Interior Design Specification Book: Comprehensive Example

Table of contents
  1. Project Overview
  2. Materials and Finishes
  3. Furniture and Fixtures
  4. Lighting and Electrical
  5. Window Treatments
  6. Hardware and Accessories
  7. Special Considerations
  8. Preliminary Budget Breakdown
  9. Project Timeline and Milestones
  10. Preliminary Drawings and Renderings
  11. Presentation and Approval Process
  12. Questions and Answers
  13. Reflection

When it comes to interior design, creating a specification book is a crucial step in the design process. A specification book, also known as a spec book, is a detailed document that outlines all the materials, finishes, furniture, and fixtures to be used in a particular interior design project. It serves as a reference for contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, ensuring that the design vision is accurately executed. Let's explore a comprehensive example of an interior design specification book and understand its essential components.

Project Overview

In the initial section of the specification book, the project overview provides a brief description of the design project. It includes the client's name, project address, and a summary of the design requirements. Additionally, it may incorporate the project's timeline, budget, and any specific design challenges that need to be addressed. This section sets the stage for the entire spec book and offers a glimpse into the scope of the project.

Client Information

In this subsection, the client's contact information, design preferences, and any specific instructions provided by the client are documented. It may include the client's preferred color schemes, design styles, and functional requirements. This information is crucial for maintaining clear communication with the client and ensuring that the design aligns with their expectations.

Project Address and Timeline

Detailing the project address and expected timeline in this subsection helps in organizing the logistics of the design project. It provides clarity on the location of the project and sets clear expectations for the project's completion date.

Materials and Finishes

The materials and finishes section forms the core of the specification book, outlining all the materials to be used in the interior design project. It includes comprehensive details about flooring, wall finishes, ceiling treatments, and other essential elements that contribute to the overall aesthetics of the space.


The flooring subsection presents detailed information about the types of flooring materials to be used in different areas of the space. It specifies the material, color, pattern, size, and any special installation requirements. For example, it may include specifications for hardwood flooring in the living room, porcelain tiles in the kitchen, and plush carpeting in the bedrooms.

Wall Finishes

Detailing the wall finishes involves specifying the paint colors, wallpaper designs, or any other decorative treatments planned for the walls. This subsection also addresses the finish materials for accent walls, wainscoting, or paneling, along with surface preparation requirements.

Ceiling Treatments

In this part, the specification book outlines the ceiling design elements such as paint, texture, molding, or suspended ceiling details. It may include provisions for recessed lighting, ceiling fans, or other fixtures integrated into the ceiling structure.

Furniture and Fixtures

Another critical aspect of the specification book is the detailed listing of furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) selected for the interior design project. This section provides a comprehensive overview of all the items that will furnish and accessorize the space, ensuring a cohesive design scheme.

Living Room

The subsection dedicated to the living room furniture and fixtures specifies the type, style, dimensions, and upholstery options for sofas, chairs, coffee tables, area rugs, and other accessories. It may also include provisions for entertainment units, lighting fixtures, and window treatments.

Kitchen and Dining Area

Detailing the furniture and fixtures for the kitchen and dining area involves outlining the cabinetry, dining tables, chairs, bar stools, lighting, and any built-in appliances or equipment. It may also include specifications for kitchen islands, countertop materials, and decorative pendant lighting.


This subsection covers the furniture and fixtures planned for the bedrooms, including bed frames, mattresses, bedside tables, dressers, wardrobes, and decorative lighting. It may also incorporate provisions for window coverings, bed linens, and decorative accents to personalize each bedroom space.

Lighting and Electrical

The lighting and electrical section focuses on the lighting design plan and electrical specifications for the interior spaces. It encompasses the types of lighting fixtures, control systems, and electrical requirements essential for a well-lit and functional environment.

Lighting Fixtures

Detailing the lighting fixtures involves specifying the types of fixtures, their locations, and the intended lighting effects in different areas. It may include selections for ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative fixtures to enhance the overall design scheme.

Electrical Requirements

This subsection outlines the electrical specifications for power outlets, switches, data ports, and any specialized electrical needs within the space. It may also include provisions for integrated smart home systems, audiovisual equipment, or security devices requiring electrical connectivity.

Window Treatments

The window treatments section provides detailed information about the selection and installation of window coverings, such as curtains, draperies, blinds, shades, or shutters. It addresses the functional and aesthetic aspects of window treatments tailored to each space's unique requirements.

Living Room and Bedrooms

This subsection outlines the window treatment options for the living room and bedrooms, specifying the fabric, style, hardware, and any special treatments like blackout lining or motorized mechanisms. It may also include provisions for coordinating window valances, cornices, or decorative curtain rods.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

Detailing the window treatments for the kitchen and bathrooms involves specifying moisture-resistant materials, easy-to-clean designs, and light-filtering capabilities suitable for these areas. It may include options for window blinds, shades, or privacy films based on the specific functional needs of each space.

Hardware and Accessories

The hardware and accessories section encompasses the selection of architectural hardware, decorative accessories, and functional elements that contribute to the overall design scheme. It emphasizes the attention to detail and the cohesive integration of hardware and accessories throughout the space.

Door Hardware

Detailing the door hardware involves specifying the types of door handles, locks, hinges, and other hardware components for interior and exterior doors. It may also include provisions for coordinating hardware finishes and special security features if required.

Cabinet Hardware

This subsection outlines the cabinet hardware selections, including knobs, pulls, hinges, and other accessories for cabinetry and storage units. It may specify the hardware finish, style, and ergonomic considerations for functional and visual harmony within the space.

Decorative Accessories

Incorporating decorative accessories such as artwork, mirrors, sculptures, or decorative accents adds character and personality to the interior spaces. This subsection may include the selection, placement, and installation requirements for these accessories based on the design concept.

