This paper reviews briefly the recent history of dwelling design in China. It notes the rapid changes that have taken place since the 1980s and identifies the way contemporary procurement processes leave out the final fit-out and decoration/refurbishment. A range of stakeholders were interviewed, and access was gained to drawings and other technical data that indicated how the secondary processes were carried out. These are largely ungoverned by regulation in the same way necessary for initial design. The key group is the occupants who drive the fit-out and decoration according to personal and cultural requirements, but often with less than perfect understanding of sustainability. The interior design industry has developed rapidly over the same period and was initially lacking in professional knowledge and understanding (something which can still be found). Advice provided to dwelling occupants was based more on appearance than function and efficiency. Over the same period, beneficial modifications to construction processes have been introduced in relation to structural design, and it should be possible to do the same for sustainability-related design issues. The paper advocates: more regulation; better assessment techniques; more information and guidance for home-owners; and a greater focus on energy issues.