What is Interior Design?
Interior design is a profession that combines creativity, technical knowledge, and business skills. Interior designers work with clients and other design professionals to develop design solutions that are safe, functional, attractive, and meet the needs of the people using the space.
Interior designers must know how to plan a space and how to present that plan visually so that it can be communicated to the client. They must also know about the materials and products that will be used to create and furnish the space, and how texture, color, lighting and other factors combine and interact to make the space come together. In addition, interior designers must understand the structural requirements of their plans, the health and safety issues, building codes, and many other technical aspects.
Here’s some of the things that interior designers do:
- Research and analyze their client's goals and requirements
- Create preliminary space plans and 2- and 3-dimensional design concept studies and sketches
- Select colors, materials and finishes
- Select and specify furniture, fixtures, equipment and millwork
- Confirm that the space plans meet all public health, safety and welfare requirements, including code, accessibility, environmental, and sustainability guidelines
- Prepare project budgets and schedules
- Prepare construction documents, consisting of plans, elevations, details and specifications
- Coordinate and collaborate with other allied design professionals, including architects; structural, mechanical and electrical engineers; and various specialty consultants
- Oversee the implementation of projects and serve as a representative of and on behalf of the client
Types of Interior Design
Interior design is usually broken down into two main categories—residential and commercial. Within these general areas there are additional specialties.
RESIDENTIAL DESIGN: Residential professionals work with private living spaces, primarily designing rooms for new or existing homes. Some even prefer working with a specific room such as the kitchen or bathroom, or planning and creating closet spaces.
COMMERCIAL DESIGN: Commercial interior designers plan public spaces—government buildings, private businesses, or other corporate entities. Offices are a common focus of these professionals, but they may also work with schools, banks, retail establishments, and other public spaces. Some work to make hotels and restaurants functional and appealing, while others design areas in hospitals and other healthcare facilities; each field often requires specific knowledge about how the space can be used effectively by both customers/clients and employees.
The Role of Design Education
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) states that:
“Completing a degree, either an associate or bachelors, is becoming increasingly more important to the interior design profession. Currently, 26 states and jurisdictions have licensing requirements for interior design practitioners. In many of these states, you cannot even call yourself an interior designer unless you meet or exceed a certain level of accredited education and in some cases pass the qualifying exam administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). Regulation of interior design practice continues to become increasingly wide spread.”