What is Special Order?

A custom or non-stock item ordered specifically for a client's project.


In the realm of interior design, a special order refers to any item, whether it be furniture, fixtures, or materials, that is not readily available in stock and needs to be ordered or custom-made specifically for a client’s project. This often involves selecting specific sizes, materials, colors, or features that are unique to the client’s requirements or the design vision. Special orders are a significant aspect of customizing a space to fit personal tastes or functional needs, ensuring that the interior design truly reflects the individuality of the homeowner or the brand identity of a commercial space.

Special orders can range from custom furniture pieces and bespoke light fixtures to unique material finishes for floors or walls. They allow designers to push creative boundaries, offering clients exclusive pieces that bring distinctive character and functionality to a space. However, special orders usually require a longer lead time for production and delivery and may come at a higher cost due to their bespoke nature. This process emphasizes the importance of thorough planning and clear communication between the designer, client, and manufacturer to achieve the desired outcome.


For a residential project, an interior designer might place a special order for a custom sectional sofa that perfectly fits the dimensions of the living room and matches the room’s color scheme. In a commercial setting, a business might special order unique light fixtures that align with its brand identity for its new office space.


  • How long do special orders typically take?

    The lead time for special orders can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the item and the manufacturer’s schedule, ranging from a few weeks to several months.

  • Can special orders be returned or refunded?

    Due to their customized nature, special orders are generally non-refundable and cannot be returned. It’s crucial to ensure all details are finalized before placing an order.

  • Are special orders more expensive than stock items?

    Yes, special orders often come at a higher cost due to the custom work, materials, and additional labor required to meet specific requirements.

Practical Application

When considering a special order for an interior design project, it is essential to start the process early to accommodate the longer lead times. Be very clear and precise about your specifications for the special order item to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to delays or errors. Collaborating closely with the manufacturer or artisan can help ensure that the finished product meets your expectations and adds unique value to your design project.