What is Interior Design? – Guide to Understanding Interior Design

What is interior design can be answered simply, as the art and science of creating functional and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces that serve the requirements of the habitants.

Interior design is a rapidly growing industry, knowing about interior design from a professional and students perspective is important. Interior design practice has its roots embedded deep in the history.

Modern interior design industry has become advanced to a level that it can support all the creative, unique and difficult ideas visualized by interior designers.

This in depth article will explore interior design from various important perspectives. So! lets dig into this interesting content.

What is Interior Design? – Understanding The Purpose of Interior Design

What is Interior Design Definition?

Interior design is all about planning and creating ambience of commercial and residential interior spaces.

It has become an art as well as science of developing comfortable and productive living environment.

It is in the nature of humans to respond to spaces that suits his comfort and productive levels.

Shelter has always been the priority of humans in the race of survival.

Shelter or architectural space has a purpose that has been further categorized or defined as per need of the space.

Interior designers are trained professionals who design such planned and pleasing spaces within an architectural volume.

The key purpose of interior design is to design spaces that are productive, functional and attractive according to the allocated room space.

Every space or room within a house has its own functional requirement and interior designers are hired to fulfill this purpose.

Interior designers are trained professionals who study interior design as an educational discipline.

They obtain their bachelor, masters and PhD degrees learning and polishing their skills to design better, purposeful, economical and beautiful interior spaces that are according to clients requirements.

Interior design education is a combination of theory and practical learning subjects that train interior designers from conceptual and technical perspectives.

Interior design education help designers to develop their own interior design philosophy and they implement it masterfully in their commercial and residential projects.

Over the years seeing the growing interest and awareness of people interior design education has gained popularity around the globe.

Various interior design institution teach interior design from modern and classic perspectives.

Related Article: How do Interior Designers Work? 

Brief History of Interior Design

Interior design practice can be stretched back to ancients Romans, Greeks and Egyptian times, but interior design as a profession was practiced for the first time by “Elsie de Wolfe she was a New Yorker.

She was commissioned for the first time to decorate a house, this made her the first interior designer.

The term interior designer was used in a magazine (Interior Design and Decorating).

Interior design has been evolving over time in different parts of the world. Many specialties kept adding from time to time in interior design profession and academics.

Interior Design Timeline: A Quick Inside on What Has Been Happening Over Time:

1878: First ever semi annual furniture market was held in Michigan

1904: Interior decoration term was used for the first time – New York School of Applied and Fine Arts(now known as Parson School of Design) offered first courses in interior decoration.

1905: Elsie de Wolfe got her first commissioned project as interior decorator.

1913: Elsie de Wolfe publishes her first recognized book on interior design by the name on “The House in Good Taste”
1925: Dorothy Draper is known as the first woman to practice commercial interiors

1931: (AIID) The American Institute of Interior Decorators was formed

1936: (AIID) was changed to (AID) The American Institute of Decorators

1957: (NSID) National Society for Interior Designers is Formed

1970: (FIDER) Foundation for Interior Design Research is formed to accredit and review the undergraduate and graduate interior design programs

1974: National Council for Interior Design Qualification is formed to administer and develop national level interior design exam

1982: Alabama becomes the first state with title for Interior Design registration legislation

1992: (ADA) American with disabilities becomes law for the accessibility standards for all the buildings

2006: (FIDER) The Foundation for Interior Design Research becomes (CIDA) The Council for Interior Design Accreditation

These are a few noticeable happenings in timeline with reference to interior design.

How to Study Interior Design?

Interior design over the past few years have become a popular academic discipline.

The awareness about interior design and its growing market scope has made interior design study an essential degree program offered by art and design institutes.

You can easily take admission in interior design program and start studying in any design institute in your area.

Interior design degree programs are offered at three levels to study interior design.

Each degree program is targeted to train students to gain expertise for that level of education.

Interior Design Degree Programs

  • Bachelors Degree in Interior Design
  • Masters Degree in Interior Design
  • PhD in Interior Design

In a semester system at bachelor degree level students are required to complete 8 semesters of studying theory and practical subjects related to interior design.

Whereas, to complete masters degree they are required to complete 2 years of study in interior design.

PhD is the highest degree level and it requires minimum 3 years of education.

There are now a days many options available to study interior design online and offline.

Interior Design Process Steps – A Concise Guideline

Interior design is a task that requires various steps to make sure everything falls in place. These interior design steps are important for interior design project success.

Here is the series of steps interior design project requires:

  • Understanding client brief
  • Site Survey to access to scope of Work and taking measurement
  • Selection of theme for concept development
  • Present client with the interior design statement and initial concept for approval
  • Preparing research board, mood boards and sample boards according to design concept
  • Preparing working drawings and 3d presentations
  • Purchasing all the required items from furniture, fabrics, decor and fixtures for projects within clients budget
  • Executing at site works (all proposed works in interior project requirement)
  • Finishing touches for final inspection and project closure.

These are the basic steps interior designers follow for their project execution.

Understanding Types of Interior Design

Types of interior design is mostly misunderstood with styles of interior design. There is a very clear difference between the two.

