of project you’d like to complete. Scroll up to see how many months we predicted this project would take. Write the number: ________ months

2. If your project will be underway during the summer months or during Christmas, add 2 weeks for each to the number above. Write the new total: ____ months

3. Are you open to 1 or more custom furniture designs for your home? If your project is a small renovation, add 2 months to the number above. If your project is a large renovation, add 1 month to the number above. Write the new total: ____ months

4. Add 2-4 weeks to the number above to account for the time needed to find, contact, and meet with a design professional: Write the new total: _____ months

5. What is your desired completion date? _______

6. Subtract the number of months written in #3 above from your desired completion date. What starting month does that put you at? ________

And voilà! The month you’ve just written is when you should start contacting the people you’re interested in working with.

If that’s us (I hope so!), you can call or contact us here and we’d be delighted to talk about your project.

Until then,