Interior design is the science and art of improving the interior of a structure to make it aesthetically more pleasing to the people who are using the room. An interior decorator is a person who plans, studies, coordinates and takes care of these interior improvement projects. A decorator’s job is to assist architects, interior designers, or owners of buildings in accomplishing their goals. The decorator’s duties include choosing appropriate styles of paint, linens, furnishings, window treatments, lighting, hardwood flooring, cabinetry, hardware, countertops, cabinets, furniture, flooring, heating and air-conditioning systems, carpeting, tiles, rugs, appliances, cabinets, sinks, windows, and architectural details.
There are many types of interior designers including city planners, landscape architects, fashion consultants, hospitality specialists, and building contractors. There are also many subtypes including historic preservationists, regional planners, commercial builders, residential planners, residential designers, and supportive services. Many cities and towns have historic preservation programs that target remodels of historic buildings to make them more attractive to the general public. Many state and local governments have historic preservation programs as well.
City and town planners are often hired by developers to plan the development of neighborhood spaces and public parks. These planners are responsible for making sure the city has adequate street space for human movement and allow building developers to build at planned levels. They also prepare plans for sidewalks, bike paths, parks, and other community spaces. Design firms often contract with this city and town planners to create master plans for projects like parks, malls, and buildings.
Project managers are the ones ultimately in charge of the project. Their primary responsibility is to organize and manage the crew of design team members. A project manager will often be a senior architect or designer. Other project managers are responsible for assigning project managers and other professionals to specific projects. Designers can often become project managers once they complete several successful projects under their belt.
A design course prepares students for their state’s interior design entrance exams. The exam measures an applicant’s ability to interpret architectural plans and visual materials like photographs, plans, sketches, and floor plans. The exam measures one’s capability to work with material, colors, light, and space planning. Some states require interior designers to pass an interior design examination before becoming licensed. Most states require aspiring interior designers to take an interior design class prior to applying to a state’s licensing board.
Pre-demolition and pre-construction projects typically involve coordination between building contractors, land owners, and local government agencies. The project manager may have different responsibilities depending on the complexity of the project. In a demolishment project, the manager would be responsible for coordinating with all parties involved, including demolition companies, subcontractors, and government agencies. In a construction project, the manager would oversee project goals, schedule, materials, labor, and budget. He/she would also be responsible for final inspections and clearance of materials at the end of the project.
Environmental design is another specialization that is available. Environmental designers focus on designing spaces that are environmentally friendly. These may include designing spaces to reduce energy consumption, reduce waste, or improve community health. Many designers specialize in both residential and commercial projects. Green design principles often incorporate sustainable building practices.
Interior designers are not required to obtain a degree in order to practice. However, many interior designers have earned a Master’s degree in the past. A more recent option for gaining interior design certification is the Buildership Certificate. This certification program was created to train individuals in building materials, space planning, safety, and historic preservation. It is widely regarded as the most comprehensive certification program available for today’s interior environment specialists.