Interior Design is often confused with decoration, however they are not interchangeable terms. Yes, choosing the right colors, coverings, and finishes are a vital part of interior design, however they are not the only characteristics. So what is interior design then? Simply put, it is the science, and art, of augmenting the inside of a room or space to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the occupants of the space. People who plan, research, coordinate, manage, and who ultimately create this augmentation are called interior designers. They work in a multi-faceted field that includes space planning, conceptual development, and communication with a number of team members of a project.
What does an Interior Designer Do?
An interior designer works very closely with a client to create an attractive and appealing area. Clients can be individual homeowners, small businesses or big corporations, so these areas can range from home bedrooms and offices, to upscale hotel lobbies and enormous mansions. No matter the size of the project, the main goal is to create a space that is aesthetic, functional, and safe – and of course, meets the needs and vision of the client. It is important for a designer to bring together vital components like lighting, artwork, flooring, and window treatments, and this can be done via the use of color palettes, decorations, furniture placement, and functional décor.
One very important thing to remember about interior design is that it is permanent. Of course most anything can be undone but it can be inconvenient and costly. If you don’t like a certain style of music or art, you can avoid those things. However, architecture is very different. A project that is poorly thought-out can affect the lives of many people on a daily basis, for a very long time. Interior design is even more magnified, especially these days when we are spending so much time indoors. People are working from home, cannot visit restaurants, bars or coffee houses, and are even having to retire early. All of these adjustments impact our well-being and mental health. Therefore it is extremely important that interior spaces are inviting and evoke a sense of tranquility and comfort. Bottom line: the job of designing a space is a big responsibility for an interior designer.
What It Takes…
Some might think it doesn’t take much to get into interior design and that it’s all about moving furniture around and fluffing pillows. Well, it certainly takes much more than this, and below we will cover what that means.
- Decorating versus Designing: those who like playing around with textiles, colors, and fabrics can be a decorator. Interior design, on the other hand, is a vocation that requires specified education and formal training. The work required commonly involves the study of drawing, space planning, furniture design, architecture, color and fabric, computer-aided design (CAD), and more. Upon graduation, designers often do apprenticeships before moving on to work for a firm, become independent contractors, or starting their own businesses.
- The knack: some of us have an innate ability for design, a knack, if you will. To be an interior designer one needs to have a natural flair for spatial arrangements, textiles, architecture and color. Those who re-arrange a room as they walk in, love to watch home makeover shows, and who love to put puzzles together, most probably have a future in interior design.
- Not all pretty: yes, colorful fabrics and furniture are a big part of interior design, however there are lots of other tasks that are required that are more work and less fun. Interior designers work not only with homeowners but with architects, builders, contractors, business owners, and government agencies. This means they need to be knowledgeable in many areas, including building codes, ergonomics, spatial concepts, building structural integrity, history of design…and more.
- Industry Fit: it’s important to discover what industry is most fitting for one’s own personal interest. There is a myriad of industries to choose from, although the most common are residential (private residences) and commercial design. The latter encompasses a variety of subspecialties, such as retail, healthcare, corporate, hospitality, industrial, visual and special branding.
- Salary: the industry will also dictate the amount of money one makes. For example, working for an up-scale architectural firm will pay much more than running one’s own business or working at a furniture company. The important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing.
- People Person: we have all heard about being a “people person”- this is a perfect example of a time when this skill is necessary. Dealing with people, especially when it comes to their homes, can be challenging. Interior designers need to be good listeners and communicators to help interpret and share the imagination of the client.
- Flexibility: while many clients might think they know what they want, some might change their minds mid-project, or worse, they could object to your work. A good interior designer is able to “go with the flow”, be able to pivot, and navigate clients to a favorable outcome while making them feel in control.
- Be assertive: the interior design business can be quite competitive so it’s important to stand out. A few ways to do this is by having an education and by developing a great portfolio. At the end of the day, success depends on one’s past work. It’s essential to have a great portfolio highlighting what kind of designer you are, what special skills you have, and what clients have to say about you. It’s all about what you know (and sometimes, who you know) and what you have done.
If you are debating who to hire, a designer or decorator, or if you should even hire anyone at all, remember that selecting the right person for the job doesn’t depend on the title as much as on the skills of the person. Many talented designers spend years at formal schools yet spend much of their time “decorating”, as it technically doesn’t involve any renovation or structural changes. Likewise there are a number of decorators who, after years of experience, are very capable of working with all of the agencies, builders, and contractors that designers do. At the end of the day, it’s about who you feel more comfortable working with and whether you can trust that person to work in and with your personal space.
Interior Design is the science and art of improving the look and feel of a room to improve the psychological, social, and aesthetic appeal of the people using that space. An interior designer is a person who designs, studies, coordinates, and oversees such improvement projects.
Soft Big Easy Chair
Extendable Dining Table
A professional interior designer will consult with the owners of a home or business in order to determine the kind of improvements or renovations to be made. Interior designers work with architects, planners, engineers, and other professionals involved in building construction. Interior designers have a number of different areas of focus. In some cases, a designer may not be specifically involved in creating a particular space but simply provide advice as to the type of furniture or other elements to be used in it.
Tecno D70 Sofa 1954
Jos de Mey
In other cases, an interior designer will be working with a design firm that is designing a new space for a client. Most interior designers will work in residential areas; however, there are some that specialize in commercial or industrial spaces. While this may not necessarily involve a different area of expertise, it is still an important function in any design project.
Willy Van Der Meeren
Heart Cone Chair
Interior designers will also often consult with architects and planners regarding the look and feel of the new space to determine what the client's desires. If a plan is provided, the designer will work with the architect or planner to create the best possible space, incorporating as many of the client's preferences as possible. The client may be asked to choose furniture, lighting, flooring, and other elements that will make the room look as great as possible.
Hans J. Wegner
For example, a client who wants to remodel an office will have to design a space which has a contemporary look, while the client who wants to add a spa to his or her living room can ask his or her interior designer to design a space with a Jacuzzi. In addition, many interior designers will consult with a design firm about purchasing materials such as fabrics and flooring to help create the appearance they want. These may include carpeting and wallpaper.
There are also a number of special effects that can be added, such as stencils and stenciled fabrics, to help the design firm to create the look that the client is looking for. When choosing colors for a new room or space, many interior designers consider the type of people who will be using the room. For instance, if you are looking for a new living room for your family, you would probably use colors that would be comfortable for both the adults and the children.
Jan Roth & Ingo Maurer
If you were looking for a kitchen for your home, you would likely select neutral colors, but would opt for a bright or pastel paint color on your kitchen cabinets. If you were looking for a bedroom, you might select a neutral color for a space that is easily noticeable, such as the hallway of the home. This will help make the area more prominent and attractive to visitors or potential buyers. In addition, the colors that you choose for your rooms will help the interior designer to determine how well the room blends with its surroundings. One important consideration in this regard is lighting.
Lighting makes or breaks a space, so it is important to find the right shade for any room. It is also important to choose the right kind of curtains to cover the windows in order to create the right effect. Good interior design will also help make the room look more spacious. When planning a new bathroom, for example, it is important to decide whether or not it will be large enough to accommodate all of your needs.
In fact, in order to make a room appear larger, there are actually a lot of different options to use in your decorating. You can choose a wide variety of flooring materials, including linoleum, rugs, shag, cotton, and even bamboo to use around the bathtub or toilet.
If you have the space in your home, it will be easier to do all of these things yourself if you hire a good interior designer to help with the design process. In some cases, however, you may be able to purchase all of the pieces needed to finish off the room yourself.