The Block Recap: How to Establish a Design Brief

As I was judging the rooms each of the couples on The Block created last week, the necessity of having a detailed brief and the importance of delivering a space that suits all of its requirements really hit home.


For designers, the brief is constructed from a conversation with the client about what they’d like to achieve and how they would like to relate to the space emotionally and physically. It is a non-negotiable step in the design process.

When it comes to DIY projects, however, the briefing step is often missed completely or isn’t given the detail and attention it requires and, simply put, if you’ve not spent the time figuring out what and how you can often come up short or have disappointing results. The brief ensures you have both a starting point and something to refer back to when your have to make decisions.

When I am discussing the brief with a client, some of the first things I include are use of colour, special requirements (like what needs to fit into the space and how big those things are) and other constraints (access, timing, allergies, preferences just to name a few). In referring back to these basics, I can avoid getting carried away and creating an atmosphere that the client didn’t ask for.

For example, in The Block’s first challenge Dan and Dani chose a colour for the walls that simply moved too far from the tranquil requirements of the brief. Don’t get me wrong, the space was fun, lively and homely but it wasn’t what the room needed.

If you are constructing your own design brief, think carefully about what your brief is, including;

1. How you will use your space
2. Who will use it
3. How it needs to function
4. How you want it to feel

Write all of these things down and keep your brief at hand when you’re making any selections and you’ll find it much easier to bring your space to life and realise your vision.

Happy briefing!

By Darren Palmer

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