Their main concerns are with how different colours, textures, furniture, lighting, and space work together to meet the needs of a building’s occupants.
Traditionally, an interior designer focused on decorating, choosing a style and colour palette and then selecting appropriate furniture, floor and window coverings, artwork, and lighting. However, an increasing number of designers are becoming involved in architectural detailing.
Designers frequently collaborate with architects, electricians, and building contractors to ensure that designs are safe and meet construction requirements. Whatever space they are working on, almost all designers follow the same process.
The designer usually meets face-to-face with the client to find out how the space will be used and to get an idea of the client’s preferences and budget. The designer also will visit the space to take inventory of existing furniture and equipment and identify positive attributes of the space and potential problems.
Then, the designer formulates a design plan and estimates costs. When the design concept is decided upon, the designer will begin specifying the materials, finishes, and furnishings required, such as furniture, lighting, flooring, wall covering, and artwork.
If a project requires structural work, the designer works with an architect or engineer for that part of the project.
Most designs also require the hiring of contractors to do technical work, such as lighting, plumbing, or electrical wiring. Often designers choose contractors and write work contracts.
Finally, the designer develops a timeline for the project, coordinates contractor work schedules, and makes sure work is completed on time. The designer oversees the installation of the design elements, and after the project is complete, the designer, together with the client, pay follow-up visits to the building site to ensure that the client is satisfied. If the client is not satisfied, the designer makes corrections.
Designers who work for furniture or home and garden stores sell merchandise in addition to offering design services. In-store designers provide services, such as selecting a style and colour scheme that fits the client’s needs or finding suitable accessories and lighting, similar to those offered by other interior designers.
However, in-store designers rarely visit clients’ spaces and use only a particular store’s products or catalogues. Interior designers sometimes supervise assistants who carry out their plans and perform administrative tasks, such as reviewing catalogues and ordering samples.
Designers who run their own businesses also may devote considerable time to developing new business contacts, examining equipment and space needs, and attending to business matters.
Although most interior designers do many kinds of projects, some specialize in one area of interior design. Some interior designers do many projects, whilst others specialize in specific areas – residential, commercial, lighting, bathrooms, as well as acoustics and home theatres.