FROM THE GUIDE: DESIGN: AN INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

An interior designer has a direct influence on the places and spaces we occupy

When the phrase "interior design" comes to mind, many people cannot help but think of the deluge of home-makeover shows that seem to dominate daytime television. In reality, the job of an interior designer involves a great deal more than how MDF could be used. In fact, the life of an interior designer in today's market is extremely complex, for it encapsulates a great deal more than people realise.

Think of it this way: in Northern Europe, we spend around 90 per cent of our time indoors, whether it's at school, work, home, in shops, cafés, clubs, exhibitions, events, installations – even museums and galleries. Our environment says a lot about us, and the spaces that we inhabit in our daily lives can actually affect our emotions. As human beings we buy into the culture of places in order to suit our personal needs and it is often the space – not a particular item – that can affect us.

Interior design is about much more than designing for aesthetic appearance. It has to consider communication and the key user experience: how spaces work; how they deliver a message and how individuals respond to this when conducting their daily lives; and even how people move around space and interact with objects or people. When within popular design culture, people consider the look of architecture; the true meaning of spaces and places is developed by interior specialists. These are people with the ability to combine engineering, construction, art and psychology in creating spaces; they must consider the basic provision of spatial design.

Interior design requires knowledge of appropriate building regulations, health and safety legislation, project planning and technical specifications, all applied in a creative fashion to generate an environment.

Often you will find that the busy life of an interior designer requires adaptability: one moment you might be discussing a brief with a client, the next pitching a design to another. The interior designer has to liaise with their own design team, along with a range of on-site specialists. Communication, in all visual and verbal formats, is a key tool.

A good example of the power of interior design can be summed up by a recent project. The client, a well-known sports-car manufacturer, requested the development of an interior space for a new museum dedicated to their history. They had already commissioned architects and visual-marketing consultants to forge an identity for the project. A building shell was designed and, as such, the task was to create a new "experience" – within the void and within a strict budget.

The final proposal to the executives incorporated an upper mezzanine floor made of strengthened perspex, along with a series of creative structural interventions that linked the idea of the internet experience with a continuing journey throughout the museum space. It also incorporated lighting and interactive technologies.

This had been put together using a combination of research, experimentation and technical innovation. The output was within the budget constraints – visualised using a combination of effective models and computer-generated special effects – and it provided a new identity for the museum, going beyond the expectations of the client. It was at this point that the executives gasped, "We never knew you could do so much on the inside!" This is the key point: the interior experience is an exciting part of design society that directly affects everyday life in so many more ways than people realise.

To enter an interior design course you could study art and design at AS-level; a National Diploma in an art and design subject; or a Foundation diploma in art and design. Most interior design degree courses are affiliated with Interior Educators – an organisation set up to enhance the education of the subject. In addition, upon graduation you can attain accreditation with professional bodies such as the British Interior Design Association (BIDA) and the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD). For more specific information on entry to such courses you should look at the websites of specific institutions, but wherever you choose to go, be ready for an exciting and challenging creative career!

Dr Paul Bailey is subject leader for interior design at Birmingham City University

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Guru Careers: Marketing Compliance Assistant

£18k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Compliance Assistant to join a ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are a recent psychology graduate ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior / Graduate Graphic Designer

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Largest Independent Motor D...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders