Elise Bloom
Interior Design-Building and Renovating in Israel- a tell all guide.

What Exactly Does an Interior Designer Do?

cover photo.jpgThere seems to be widespread confusion about what it is interior designers do!

Are we decorators, do we handle any architectural duties?

Today, I’m going to tell you what exactly Interior Designers do and how an Interior Designer can assist you with your renovation and building needs!

Picture this, you’ve just bought an apartment but it needs a lot of work; the kitchen is old, the lighting isn’t great and maybe the floors need some attention too. Who you gonna call? No, not Ghostbusters!

You call an Interior Designer!

That’s right folks; Interior Design is so much more than just selecting nice cushions- although we do that too!

custom-cushion selection 

Interior Designers can help you overhaul your apartment with everything from layout, plumbing, lighting, furniture and of course accessorizing and styling too.

Before we get into the meat of this post I’d like to re-introduce myself.

My name is Elise Bloom from IVORY Interiors. I moved to Israel in 2009 from Melbourne Australia… Yes that’s why I spell ‘colour’ with a U.

australia traveling travelling travel
Photo by Catarina Sousa on

I’ve been working in Interior Design for the past nine years and running my own company IVORY Interiors by Elise Bloom, for just over three years.

My design-aesthetic is heavily influenced by my Australian roots. I strive to design enjoyable spaces for my clients and rely heavily on natural materials to achieve harmony throughout my designs.

Now it’s come to my attention that many people don’t know what Interior Designers do! Most people aren’t quite sure how to utilize our services, or even that certain services exist at all!

So what exactly does an Interior Designer do!?

Plans and Concepts

Yes, that’s right, Interior Designers deal with creating plans!

When you create detailed plans you minimize the unknowns in the project.

Plans are beneficial for many reasons! We’ll explore that in more detail in another blog post- so stay tuned!

What kind of plans can your Interior Designer assist you with?

As an Interior Designer I assist my clients from the layout stage i.e. where do the walls go/how big are the rooms right through to:

  • Furniture layout plans
  • Custom carpentry plans
  • Plumbing plans
  • Lighting plans
  • Electrical plans
  • Dropped ceilings plans
  • Stairs and railing plans
  • Air-conditioning plans
  • Floor and wall tile plans
  • Wallpaper plans
  • Wall-paint colour plans
  • 3D colour renders
  • Custom lighting fixture plans
  • Shower glass plans
  • Stone plans for kitchen counters and bathrooms
  • Smart Home integration plans

Reading this long list of plans takes around twenty seconds but it’s important to understand that this is not indicative at all of the time it takes to complete the planning stage!

I often encounter clients who are keen to rush the planning stage in order to get to the building stage.

Rushing this stage is simply a recipe for disaster.

Firstly it will be extremely stressful for the client.

design desk display eyewear
Photo by on

Each one of the above listed plans represents hundreds if not thousands of individual decisions that must be made to form the overall design.

These decisions translate to time.

With time comes clarity.

It’s wise to sleep on decisions for a day or two and go through the motions of planning correctly.

This doesn’t mean taking ten years to plan your home but for a full renovation the planning stage, if done thoroughly and at a comfortable pace, will take at least two to three months, perhaps more depending on the size and amount of detail required.

Secondly rushing the planning will inevitably translate to wanting to change the plans after sign-off, once you’ve considered all of the options more thoroughly.

This is what we are trying our best to avoid.

Mistakes and changes to the plans after sign-off result in more time during the building stage and potentially higher costs from unknowns or having to re-quote elements that were changed.

In short, plans take time and food good reason.

The age old saying “Measure twice cut once” is my rule of thumb and its proven itself over in terms of minimizing time, stress and cost!

Shopping, Selection and Specification 

The next thing that your Interior Designer will assist you with is all the specifications or in simple terms, the shopping. This includes everything from:

  • kitchen and laundry appliances selections
  • Furniture
  • Tiling
  • Lighting
  • Doors and door handles
  • Base boards and architectural details
  • kitchen counters
  • decorative light switches
  • Sanitary wear (sinks, taps toilets)
  • Artwork
  • Wallpaper
  • Curtains and blinds
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Soft furnishing and fabrics
  • Art and accessories

In short everything besides the actual walls!

