All About Our Install Days

January 29, 2020

After months and months of design work, presenting design ideas, so many logistics, it all comes together for my clients on “Install Days”, my absolute favorite part of every full-design project we do! We dive in and put all our hard work into place, right in front of us, from top to bottom.

Oh, I Design completely manages the installation of everything, instructing the team where to hang, place and install all items for the space we’ve designed, whether that be one room or a whole house. We work with a variety of professionals, from handymen and electricians, to carpenters and furniture delivery teams. It is a chaotic day but magical to watch all our hard work literally come into place. For those not in the industry or who haven’t worked with a designer, it can be compared to a really intense moving day and if you’ve ever moved before, you know how exhausting – but rewarding – it is.

Here’s the thing, we (designers) as pros at hiding the chaos and making interior design look effortless with our beautiful, professional “after” photos posted on Instagram… but trust me when I say there is blood, sweat, and tears behind that completed room you are saving on Instagram for inspiration. 😉 That said, since I get a lot of questions about install days and how they work, I thought I’d walk through a full-service design project install for those interested in taking a look behind the scenes!

Weeks and days before the install, here are the items we check off our list:

  • Our Project Manager (Sarah or myself) will print off our design boards, furniture plans, drawings, and our detailed list of all furniture, fixtures, lighting, etc. that are arriving on our install truck.
  • Encourage our clients to be out of the house for the day 🙂
  • Confirm our installation team: handymen, white-glove delivery, electricians, etc.
  • Shop for final items – pillow inserts, flowers/plants, final decor items (we typically buy way more than needed!), etc.
  • Pack the car with our install bag and the items above.
  • Wear comfortable shoes!

One thing we’ve learned over the years is that something always goes wary during an install. The rug may have came in the wrong size or the side table is damaged, or maybe there is a light switch we forgot to account for when doing art elevations so now we have to rethink that artwork (yes, this has happened!). With so many different pieces of the puzzle coming together and so many parties involved throughout the process, it’s only expected. It’s forced us to become “solution masters”, and trained us to think on our feet and get creative whenever these little fires erupt. We have a vision for the room or home we’re designing, and we are going to make that vision come to life one way or another.

DESIGNER’S TOOLKIT/INSTALL BAG:

  • Tape measure
  • Goo Gone (for all the impossible to remove price tags on art and decor)
  • Full toolset
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drapery hooks
  • Steamer 
  • A small dustpan and broom
  • Wrinkle releaser
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Box Cutter
  • Light bulbs
  • Magic Eraser
  • Drop Cloths
  • A notebook and pen (for the many lists that are made on-site) 
  • Level
  • Felt pads for furniture
  • Water bottle and a snack (install days are long and hard!)
  • And let’s not forget… cleaning supplies!

May I suggest the above collection of items for all home projects you tackle as well 🙂

Example Install Day Schedule:

Typically before an install day(s), paint and any major renovation work in the home are already complete. We also typically schedule the electrician to install all of the lighting prior to us coming in so we can arrive with rugs, furniture, art and decor without having to work around the electricians. That being said, sometimes they are there the day of and we have to plan accordingly.

  • 8 am: Arrive on-site with a car full of accessories and any final art pieces 
  • 8:30 am: Get the space prepped for our install team to arrive (tape up furniture plans, art elevations, etc. so everyone knows where the items are going)
  • 9 am: Install team arrives (handymen, furniture delivery/assembly team, and other subcontractors)
  • 9:30 am: Go over plans and what to prioritize 
  • 10am – 3pm: Nonstop movement! Everyone is hard at work! We lay rug pads first, then lay the rugs, and then in comes the furniture. Furniture is assembled (if needed) and placed according to our plan and instruction. This is the majority of the day, while the design team (Sarah and myself) are laying out all of the art and accessories so we can access what we have and what we need. 
  • 12 pm: It’s rare that we break for lunch but if so, it’s usually super fast. We are so busy and preoccupied that I rarely eat or even drink enough water during install days!
  • 3 pm until we are at a good stopping place: We are typically styling each space and hanging art. I always joke that, “install day is literally about moving everything ½ inch until it’s perfect.” 
  • Once we are done for the day, we clean up and finalize our lists with what is needed from the store, and prep for the next day.

While I absolutely love Install Days, they are exhausting! Depending on the size of the project, they are often two-plus days, but once complete, that final result makes it all worth it!

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