BEING AN INTERIOR DESIGNER
There is more to interior designing than just decorating a space. Read on to find out more about this exciting field.
Many people assume that interior designers are only in charge of the aesthetic element of a space. Not to be confused with interior decorating, interior designers are responsible for designing a space that is functional, comfortable and most importantly, safe. Interior designers make sure that interior components of a space meet building code and safety requirements while being functional, economical, and pleasing to the eye. Interior components of a building include partitions, corridors, circulation, furniture, lighting and fixtures.
Responsibilities of an Interior Designer
The tasks of an interior designer involve meeting clients, planning a space, purchasing materials and furnishing an area. At the beginning of a project, an interior designer meets the client to discuss space layout plans and decorating ideas. After getting a clear picture of what the client wants, interior designers begin planning the space by hand drawing and using computerised design software. The final plan is then shown to the client for approval. Interior designers are also responsible for buying materials, fabrics, furniture and lighting needed for the space. On top of that, they have to take measurements, schedule deliveries and coordinate installations in a particular space. Depending on the client or budget constraints, some interior designers have to get their hands dirty by doing work such as painting walls or installing light fixtures themselves.
Studying to be an Interior Designer
After finishing secondary school, those who wish to pursue interior design may enrol in a diploma and degree programme in the field. Students are advised to prepare a portfolio of previous artwork as some institutions set that as an entry requirement. A Diploma in Interior Design takes three years to complete and encompasses subjects that will help students understand the fundamentals of interior design. Examples of subjects are Design Communication, Computer Aided Design and Environmental Science. Diploma students may further their studies by taking up a four-year degree in Interior Architecture. A degree programme will expose students to more advanced design subjects such as Materials and Finishes, Detailing and Working Drawings, and Design Realisation. Most diploma and degree programmes provide industrial training and require students to deliver an individual design project.
The job opportunities in the interior design industry differ according to qualification. Diploma holders are usually hired as design assistants, model makers and site supervisors. Degree holders are recognised as interior designers and will be considered for positions such as exhibition designers, film set designers and furniture designers. Architectural studios, housing developers, furniture manufacturers and hotels are some of the places that employ interior designers. Alternatively, graduates can set up their own interior design firms or work on a freelance basis.
Aspiring interior designers must be creative and have an eye for design. People who are passionate and excited about paint colours, furniture and fabrics should also consider becoming interior designers. Good artistic skills are a must especially when it comes to drawing and colouring. Strong IT and computer skills are essential as well to tackle complex design software when planning spaces. In addition, interior designers must possess good communication skills as they are constantly meeting clients and presenting ideas to them. Last but not least, interior designers sometimes work long hours to meet deadlines so individuals must be hardworking, patient and persistent.
Interior design is a unique field that combines the practical application of technical knowledge and creative thinking. People live, work and entertain in safe and comfortable spaces due to the hard work of interior designers.