What is interior design?
Interior design is the artistic and scientific way of improving interior spaces. In some cases, it may also involve improving the outdoors to make a building or space look more attractive as well as healthy. The person who is responsible for improving the interiors (and, sometimes the exteriors) of a building is called an interior designer. He or she takes the responsibility of planning and researching as well as coordinating and even managing an interior design project.
Interior design as a profession
Interior design involves many different professions including but not limited to development of concepts, planning spaces, inspecting sites, programming and research. It also requires interaction with clients. For a long time, interiors were mostly put together intuitively. Interior designing only became a profession after society had developed and industrialisation had become a reality.
Interior designing requires optimum use of space. Ensuring good use of space is one of the key factors that have contributed to a large extent to the development of interior designing as a profession. However, care must be taken to differentiate interior designing from interior decorating. In the UK, interior design is not as regulated and therefore it is not recognised as a true profession.
The Roots of interior design go a long way back
In India, during ancient times, architects doubled up as interior designers. In Egypt of old, it was common practice to put a soul house or a house model inside tombs. These were the early roots of interior designing. Later in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and then the early part of the nineteenth century, homemakers would take care of all interior decoration projects.
It was only in the middle of the nineteenth century that interior design services became more commonplace. This happened after the Industrial Revolution, which threw up a middle class that began to demand better interiors. This led to the larger sized furniture companies expanding and creating their own commercial interior design and management services. Owen Jones is perhaps the best known and most influential interior design theorist of the nineteenth century.
With the arrival of the twentieth century, Mary Haweis, who wrote about the rigidity that these retailers enforced on the middle class, challenged the monopoly that large retail companies enjoyed in the interior design space.
The end of World War II saw the rise of interior design as a profession. People began to spend more on their homes and interior design courses were also being offered to those who showed an interest in this profession. Till this time, people considered interior design to be a subordinate profession to architecture. The US National Society of Interior Designers came into existence in the year 1957 and in the UK the Interior Decorators and Designers Association came into being in 1966. This was when interior design became better organised.
What does interior design demand?
Interior design demands an understanding of how people behave and it also requires an understanding of how to fashion more functional spaces within a home or building. The interior designer of the time learned to emphasise certain things including proper planning, functional design as well as making best use of interior spaces. This was and is different than how an interior decorator functions. An interior designer knows how to properly arrange the layout of a space. To do a good job he or she needs to understand how to position the windows and doors as well as use proper acoustics and lighting. An interior designer is a skilled person who creates the most functional and safe interiors. Interior decorators, on the other hand, use furnishing and they adorn spaces with nice and stylish things. Interior decorators do not design anything.
Residential interior design involves designing the interiors of a private residential accommodation. Commercial interior design and management on the other hand involves more than just selecting the best colour palette and furnishings. It requires applying an interior designer’s knowledge to develop mechanical and electrical as well as plumbing and life safety solutions. Commercial interior design encompasses many subordinate subjects like retail and corporate buildings. It also deals with the healthcare industry as well as institutions. Other areas in which commercial interior design and management work include traffic buildings, sports arenas and gyms and industrial facilities.
A new and evolving profession
Interior design as a profession is new and it is constantly evolving. It is not just an artistic activity but it requires researching different fields to understand how people influence their environments. Colour plays a very important role in interior decoration. This aspect of interior designing is an art in itself. It deals with composing and coordinating colours to create more stylish schemes. An interior designer knows which colours have what psychological effects and he or she is very adept at creating a colour palette that creates the perfect mood.
How to become an interior designer?
So, what does one have to do in order to become an interior designer? One can take different paths but each of these different paths requires a certain amount of training. One option available to you is to learn the ropes by working with a professional interior designer. Another option available to you is to take a course in an educational institute. It is even possible for you to join a college to earn a university degree.
Different working conditions
Within the interior design profession there are many different types of working conditions that you will have to deal with. You can either choose to work for a large corporation or you can choose to work for a small one. If you choose the latter option then you may have to work on contract basis. You can also work on your own. Approximately 26 percent of all interior designers work for themselves.
Different interior design styles
To succeed as an interior designer you need to be aware of all the main interior design styles. Art Deco style is one such style. It originated in the Europe towards the beginning of the twentieth century. This style rejected the more traditional influences and was more concerned with geometric forms as well as metallic colours.
Modern Art is another interior design style that every budding interior designer should know about. This style is an offshoot of the Art Deco style and it grew in the early part of the twentieth century. Finally, there is the Arab Materials style. This kind of interior design style deals with decorating a majlis (or front parlour of the traditional home of an Arab). It is a style that involves geometric designs and use of bright colours.
Today, interior design is a well-known subject that is often discussed and shown on television. It is also the subject of different radio shows. Interior design magazines are also everywhere. They offer much needed advice on how to use the right colours, furniture, art as well as different interior design elements.