Designing the Insides: Interior Design

Designing the Insides: Interior Design
by Herbert Reich

One of the most fascinating, and often least understood, professions is that of the interior designer. The biggest misconception about interior design is that it is akin to interior decorating. Interior decorating is what everyone does when moving into a new place, or just tearing the living room apart to give it a new feel. Interior decorating is all about the arrangement of what is in the room. Interior design, on the other hand, is about the room itself, as well as what is in it.

In their fullest scope, an interior designer is the architect’s partner. While the architect designs the house and it’s exterior to be functional, meet building codes, and fit a certain aesthetic, the interior designer focuses on the inside of the house, the small touches like an arched doorway between the kitchen and dining room, the style of molding at the base of the wall, matching the flooring, the walls, and the window designs, and all the things that create the aesthetic of the room itself. Interior designers then frequently go on to add all the furniture, the decorations and small touches that an interior decorator would focus on exclusively. Sometimes an interior designer is literally partner to an architect, hired when a building is first being built. More often they need to adapt to an existing structure.

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It is the interior designer’s duty to take the client’s desires into consideration and, given the parameters of the available spaces, combine them into a cohesive, livable and beautiful space. In the end, a good interior designer will create a space that is unique, comfortable, meets the client’s needs and preferences, and is esthetically beautiful.

The most challenging thing an interior designer can face is a client who doesn’t know quite what they want. It is then up to the designer to get to know the client, and find a way to design a room suited to the client’s personality and lifestyle with minimal or confusing input from the client. Client communication is crucial, and most clients get unhappy if a design ignores or goes against a request. However, an interior designer needs to know when to do exactly that, and to explain it in a way the client will accept, if the clients request, whether for reasons of codes, aesthetics, or common sense, simply will not work.

Though creativity is essential for interior designers, they must also work well with, and thoroughly understand, people. An elitist attitude is fine, especially if the interior designer does superior work, but a person who can’t understand clients and their needs does not belong in this field. Anyone who is interested in learning more about interior design, whether to start personalizing your own space, or as a career choice, can find plenty of interior design courses, to help get them started.

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