You may not even need to physically go to the stores.

I often build a concept for my clients and then collect all the specifications to present to them without the client ever having to have visited an a store.

This is especially useful for overseas clients and it  is a very effective method to save time, energy and money.

Specification Integration 

Tile Specification Integration

Once everything has been selected, your Designer will go back to the drawing board and integrate your selections into the plans.

This part is a bit of a dance!

As an example, your Designer will shop for the tile based on the square-meterage taken off the first draft plans.

Once the tile has been selected, your Designer will create elevations and tiles plans and input the exact size of the selected tile, as pictured above.

The same process happens with all of the selections.

Understanding this ‘dance’, gives further support to the idea of not rushing the planning stage.

There is so much information to insert into plans both before the shopping stage and then again after that it simply takes time.

Tendering The Plans to Quote 

Once all of the plans are complete your Interior Designer will assist you with the quoting process and selecting the right builder and carpenter for the job.

Some builders (‘kablanim’) will require a ‘ktav kamuyot’ which is a document detailing amounts in the plans. I.e how many light switches, how many spots, how may water points and so on before they can finalize their quote.

Your Interior Designer will be able to assist you with this too.

There are many things to consider when selecting the correct suppliers which we’ll explore in more depth in another blog post!

Project Management and Implementation

On-Site Supervision

The next step is implementing all of the plans and turning them into a reality that can be physically constructed.

Once the project begins, your Designer will liaise with the builder and suppliers. Your Designer will make site visits to ensure that the building is being done as per plan.

Many clients ask me if it’s necessary to hire a separate project manager to assist the implementation of this stage.

In short my answer is usually usually no- but this may depend on the size and scale of the project.

Hire a reputable builder who you trust!

If you do this then you shouldn’t need a project manager watching over their shoulder  to ensure they aren’t cracking rotten eggs into your wall plaster or drilling holes into your pipes (yes, these things happen when you hire dodgy builders!).

I do however  always tell my clients that they must do what they feel comfortable and if they wish to have someone supervising and ‘project managing’ then they are more than welcome to do so.

In most cases, It’s simply a somewhat unnecessary additional cost if you work with a reputable builder.

Your Designer’s role during this stage is to make spot-checks and review the plans with the builder in order to ensure the builder understands how to implement the plans correctly.

Often there will be changes on site and your Designer will work through the options with your builder and then communicate the options back to you. Your designer will also check every point on the plan against what’s been built to ensure it’s been implemented correctly.

When you work with a reputable builder, fixing any mistakes should not be a big deal.

As a Designer, I feel compelled to manage this stage of the process completely as opposed to handing it over to someone else to implement.

This is for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I really care about the final result and it’s important to me that this stage is implemented correctly and achieves the design-goals that I planned for my client.

Secondly, being the one who created the plans, I am able to know and remember all of the plans down to the smallest detail to ensure the project is built as per plan.

A word about changes on site: Its wise to have a contingency budget set aside for on-site changes.

Often plans are unable to be implemented for various reasons after demolition resulting in no option but to change the plans.

I recently encountered a large water pipe in my clients ceiling that was hidden behind a drop.

We knew there was some kind of piping there but didn’t know the full extent of it or its exact size until demolition.

We then had to change the ceiling plan to work with the piping.

The new plan was more elaborate than the initial plans in order to make it work and look correct.

The point is even with the most meticulous planning (which again is absolutely necessary and crucial) there may still be changes.

Having a contingency budget for these changes is both wise and necessary in order to avoid frustration.

Be prepared for the unexpected and the building stage will become less stressful and flow quicker!

I hope this post shed a little light on what exactly Interior Designers do!

As always feel free to reach out with any questions about Design or the building process via my facebook page


About the Author
Elise is a qualified Interior Designer running her business from her Jerusalem-based office. She has over 8 years experience in the field in Israel. Elise made Aliyah from Melbourne Australia. She has keen eye for detail and vast knowledge of the ins and outs of the field. This coupled with her unique aesthetic makes her an authority on all things Interior Design. She works with the top suppliers in the country and offers a bespoke service to her clients.