Both types and styles are important for interior designers to understand. Interior design business is thriving with time as a profitable profession.

Types of Interior Design

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Hospitality
  • Healthcare
  • Sports and Fitness

Residential projects include houses, townhomes, Retirement homes, villas, bungalow, mansions apartments, condos, etc.

Commercial projects include retail stores, grocery stores, department stores, malls, etc.

Hospitality projects include recreational industry, travel and tourism industry, food and beverage industry, meetings and events industry, etc.

Healthcare type of projects include clinics, hospitals, medical related manufacturing and warehouse, Nursing and residential care facilities, dentist’s offices, Physician’s offices, outpatient care centers, etc.

Sports and Fitness Project type includes gyms, weight loss centers, Yoga and aerobics centers, Stadium and sports complex, etc.

Style is defined as the way one presents something. In interior design styles are evolved either through art and design movement, design philosophy or through experimenting with ideas.

The above mentioned project types are executed by interior designers based on certain styles.

These styles are influenced by design and art movements, historic era trends, nature focused, etc.

Interior Design Styles

  • Contemporary style
  • Traditional
  • Minimalist
  • Industrial
  • Art Deco
contemporary interior style
contemporary interior style

Contemporary interior style means the current and in trend interior design style being followed by people.

The key characteristic of contemporary style is its straight lines, less complex design approach. use of natural materials, etc.

Contemporary style is very popular as it complements modern architectural style.

traditional interior style (2)
traditional interior style

Traditional interior style refers to the use of curved lines, symmetry in layout planning to present a luxury feel and look.

Design details in straight and neat lines are represented masterfully. Traditional style typically use fabrics like silk, velvets, linen for window coverings and furniture upholstery.

minimalist interior style
Minimalist Interior Styleminimalist interior style

Minimalist interior style refers to an uncluttered design, clean straight and simple lines with monochromatic color palette and open floor plan.

Minimalist interior style works on the Japanese design philosophy of less is more.

industrial design style
Industrial Interior Style

Industrial style is a trendy style that takes its inspiration and design elements from industrial workshops and warehouse environment.

Designers play around with materials that give the feel of raw industrial recycled materials. They show exposed bricks metals, pipes and concrete in their interior ambience.

art deco interior style
Art Deco Interior Style

Art deco style in interior design is about bold geometry and rich colors. The style was popular in 1920′ 30′ and 40′.

The style represents symmetrical designs and luxury appeal in the interior ambience.

These are a few styles interior designers choose to execute different types of projects from residential and commercial.

Interior Design Career

Most of the times people show concern about the career prospects of interior design. When dealing with the question of what is interior design? the career prospects becomes important to discuss and made clear.

Interior design is a rapidly growing industry worldwide. Interior design now offers many diversified areas of work.

The career paths have extended in many related dimensions.

Here are a few of the interior design career paths:

  • Interior designer
  • Interior design assistant
  • Interior design instructor
  • Interior decorator and stylist
  • Interior project manager
  • Interior design blogger
  • Specialist kitchen designer
  • Interior design visualizer
  • Set designer

These are just few areas in interior design career path. Interior design is a stable career path and it has many opportunities for people who have expertise in interior design and related areas, along with passion to work for excellence.

To make sure the question what is interior design? is well understood, here is an important people also ask common questions section.

FAQ – Interior Design

How much money do interior designers make?

Well, how much money do interior designers make depends on many factors like location, area of work, and individual expertise.

In United States according to the bureau of Labor Statistics interior designer earn $56,000 and plus or around $26.90 per hour.

Do you need math for interior design?

Yes, some basic level math is required to become interior designer. Basic math is also taught in interior design institutions wherever it is needed in different subjects.

What qualifications do you need to be an interior designer?

Interior design industry is growing and needs professionals with creative ideas and expertise.

Interior design discipline is taught in many design institutes around the globe.

The minimum qualification required to become an interior designer is a bachelors degree in interior design.

Is architect and interior designer the same?

Architects and interior designers perform different duties.  Architects design the main structure of the building, whereas interior designers design interior spaces of the building by making furniture layout plans, suggesting the color schemes, window treatments, and overall decor.

Interior designers design the ambience of the internal room spaces of the building.

What is The Best Home Design App?

There are a number of apps interior designers use to create plans in 2d, 3d, render them and for making presentations.

Popular interior design apps 

  • Floor Planner
  • Planner 5d
  • SmartDraw
  • HomeByMe
  • Room Styler

You can use these easy to use apps to design and make plans in 2d and 3d.

These are just a few questions people are concerned with with talking about interior design.

I am sure there could be a lot more to dig into when discussing interior design as profession.

Final Thoughts

Interior design is practiced and taught all over the world. People are becoming more and more aware of the fact that their living and working spaces should be comfortable and productive.

They know interior design is science along with the art of presenting things in a beautiful way.

Interior design understanding can go into a deep discussion while exploring so many topics related to interior design field.

All  you should keep in mind while letting people know about what interior design is that it is the art and science of creating functional and aesthetically attractive spaces.

Written by: Adil Masood Qazi