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Interior design is a well-known profession and designers have ascended into the spotlight in recent years with television shows and a growing interest in having homes and commercial buildings designed to make the most of the available space.
Designers are employed to design and plan spaces in residential, public and commercial buildings. They may be employed to work on existing spaces or for buildings which are in the process of being built.
Interior designers combine creative, practical and technical skills to ensure their and their clients' ideas actually work and stick to a budget. Space maximisation is a priority, as well as the aesthetics of the entire space. In the past few years ‘concept design’ has been born. Put simply this means creating spaces that give an impression and a brand opposed to simply looking good and functioning in a specific way. In practice, interior designers will concern themselves with three main areas, particularly in the home. These are hard and soft furnishings, colour and theme.
Interior designers have a systematic and coordinated way of approaching their work. There is always great thought behind every decision made and a reason for selections. Closeness to the client is obviously paramount to both parties being satisfied at the end.
Designers will meet with clients either in an office or onsite to discuss the practical and aesthetic requirements of the space and to negotiate budgets and deadlines. They will then plan layouts, colour ways, furniture and all features right down to the last detail, according to the demands of the client. They put together schemes and mood boards to show to the client for approval.
Depending on the type of projects an interior design company undertakes, typically at the higher end, designers may have to commission one-off pieces of furniture or designs for furnishings, such as carpets, wallpapers and curtain fabrics. They also visit art and antiques dealers and design fairs to find pieces to suggest to the client.
Often an existing building or space will undergo a structural inspection or renovation before the interiors can be coordinated. This will sometimes need to be organised and overseen by interior designers working with architects and contractors. They will also commission blueprints and floor plans from architects.
Designers will frequently visit the site to supervise instalments and fittings and will report progress back to the client.
Both design companies and freelance interior designers are now widespread. Whilst this has improved the quality of design and its specialisms it has also made the industry much more competitive.