Bag your next project with the best design proposal ideas

In this 5-step guide we will uncover the best design proposal ideas for you to create the perfect proposal.  These key tips are sure to help you bag your next client.


5 steps to writing the best design proposal ideas 

Show your clients that you know what they want

It’s vital to get to know your clients and what they want by listening to their needs, so that you can create the best design proposal ideas that include all their must have in their project.

When stating what you propose to do for your next clients, first have a deep conversation with them. Find out what makes them tick and what they have in mind for the project. Once you’ve done this you must include all this input in the proposal. 

Show your clients that you know what they want

Remember that the clients might connect with a few other designers in order to find the best proposal. They’ll want to shop around and compare your offer with other options.

The clients won’t necessarily be looking for the best portfolio or the cheapest option. They will, however, want the designer’s proposal that better fits their needs. They will most probably be looking for residential designers who are flexible and able to assist them with what they need to get done. Know your clients’ needs and be confident in the way you approach them.


A great cohesive design

One of the best design proposal ideas is to make sure that you catch your clients’ eye with a well-designed proposal. Use a simple mood board – which you can put together with Folio web clipper – and create a narrative. If you’re creating a proposal for a suburban home, explain how each element of design  will work for their daily life. Provide a deep explanation on how the different areas of the home connect with each other and to the client. From the entrance to the kitchen, then to the family room and continue to the bedrooms. Create a great story that the client can relay to. 

 simple moodboard Kannoa

Your proposal should be split into four main parts: 

  • An informative but brief introduction to you and your company, your experience and previous projects.
  • Your design.
  • The scope and timeline.
  • The fees and terms.


Clear scope, timeline and budget

Next on our best design proposal ideas is to set realistic goals. Firstly, establish what the clients want, to ensure that you’re on the same page and working towards an agreed project scope.

 Clear scope, timeline and budget

It’s also crucial to be honest with your clients. If you think that what they want is unrealistic or unaffordable, communicate that with them. Transparency creates trust between you and the clients. And make it clear that any additional work will be an extra cost. “Scope creep” – when you gradually do more and more work for the clients outside of the original agreement – is a slippery slope because you’ll work billable hours that the client might not agree on.


It’s helpful to write down a timeline with specific milestones. For example, at the end of the third week the floor tiling should be finished. By the fourth week, all the finishes and furniture – including the luxurious outdoor furniture by the pool – should be in place. Try and give your clients a detailed breakdown of how much time it will require, how many employees will be involved and what resources will be required.


In the proposal, avoid mentioning why it costs so much or how many hours it will take you to do that project. Simply tell them what you’re going to do and what kind of value you can deliver for that price. Be sure to address your clients’ objections before putting together your design proposal. 


Remember that a proposal is an approximation, and some issues may arise that are outside of your control. Therefore, it is important to include in writing that “all dates provided are for reference only and can be subject to change”.


Make the clients feel unique and special 

Clients need to feel supported. You can ensure that they feel this way by making it clear that you are available to them 24/7. Always communicate openly and clearly and keep the communication flowing. Don’t leave room for grey areas. Your clients need to feel confident that you have listened to them and that you are going to deliver on your promises. The best design proposal ideas come from the communication with your clients. Therefore, maintaining a good relationship with them is imperative. It’s also a good idea to outline a clear welcome process in the proposal.

 Make the clients feel unique and special

It's all about the details to create the best design proposal ideas

Coming up with the best design proposal ideas is easy if you use your creativity. Clients are looking for unique ideas, things that other designers might not have thought of. With the increasing number of mass-produced items these days, clients are on the lookout for bespoke handcrafted furnishings  more than ever. Search for vinyl, decorative or illustrated wallpapers, or innovative ways in which to use old family photographs on a wall. Look at belongings that the client loves, like a scarf or handbag. Get inspiration from the colors and patterns and try matching them to a wall color. Think about re-upholstering a family antique chair or sanding down and staining a sentimental coffee table. Pinterest is a wonder when it comes to finding unique ideas. The best design proposal ideas arrive when you leave no stone unturned. 

It's all about the details to create the best design proposal ideas