Special Considerations

The special considerations section addresses any unique or specialized requirements for the interior design project. It encompasses custom designs, sustainable materials, accessibility features, or any other distinctive elements that set the project apart.

Custom Millwork and Built-Ins

Detailing the custom millwork and built-ins involves specifying the design, materials, and finish options for tailored cabinetry, storage solutions, and architectural features. It may also include provisions for integrated shelving, display units, or custom furniture pieces designed for the project.

Sustainable Materials and Practices

This subsection focuses on incorporating sustainable materials, eco-friendly products, and responsible design practices into the interior spaces. It may include specifications for recycled materials, low-VOC finishes, energy-efficient fixtures, and other sustainable design strategies.

Preliminary Budget Breakdown

The preliminary budget breakdown provides an overview of the anticipated costs associated with the interior design project. It includes a comprehensive breakdown of the projected expenses for materials, labor, and other relevant factors, offering transparency and insight into the financial aspects of the project.

Materials and Finishes

Detailing the budget allocation for materials and finishes involves categorizing the anticipated costs for flooring, wall treatments, ceiling details, and decorative finishes. It may include estimates for material quantities, unit prices, and any applicable taxes or shipping fees.

Furniture and Fixtures

This subsection outlines the budget breakdown for the furniture, fixtures, and equipment specified in the design plan. It provides cost estimates for each item, including procurement fees, delivery charges, and any additional services required for installation or setup.

Labor and Installation

Addressing the labor and installation costs involves estimating the expenses associated with skilled labor, subcontractor services, and installation requirements for the design elements. It may include provisions for project management fees, site preparation, and coordination of trades during the construction or installation phase.

Project Timeline and Milestones

The project timeline and milestones section outlines the anticipated schedule for the interior design project, including key milestones and deliverables. It provides a structured timeline that aligns with the project's scope and ensures timely progress from concept development to project completion.

Design Development Phase

This subsection delineates the activities and timelines associated with the design development phase, including concept presentations, design revisions, and client approvals. It may include milestones for finalizing the design scheme, material selections, and major design decisions.

Procurement and Lead Times

Addressing the procurement and lead times involves estimating the time required to source, order, and receive the specified materials, furnishings, and fixtures. It may include allowances for potential lead time variations, backorders, or custom fabrications that impact the project schedule.

Installation and Project Completion

This subsection outlines the scheduled activities for installation, construction, or assembly of the design elements, as well as the final stages of the project. It may include milestones for site visits, quality inspections, and client walkthroughs to ensure a successful project completion.

Preliminary Drawings and Renderings

The preliminary drawings and renderings section showcases visual representations of the design concepts, spatial layouts, and proposed materials. It includes floor plans, elevations, 3D renderings, and other graphic illustrations to communicate the design intent and spatial arrangements effectively.

Floor Plans

This subsection presents detailed floor plans with furniture layouts, spatial dimensions, and circulation paths to illustrate the functional organization of the interior spaces. It may also include annotations for electrical layouts, plumbing fixtures, and other key design elements.

Elevations and Sections

Detailing the elevations and sections involves providing visual representations of the wall treatments, ceiling details, and interior architectural features. It may include scaled drawings highlighting the design continuity and material transitions within the space.

3D Renderings and Perspectives

This subsection showcases realistic 3D renderings and perspectives that depict the interior environments with accurate lighting, textures, and material finishes. It allows the client and project stakeholders to visualize the design concepts and make informed decisions based on the immersive visual experience.

Presentation and Approval Process

The presentation and approval process section outlines the procedures for presenting the design concepts, obtaining client approvals, and managing revisions. It establishes a structured approach to client communication and decision-making, promoting transparency and collaboration throughout the design process.

Concept Presentations

Detailing the concept presentations involves scheduling formal meetings or presentations to introduce the design concepts, mood boards, and preliminary design directions to the client. It may include provisions for interactive discussions, design feedback, and initial concept approvals.

Design Revisions and Refinements

This subsection addresses the process of incorporating client feedback, revising design proposals, and refining the design details based on the iterative nature of the design development. It may include multiple revision rounds, design refinements, and documentation of client decisions to maintain a transparent design process.

Final Design Approvals

Finalizing the design approvals involves documenting the client's formal approval of the design concepts, material selections, and overall design direction. It may include sign-off procedures, approval forms, or written confirmation of design decisions to proceed with the project implementation.

Questions and Answers

What is the purpose of an interior design specification book?

The interior design specification book serves as a comprehensive reference document that outlines all the materials, finishes, furniture, fixtures, and design details to be used in a specific interior design project. It provides a detailed roadmap for contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, ensuring the accurate execution of the design vision.

Why is the preliminary budget breakdown important in the specification book?

The preliminary budget breakdown is crucial in the specification book as it provides transparency and insight into the anticipated costs associated with the interior design project. It helps in aligning the design decisions with the project's financial parameters and facilitates informed decision-making throughout the design process.

How does the presentation and approval process contribute to the successful execution of the design project?

The presentation and approval process establishes a structured approach to client communication, design presentations, and decision-making, fostering transparency and collaboration. It allows for client feedback, design revisions, and formal approvals, ensuring that the design direction aligns with the client's expectations and preferences.


In conclusion, the creation of an interior design specification book involves meticulous attention to detail, comprehensive documentation of design elements, and effective communication of the design vision. By integrating project overviews, materials and finishes, furniture and fixtures, and other essential components, the specification book serves as a valuable tool for ensuring the successful implementation of the interior design project.

It provides clarity, transparency, and a structured approach to design documentation, setting the stage for a collaborative and well-executed interior design journey. The comprehensive example discussed demonstrates the intricate process of detailing the design elements and organizing them into a cohesive and informative specification book.

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