You see the beautiful homes on Instagram and Pinterest we design and the projects we dream up in our own homes. From the outside, it looks like a blast. Who wouldn’t wan to decorate shelves and arrange pillows all day amiright?
While it IS fun, it’s definitely not all fun and games. There’s a lot of work that goes into designing a beautiful room, so I thought I’d pull back the curtain a bit and share what we do and how it’s not just about fluffing pillows. Since I’m an online interior e-designer, I’m focusing on what it is exactly I do and how I help clients create beautiful rooms in their home.
What do interior designers really do?
Interior design is the art and science of creating a functional, beautiful space that meets clients’ needs and includes the plans, research, and management of the project. It’s a combination of juggling the needs and wants of a client so their home works for their lifestyle while crating an aesthetically pleasing and inspiring place to hang out with family and friends.
Interior design involves so much more than just a pretty house. It’s about bringing family and friends together and creating a welcoming environment you want to hang out in. Your home is the backdrop of your memories. It’s where all the everyday sweet moments happen so it’s a super personal thing and should be a place you truly enjoy.
You know the saying, if you look good, you feel good? I whole heartedly believe there’s something to it. If you have the confidence that comes from within because you are proud of the way your home looks, (and you aren’t constantly annoyed with all your blank walls and out-dated, uncomfortable furniture), it triggers other areas of your life as well and you do good, and the world can use more good people.
Think about it for a minute. Imagine what kind of mood you’re in when you leave your house as you’re grumbling because your closet is a disaster because you don’t have an organization system, you stubbed your toe on the kitchen table leg that you’ve been wanting to get rid of for a few years now, and you see the chipping paint in the entryway as you rush out the door. Doesn’t sound like a great start to your day.
Then, imagine what kind of mood you’re in when you can easily see everything in closet and find something to wear, you have a soft faux fur rug that feels good on your feet when you wake up, and the entryway has a console table that keeps you organized so you can grab your keys and sunglasses and head out the door. Completely different right? That’s the power of a well-designed beautiful space.
Now, I’m not saying you won’t ever have a bad morning again, but you get the idea that an inspiring, happy place that function, generally creates inspiring, happy people.
It’s the same thing that happens when you walk into an Anthroplogie store. Everything from the amazing signature candle scent that fills the air, to the beautifully styled shelves with loads of pretty blouses and housewares. All the little details, perfectly curated items, and smell create a whole experience and makes you think, I want to live this beautiful life. They have created an entire vibe and personality around their store experience and the goal comes down to one thing, inspiring you.
That’s how your home should make you feel.
I believe you should feel inspired every time you walk in your home, so that is my goal as a designer.
The Design Process
The first step when working with an interior designer is the consultation meeting. It’s a chat where we can get clear on the client’s needs and goals. What are you hoping to accomplish and what specific needs or requests do you have for the space? A designer works to understand the client’s struggles both functionally and aesthetically, so they can identify solutions to solve them.
During the consultation, the designer also gathers room measurements, budget, and other useful information from the client and will help define their style. The client should have an idea of what they like or have a Pinterest board they can show for visuals, but the designer can help the client hone in on their style and give some guidelines.
From here, the designer takes the information and they develop a design plan. The plan addresses functional aspects of the space so it flows and meets the client’s needs, but you’ll also get a customized, beautiful design that fits within your style.
The design plan includes everything from floor plan, to space planning, to the color palette and lighting, window treatments, furniture, accessories, and any hard finishes if you are doing a remodel, complete with design boards, renderings and floor plan drawings. This is where the art and science come into play. Of course designers know what looks good and how to create a cohesive design, but they must also take into account the measurements and create a floor plan that fits and find furniture that is the right scale and size.
One of the trickiest things about design if you aren’t a professional is getting the scale right. The size and scale of any furniture is different, and not just any sofa will work with any coffee table. You wouldn’t pair a large sectional with a small coffee table. The coffee table will look even smaller next to the large sofa. This takes practice and skill to get right but will make a big difference in creating flow and cohesiveness in your room.
Another example of a design challenge I see often is hanging artwork too high or the piece being too small for the space. This goes back to scale and making sure you have a proper sized piece of art to hang above the sofa, or wherever it’s getting installed.
The designer thinks about every detail in your home and ensures everything is cohesive and beautiful. The only thing the client has to do is approve the overall designs - that’s it!
The Benefits of Working with an interior Designer
The major benefit of working with an interior designer, obviously, is their expertise of creating a beautiful, unique and cohesive room. You will have a room that you’ll love and want to show off because it looks amazing, and most importantly, it functions with your everyday needs and is a place that you can enjoy with family and friends. No more wondering what furniture to get, or what color to paint, or staring at blank walls because you can’t decide what to hang.
Designing a space takes time. It’s involved and requires a lot of research, planning and coordination. If you don’t have hours to spend on a decorating a room, it will likely go unfinished for months. Designers have time they can dedicate to you and create a beautiful space. But because they do this for a living, they are much more efficient with their time and have lots of ideas to offer.
The biggest time suck if you are decorating a room yourself is sourcing all the pieces. It’s easy to spend HOURS searching for the perfect sofa and then you’ll question whether it goes with everything else in your room. Designers source furniture and decor all the time so they know many great options out there (ones you may not have heard of before!) and can often get better deals than a regular consumer. Can you imagine not spending hours looking for furniture and getting all that time back in your life, while a designer sources the best furniture options for you?
Interior designers can often feel intimidating or you might worry you won’t like the look they create at the end. As a designer, I am here to help you and just want to create the best space for you and your family! I don't get all technical and throw out all kinds of design jargon. It’s just about you and how we can create the room of your dreams.
Hopefully that answers your questions about what interior designers really do. Have a question on something I missed? Ask away in the comments!