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Effective Strategies for Conveying Design Concepts to Clients

All throughout our design process, we use a collection of visual presentations to guide us through the many, many decisions that come with a remodel or new build as well as stand alone full service furnishing projects. As we develop a plan for our full service clients, we convey our design ideas through mood boards, design boards, elevations and renderings. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but they are very different tools used at specific steps of the design process to get the client to the next stage. We may not need each of these for every project or do it for every client, but they are all options that take time, hard work, and expertise.

How We Convey Design Concepts to Clients


Mood boards are normally visually inspiring boards that are represented by a collection of images that convey the vibe, style, and story of a space. These boards may or may not include specific furniture pieces, but serve as reminders of the feeling a space should have as we are designing and choosing specific colors, materials, fabrics, and furniture.

Nancy Lane Interiors: Effective Strategies for Conveying Design Concepts to Clients


Design boards are 2D mockups that do include specific pieces of furniture, art, lighting, and décor we've selected, and these pieces are scaled correctly in relation to other items to provide a realistic look to the space on each board.

Nancy Lane Interiors: Effective Strategies for Conveying Design Concepts to Clients

From design board to reality....

Modern transitional bedroom retreat by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors
Design & Styling by Nancy Lane Interiors | Photo by Madeline Harper Photography


Clients often struggle to imagine how a designer's plan will actually look once it has been brought to life. This is where elevation drawings become essential in remodeling and construction projects, eliminating any confusion or miscommunication during the design process.

Elevation drawings primary function is to provide a vivid visualization of a space, serving as a comprehensive guide before initiating any construction or renovation work. These drawings form a detailed representation of how a room will look from a vertical vantage point, taking into account the height, width, and depth of every element within the room to ensure clear communication since everyone from designer to client to contractor needs to be on the same page.

Nancy Lane Interiors: Effective Strategies for Conveying Design Concepts to Clients


Renderings are images of 3D models of a space that are designed exactly to scale. They are very realistic and lifelike, and may include the specific pieces selected for the project, but will, at the very least, include correctly scaled representative models of furniture. The creation of these renderings are very time-consuming, so this is an added service for our clients.

Project Rendering of Scan-Asian Inspired Transitional Kitchen by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors

All of these options show you an aspect of the design, and it's important to know what you truly are expecting as a client when you are asking about a designer's process and what is included in their design packages.


We say, it depends on the project's scope of work and the client's investment amount. Keep in mind that specific furniture pieces and artwork are more readily available as 2D images, rather than fully built 3D models that can be placed in a space in a rendering software. Therefore, design boards can be an accurate representation of what a space will look like in reality.

Japandi Scan-Asian Inspired modern kitchen by Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors. Nancy Lane Interiors: Effective Strategies for Conveying Design Concepts to Clients
Design and Styling by Nancy Lane Interiors | Photo by French Blue Photography

The model building and rendering process takes considerably more time, and again may not be completely accurate depending on the material itself being rendered. For furniture only projects, we know that concept design board along with material samples are more than adequate to relay design intent so really think through whether you would like to invest in that added service.

Our advice? Floor plans and design boards, with mood boards at the beginning, are completely sufficient in conveying concepts and specific pieces. Odd layouts or uncommon architectural features may make renderings worthwhile to invest in, but you would definitely not be missing out by using floor plans and design boards to complete a project. For construction and remodeling projects, we absolutely recommend all of the above!

Are you a fan of design boards or renderings? We wonder how that split would be between clients and other designers - let us know in the comments below!

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