[City Living by Christopher Michel]
Interior designers work on homes as well as ofﬁces and commercial buildings. Some do not even work on buildings and spaces at all; these designers focus on furnishings. As such, the designs must take into consideration the appeal of all those who will patronise the revamped spaces, not just the owner.
An interior designer’s work basically encompasses:
- Developing initial ideas and obtaining information for potential projects
- Discussing clients’ requirements in detail
- Understanding clients’ needs for the spaces and buildings
- Developing design concepts and creating initial sketches that will accommodate the clients’ or public’s needs
- Creating detailed sketches for projects
- Conducting feasibility studies for projects
- Developing samples or mood boards to present design ideas
- Researching and gathering information relating to projects
- Sourcing products for projects and providing their samples to clients
- Working with quantity surveyors for cost estimation and planning work schedules
- Working with architects to optimise the functionality of spaces
- Planning business and selling products to clients
Attitude and aptitude of an interior designer
Those in the ﬁeld would tell you that without being creative, imaginative and artistic, you would not go far as an interior designer. Without these three characteristics, designers ﬁnd themselves getting tired with no inspiration to produce work. It is, therefore, important that you have these skills as they are not easy to develop.
But, being in today’s competitive world, you would need more than just creativity, imagination and artistry to succeed. Some of the soft skills an interior designer should also possess are:
Interior designers must read blueprints. Without the technical skills to plan and create a blue print, it is not possible to design a space and to present it to the client. Interior designers must understand the materials, products and processes that will be used to decorate the space besides considering the health and safety issues, building codes and the structural requirements.
Interpersonal and communication skills
Interior designers may work with clients who do not have a background in design. Thus, they should have the ability to communicate with their clients using non-technical terms. Clients come from all walks of life and each might have different opinions of your designs. An interior designer should have the humility to accommodate a client’s request even though the results might look utterly terrible. You need to be a good team player too, as most interior designers start their careers with group assignments.
Time management is particularly important for interior designers, who might be working on more than one project. To complete an overdue task, the interior designer will have to do overtime or work irregular hours over the weekends, sometimes skipping sleep. The deadlines of some projects can be very demanding. Project management strategies can go a long way to help designers cope with the number of projects on their hands. Interior designers must know business planning and how to market their products to the client, through well-thought- out presentations and proposals. Perseverance is also needed, as you will be spending your time visiting potential clients to persuade them to buy your designs and services, present proposals, convince doubters of the merits of your designs, discuss project details, and so on.
This entails working out on the costs of a project based on clients’ demands and budget and estimate the project’s actual cost by choosing appropriate materials for furnishings, lightings, ﬁ ttings and ﬁ xtures and so on. Interior designers have to keep their projects within a budget and a timeline; delays and cost overruns may result in a project costing more than intended.