Interiors can look many different ways, but how they work is more important. Designing environments that satisfy your needs requires understanding your space's current and future uses.
What Is Interior Design?
Interior design is the total creative solution for a programmed interior. It encompasses the conceptual planning, aesthetic and technical solutions applied to achieve the desired result. A "programmed interior" means a specific intended purpose or use of the built environment.
Interior design concerns itself with more than just the visual or ambient enhancement of an interior space, it seeks to optimize and harmonize the uses to which the built environment will be put. Thus, in the words of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is "practical, aesthetic and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style."
Many factors come into play in formulating the design solution. There is the space itself--its dimensions and construction--with its potential and its limitations. There is how the space will be used--for work or leisure, entertainment or worship, healing or learning. There is the meaning of the space, what it signifies--be it power, authority, security, wisdom, achievement, playfulness or serenity. There are practical considerations, like ease of access, amount of light, acoustics, seating and places to store or set things down. There are health and safety considerations, attention to special needs and more.
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The elements of design range from the visual (color, lighting, form) to the tactile (surface, shape, texture) to the auditory (noise, echo). The designer must have an aesthetic, practical and technical appreciation for these elements. He or she must understand how people use and respond to these elements, not just individually but as the elements interact with one another.
Designers must also be knowledgeable about the many types and characteristics of furnishings, accessories and ornaments used in creating interiors. Furniture, lighting, carpeting and floor covering, paint and wall covering, glass, wrought metal, fixtures, art and artifacts are just some of the many items and materials designers select from. In addition, they must be familiar with the various styles and history of styles of design, art and architecture.