A Typical Day in the Life of an Interior Designer
If your idea of an interior designer is someone who picks out fabric, spends time contemplating color and rearranges furniture to get it just right, you’re not far off, but there is much more to the job. To be a successful interior designer you need to be creative and good with color, and you also need to be a good communicator, have people skills and be able to manage schedules, deadlines and budgets. While any one day can be drastically different from another, here’s a good idea of the typical daily duties of an interior designer.
Consult with New Clients
When beginning a new job, the interior designer has a consultation with the client. This can take anywhere from an hour to half the day, depending on the extent of the job. A consultation involves talking about the project, finding out what the client needs and wants, figuring out a budget and deadline, and discussing ideas. This is an essential part of design, because the final product has to meet the needs and expectations of the client. If the client isn’t happy at the end of the job, the designer has failed.
Create Design Boards
The fun, creative work for an interior design is just one part of a typical day. After a consultation, the designer can finally get down to business, using fabric, paint and color samples to craft the beginnings of a room design. This is likely to change and be refined after getting feedback from the client. Ultimately, the designer will create a detailed design for the room or project, usually with a computer program.
Design for Function and Safety
Designing an interior space is about more than just color and style. In addition to the design board, an interior designer will also take into account the function of spaces. This may mean determining how people will flow from one room to another, how the layout of a kitchen will make it easier to work in, or how the layout of an office building or hotel will reduce stress or be conducive to relaxation. Designers also make sure rooms and buildings meet existing safety codes.
Source Suppliers and Contractors
An interior designer does not complete projects alone. He or she needs to have partners on the job, including suppliers and contractors. The suppliers provide the needed materials, like tiles, fabric and furniture, while the contractors provide any necessary renovation work, such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical. Designers need to find good professionals to work with and whom they can rely on to do jobs well, on time and at the right price. A designer will then spend time each day communicating with contractors and suppliers about projects and updates.
Working with and communicating with clients is an important part of the job of interior design. Designers spend a significant amount of time updating people on the designs and the progress of their projects. This is often routine, but it can also be tricky. If there are unexpected issues, extra expenses or something the client wants but that the designer can’t get, breaking the news becomes delicate work. A designer may have to deal with an unhappy or upset client and take steps to appease them.
You can see that there is a lot of variety in the workday for an interior designer and that only some of the tasks are actually creative. The work environment shifts, which involves a lot of driving, from client homes and construction projects to suppliers and back to the studio or office again. There is also a potential for evening and weekend work, as most clients have their own jobs during the day and need to meet with designers at other times.
Art and design careers are growing. You can get in on the trend and unleash your creative energies by becoming an interior designer. Consider starting with an interior design degree or certificate, or find a design firm willing to take on a trainee. With these steps you can begin a career that will be fun, challenging and rewarding.