An interior designer plays an important role in shaping the lives of us all. Whether we know it or not, chances are, our perception of indoor space has been manipulated by an interior designer using specified design strategies.
To pull off such an effect, interior designers should all possess a specific skill set that enables them to complete the entire design process from inception of an idea to implementation of the strategy. Interior designers will often be faced with lots of different scenarios along the way and should be well equipped to produce the best outcome.
The skillset requirement is indeed specialist, just as that of an architect is too specified. Whether in training or established careers, professional interior designers should immediately hone in on their strengths and master these 7 fundamental skills. They should also actively avoid making a number of avoidable mistakes.
1. Artistic Vision
Creativity is at the core of the profession. Some may be born with the need to express their artistic vision, whilst others might be developing it. Either way and like all creative skills, this requires a blend of personal styles and the ability to adhere to legislative and compliant obligations.
Whilst it is compulsory for every designer to keep up to date with legislation and regulation surrounding the industry, there is scope for differentiation in style and artistic preferences.
The ability of an interior designer to envisage a space before they get to work is what separates one qualified designer from another. For a successful interior designer, no room is ever too small, dark or shabby.
It is a skill to be able to transform a space, understanding traditional design rules and knowing when to break them. A good designer will actively try to ensure the correct skills are appropriately matched to the requirement of the project.
2. Creative Direction
To be able to situate yourself at the intersection where design meets strategy. In other words, your creative ideas should consistently be inline with the particular means used to achieve the overall goal.
This is a tricky skill to master. It requires being realistic and ambitious at the same time. There must be a total understanding of what’s possible and what isn’t, as well as never reducing your artistic vision for the sake of strategy.
Interior designers configure internal spaces to improve safety, spatial performance and visual enhancement- all whilst maintaining a compliant and fit for purpose space. Hence, this requires strong spatial awareness to make sure the design of the space is used efficiently.
3. Detail of Scheme
One main function of interior designers is to create a design scheme for and collaborated with the client. It will include aspects like colour and product selection and will frequently incorporate the rooms structural and electronic features too.
A design scheme is only as useful as the designer. Good interior designers will generate working drawings of the functions of the room such as heating plans, plumbing locations and electronic stations and sockets.
This is a compulsory part of the process as the CAD drawings will often be shared with others in the construction process like architectures, electricians, plumbers and other trade contractors. Computer skills, therefore, should be in a constant state of improvement and development.
Leveraging the latest technologies will help put the details of the scheme into a sound perspective and create visual plans for interior spaces.
4. Interpersonal Skills
The importance of communication skills cannot be overstated in this industry. Interior designers must be willing and able to effectively communicate their design visions with clients, contractors, suppliers and all other members of the design team.
Throughout each project procurement, large ones, in particular, interior designers will attend the site with suppliers, installers and managers to ensure smooth and effective collaboration. It is down to the designer to make sure everyone understands their role in the design.
Additionally, communication is key when it comes to successfully finding clients and understanding their needs and preferences. Whilst a designers artistic vision will carry much of the weight of the design process, it’s also incremental to understand and work towards clients visions.
Visualisation is a skill that is deeply embedded in the role of a professional interior designer. This comes with a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness. Each should be deployed to understand how each piece of the design will come together to create the intended design.
It is also the role of the designer to put this finished ‘visual’ in the mind of all those involved. For example, computer-generated images (CGI) can be used to demonstrate to clients what the finished result will look like. 3D Interior visualisation allows designers and clients to change design aspects until they’re satisfied. This ranges from the colour of walls to furniture placements.
Once the finished visual has been agreed upon; the design team should have a good understanding of the final result through the design scheme and clients will have agreed upon the CGIs; all thanks to the interior designer’s visualisation efforts.
6. Problem-Solving Skills
The ability to quickly and efficiently resolve problems is a life-skill as well as an interior design skill. Frankly, everything is susceptible to going wrong.
A few interior design-centric problems that are more than likely to arise include, construction delays, unavailability of certain materials, un-delivered, incorrectly delivered or broken products all whilst keeping track of the development of the project.
Problems can also come from within the project. Good designers will appreciate the importance of frequently reviewing it for adverse effects. For example, whenever a change occurs through construction amendments, a review of the entire design scheme is necessary- because any change can alter custom-fitted measurements that have already been sent to manufacturers.
Interior designers, therefore, must be able to think fast and in most cases minimise the risk of problems occurring.
7. Dispute Resolution
Unlike architects, who are regulated by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), set up by Parliament; the interior design profession is unregulated. Meaning, if disputes arise between professional interior designers and clients there is nobody to help resolve it.
Hence, dispute resolution is a necessary skill, which, if needed, should mitigate the situation and find common grounds to discuss steps to move forward.