Use Your Space Design & Build - Solihull and Warwick

The 5 Foundations to a Great Design Brief

We will guide your through the five key points to putting together a great design brief for your extension project, to achieve what you want and how you want it.


The design brief for any extension project is a key element of your project and yet is missed by many homeowners when extending or renovating their home. The design brief gives you the homeowner an opportunity to detail and describe your requirements and wants for your project. It will allow you to detail how your project will look on completion and how your project will be run.

From the huge number of projects, we have completed the most successful are those with a design brief form the start.

There are many ways to put together a design brief and this is our take on how to formulate a successful design brief. The key thing is you have one and the route of creating your design brief gives you the homeowner the chance to reflect on what you want and what you need. This process will give you a design brief you can explain to your designer and builder to ensure they understand how you want to change your home.

The main elements you will take form this are:

  • Full understanding of your design influence in detail
  • Understand your needs in detail
  • Reflect and analyse how you live now and how space around you work
  • How to successfully give your brief and goals to your designer or builder


Foundation 1.0


Write down a list of your likes, review and analyse them.

The first point is to decide what sort of extension you need and the reasons why.

Start putting images together of things that you like, things that you would like to see in your extension and maybe things that relate to the age or style of your home.

Utilise websites such as Pinterest, create your own pin boards which can be categorised in relation to your project; such as bathroom, family room. These can then easily be shared with your design & build team.

Then take this to the next stage, spend time focusing on the images you have collated and write notes next to the images on specific elements that you really like. What attracted you to that particular image, look at what colours and materials are used.

Then continue this process by visualising those elements in your new home, do they work for you, do they fit in with your home and your overall thoughts, does it fit with your family and will it continue to be a fit in the future?


Foundation 2.0


Sit down and think about how you live in your current home.

Be super critical:

  • What do you like about your current home?
  • What don’t you like about your current home?
  • What really??
  • Are there rooms in your home you prefer to spend the most time, are there rooms in your home you use less frequently?

Then list what you like about those rooms and what you’re a less fond off:

  • If there was one thing you could improve in your home, regardless of financial outlay what would it be?

Then write down a list of all the items that you own that will need storage space in your extended home. Try and gauge the amount of space this will require and the most suitable location for it. Please don’t dismiss this element of creating your design brief as lack of thought out storage can ruin a well-designed project.

Look at how you want the flow of movement to be around your extended home, consider bathrooms and kitchens and how you want to operate in these areas.


Foundation 3.0


Write down a list of spaces that you would ideally like. For now, ignore budget and focus on what you ideally would like and how you visualise that working for you and your family. This will be altered many times to factor in budget and design later.

Try and think ahead of future requirements you may have, a growing family for example and how the house will need to function as children grow up.

Factor in your existing spaces, how they may change in purpose as part of extending your property and become better suited for an alternative function.


Foundation 4.0


Look through your list and analyse it. Then take each room and scrutinise the following:

What are the main activities that will take place in those space? For example, the kitchen, will you just cook in your kitchen or do you want to socialise in this space when entertaining?

What key items of furniture will you be putting into these spaces? Do you need or want built in storage? – Your storage list will help you with this one?

Access to natural light? The feel of space? Heating? Relaxation factor?

What qualities do you want in these rooms, re visit your likes and dislikes list to aid you on this.


Foundation 5.0


By this stage of working through THE 5 FOUNDATIONS TO A GREAT DESIGN BRIEF you should have a good take on the specifics, now sit down and think about your project a whole.

Its time to set your goals so they can be understood from the start and will help your decision-making process going forward through the project and can be a touch point when you face hard decisions and have conflicts of opinion.

These Goals as examples maybe:

  • Time Factors (for example the project has to be completed by a set date)
  • The Environment (you may wish to use low carbon techniques, energy efficient materials)
  • Monetary (You may wish to have low maintenance costs in the future or have a set budget)
  • Some of your Personal Goals could as examples:
  • Social (for example if you love to entertain, space to facilitate this)
  • Future (you may wish to be able to easily adapt the design or internal spaces)



Make sure your have completed each step of THE 5 FOUNDATIONS TO A GREAT DESIGN BRIEF, make any changes and correct any errors.

I now suggest you put this information together and make some copies, you have now then created a document that gives you an outline of the rooms you need and their link to each other and to you and your family. Each room will have a detailed description, laying out what it should contain and how that room should operate and feel.

At this stage, confirm with yourself:

That you have NOT! Allowed excitement to cloud your judgement on what you really need

That you have spent quality time reviewing your requirements?

Have you considered other peoples views who will be living in the new design?

Now if you have confirmed the above you will have a well structured and detailed design brief and your project is already on the right road to success.

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