Five Myths about Interior Designers

When you talk to people about Interior Designers, they usually have a fixed picture in their mind of who you are talking about and what their day-to-day job entails.

Whilst TV shows such as: Changing Rooms, Interior Design Masters and Dream Home Makeover are entertaining and can act as inspiration to the general public, the role of a commercial Interior Designer is very different to what we see on TV.

To dispel some of these myths we have given our thoughts on some of the main ones which we come across…

1. Interior Designers are only interested in pretty colours and fabrics

Mention an Interior Designer to someone and one of the first things they think of is someone who picks pretty colours and fluffy cushions. In reality selecting colours and the final finishes is a tiny part of an Interior Designer’s job.

Interior Designers need to have an excellent awareness of all aspects of construction, especially internal fit out. They need to make sure that what they are designing is fit for purpose and maximises the Client’s available space and budget.

The majority of an Interior Designer’s day is spent working on technical CAD (computer aided design) drawings. These drawings may include: floor plans, ceiling sections, and bespoke joinery details. Without these drawings Contractors wouldn’t know what goes where and how they are to convert the designs to reality.

Competent Interior Designers must also have an excellent awareness of performance data for the materials which they are specifying. It is no good to anyone if the floor tiles in a spa look fantastic but are so slippery nobody dares walk on them.

Yes, Interior Designers do pick colours and materials, and yes, they do enjoy this part of the job. The reality however is that this part of the job is the tip of the iceberg.

2. Appointing an Interior Designer will blow my budget

Yes, there is a cost with appointing an Interior Designer but a good appointment will save Client’s money.

A good Interior Designer will save time and money in eliminating any costly mistakes or design changes whilst construction works are underway. It is much easier and cheaper for everyone to change a design on paper (or computer) before it is built on site.

Clients should not be shy about discussing their budget with Interior Designers, or any consultant for that matter. It is important for a Designer to understand what budget constraints are in place (or not in place) before they start to ‘wow’ Clients with design solutions which may not be affordable.

3. Interior Designers just steal ideas from Pinterest

An important early design stage is to establish likes and dislikes, this inevitably will involve looking at what has been done elsewhere. Whilst we can all flick through Pinterest or Instagram and pick out images we like, an Interior Designer’s role goes far beyond this.

Some of us Interior Designers even pre-date Pinterest (certainly APM’s Design Director’s Andy and Tracy do)!!!

A skilled Interior Designer will be able to take inspiration from these images and develop them into a design solution bespoke to their Client’s needs and aesthetic aspirations. It is an important early step to find out what Client’s do and don’t like. It is also worth remembering that an Interior Designer is experienced in understanding what does and doesn’t work in a space, just because a design solution has worked on Pinterest it doesn’t necessarily mean you can grab and drop it into your project.

Remember, a key role of the Interior Designer is space planning and producing technical drawings to turn a design vision into reality. There is much more to an Interior Designer’s job than looking at pretty pictures.

4. If I appoint an Interior Designer I will be stuck with their ideas and tastes

No matter what the project or who the Client is, a good Interior Designer should always listen to the tastes and style of their Clients.

An Interior Designer should be considered the expert consultant of what will or won’t look good in a space. Designs, colours and materials should never be imposed on Clients, instead it should be a collaborative process. The Interior Designer should offer their Client a series of options which they have developed based on their brief and budget.  

It is important to have a good relationship between Client and Interior Designer. If the Client trusts their Designer’s professional judgement and experience it significantly reduces the likelihood of needing to replace or change things at a later date.

5. I’ve enjoyed decorating my home so I don’t need an Interior Designer

Great! A Client should have a clear idea of what their brief is as well as an idea on what sort of styles and aesthetics they do and don’t want. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can or should go it alone.

An Interior Designer has the experience of understanding how to make the most of a space, they understand what the health and safety compliance areas are, and how to ensure materials are durable and practical. We can all buy a piece of furniture that we like but how many of us will know from experience how it will fit in a space, how it will work with adjacent colours or furniture, and how long it will last?

Remember, a Contractor will need to understand how to deliver a design vision, this will involve technical drawings and specifications. Appointing an Interior Designer will make your project a smoother process and mean you can focus on enjoying the end result rather than worrying about how to get there.

September 2, 2022

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