What Does An Interior Designer Do?
"I want to become an interior designer because I have always been very impressed at how they make the most out of every living space. But is there job only confined to arranging interiors? What do interior designers do?"
asked by Bianca R. from Shreveport, Louisiana
An interior designer designs how a particular space should look and feel. They sketch or use the computer to create visualization for a living, eating or shopping space. They will be manipulating lighting, furniture and other fixtures to make a space functional and aesthetically pleasing.
In this profession, you will talk with various clients to determine what they want to achieve with a particular space. You’ll have the opportunity to sketch the preliminary plan and figure out the materials needed to make the plan come to life. You’ll be collaborating closely with engineers and architects for your projects. You’ll also need to have knowledge of building codes and other regulations to create safe interior spaces.
To become a successful interior designer, you will need to possess a strong sense of proportion and visualization. You want to be able to create a picture in your head of how a space will look like even before the actual work has begun. Artistic ability, attention to detail, creativity and problem-solving skills are all important characteristics that aspiring interior designers need to develop.
Although this career is intertwined with that of architectures and engineers, it will focus more on the design of functional, safe and beautiful living areas and not on the technical aspects of the building and construction of structures.
One of the best reasons for becoming an interior designer is that it gives you the chance to showcase your artistic talent and skill for making bare interior spaces livable. It also pays reasonably well and gives you a chance to work as an independent contractor once you have established yourself in the field.
Interior designers usually work full-time for industries that provide specialized design services, architectural and engineering firms, furniture stores, merchant wholesalers and construction firms. Their offices are clean and comfortable, equipped with drafting tables and/or computers that are able to produce designs in 2D or 3D.
Part of their work involves visiting clients in the sites where the job needs to be done, such as homes, restaurants or office buildings. They can meet clients in the evenings or weekends depending on the latter’s schedule.
The main task of interior designers is to make sure that interior spaces are not only beautiful but efficient and fully-utilized. They see to it that areas are safe and conform to the taste and style of its occupants or the purpose for which it was built. Interior designers know how to read blueprints and plans and can specialize in different kinds of design work.
For instance, interior designers who focus on improving the indoor air quality and promoting the use of environmentally-friendly products are called sustainable designers. Those who have expert knowledge of kitchen and bath cabinets, fixtures, appliances and plumbing are called kitchen and bath designers.
Those who design spaces for the elderly and those with special needs are called universal designers. If lighting can make or break an entire room, there are lighting designers who make sure that each space is fitted with the appropriate lighting fixtures that will give the desired effects.
Before interior designers start working on any space, they first meet with their clients to ensure that they understand how they want the space to look after it has been remodeled. They also check the space to see what can be done about it to accommodate the client’s wishes. Based on these meetings, they will then draw up the initial plans, materials needed and the budget for the work. They then meet again with the client to get their final approval for the project.
When the client has given the green lights for the project, interior designers will then work on the final detailed plan for it. The designers will also be in charge of getting the necessary building permits, looking for a contractor for the job and creating a timetable for the entire project. They are responsible for ensuring that the project proceeds as planned and that the final result is what the clients expect.
Interior designers will often select the fixtures, furniture and other room features themselves. They decide on how the items in the room should be arranged and whether some structural changes should be made. For example, they may decide to add a cabinet or enlarge an entrance to make the space more functional.
Interior designers supervise the entire undertaking. They make orders for the materials that are needed and address any issues that might come up while the project is in progress. They will have to think and decide quickly if changes need to be made to certain parts of the original plan.
After the project is done, they make a final inspection of the project to ensure that it is in accordance with the clients’ expectations. They then meet with the client to turn over the project and see to it that they are satisfied before finally saying that the project is finished.
Interior designers usually hold a bachelor’s degree in interior design or related field with a concentration in interior design. To gain admission to interior design programs, applicants may have to show proof of their artistic ability through sketches and drawings.
Different states have different requirements when it comes to licensing interior designers. There are states where only those who pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam can become registered interior designers.
In California, another test is taken by those who want to become interior designers. It is administered by the California Council for Interior Design Certification. A bachelor’s degree and work experience are required before aspiring interior designers can take these exams.
Interior designers who want to showcase their expertise in a particular field, such as kitchen design, may voluntarily get certification attesting to the fact.
Career Spotlight: Interior Designer
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