What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says interior designing? It is probably a space that fascinates with its vibrant colors and textures or a place that is very comfortable and happy. But it is actually more than what meets the eye. The interior design imbues the mood of a space, gives it life, and enhances the quality of living. Even a dungeon can be made beautiful with a good interior designing. What is needed is good knowledge and a thorough understanding of the space, materials, services, and functions. As interesting as it sounds, it is also a challenging field, and one needs to know a few things before taking up the course.
1. Knowing the subject
Before jumping into the details, it is fundamental to know what interior design is. Problem-solving would be the apropos word to define Interior designing. You have to consider multiple things before arriving at a design solution, for which you need a concrete understanding of the problems. Once one has solved it, one will have to get their clients on board, find materials, work on construction details and get the budget right. But this is not a linear process. It is a series of cyclic discussions and design improvements that demands multiple meetings with your client, architect, engineer, and suppliers.
2. Creating a design brief
The first step is to create a design brief. Understanding the space and its surrounding is important. Say, for instance, there is a room with two windows, one on the south-east corner and one on the north-east corner, and the client wants seating near one of the windows to enjoy the view without the sun’s glare. To decide next to which window the seating has to be provided, one needs to know the location, climate, and site context. This is just one aspect of it. You need to recognize what the client likes and dislikes, the style they prefer, the mood they want it to resonate with, and so on. Next, the activities intended in that space must be analyzed. Finding out the dynamic spaces like the walking path and the static spaces like the seating area of a living room improves the design by providing unobstructed areas wherever required.
3. Colours, Materials, and Texture
Knowledge about warm colors, cool colors, highly contrasting colors, analogous colors, and the psychological effect they have on humans is a quintessential part while deciding colors in interior designing. The texture of materials depends on the occupant’s age or aesthetics based on how and where it is employed. Placing lights at specific positions creates a beautiful play of lights and shadows of the texture. Apart from this, the type of construction also influences Interior designing. It might be rammed earth, exposed brick, timber, steel, concrete, or a straw hut along the beach.
4. Lighting and Acoustics
Lighting and acoustics play a crucial role in Interior designing as they influence the comfort level of a room. It is enough if a bedroom has proper ambient lighting and few task lights, whereas a five-star hotel party hall uses layers of lighting like ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Similarly, an office does not need sound insulation like a theatre. The function thus determines the quantity and quality according to standards.
Nowadays, furniture is grasping all the attention of a room with its style and elegance. Even a room with just white walls can be made beautiful with furniture. But even too much furniture can be a hindrance to movement or visibility. They should be able to accommodate static and variable anthropometric dimensions due to movement without injuring the user. A piece of furniture can act as a partition between two spaces or a sculpture. While choosing furniture, its proportion, scale, texture, strength, sharpness, etc have to be considered keeping in mind its function and user group.
Learning about the building services is crucial as few elements of interior designing encase or fuse with them. A false ceiling has to be designed taking into consideration the size of ventilation pipes, electrical lines, AC channels, or units. Designs should not affect the serviceability of equipment in case of failure. The cupboards provided below a washbasin or kitchen sink must provide the space required for service.
7. Ready to play
After gaining knowledge on the above subjects, you should be daring enough to break away from the stereotype and produce bold designs. Everybody wants something new and fresh and so repeating designs or copying designs won’t take you a long way. Technology has improved so much that new materials, shades, and patterns have flooded the market. Multiple design options help one to visualize and improve the design. The best should offer comfort, aesthetics, low maintenance, sustainability, and serviceability.
Though perspective and freehand drawings are needed to express your ideas, software knowledge helps in easy detailing of the design. This is very helpful during construction and when the design is outsourced to another company. The rendering software helps one visualize and edit designs instantly. Apart from this, one should know how to read plans and sections given by the architect and engineer to find out the electrical, water, and sewage lines.
Budgeting and cost estimation have to be done with great care as quality cannot be compromised. The design should not be unnecessarily extravagant, exceeding the budget, and get the client’s hopes high falsely. Getting materials from the local dealers is more sustainable, saves time, and offers more economy.
10. Interior construction
After getting a thumbs up from your client and drawing up the final sheets, the construction for interior designing starts. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, suppliers, workers, etc need to be contacted. The raw materials are bought, and the finishes required are worked on and assembled on site. Any error that happens while construction has to be solved quickly by the designer and the materials required have to be arranged for immediately.
If you find these topics interesting, Interior designing is your cup of tea. However challenging and competitive the field might be, the creation of art and happiness gives you immense pleasure.
Francis D.K Ching Interior Design Illustrated