Before answering this question, we should explore the different types of interior designers. Absent any federal or state laws to define the title “interior designer”, most of us are free to practice and define our roles without government interference. I like it this way. Capitalism, competition and free market solutions work best.
At one end of the spectrum are interior designers and decorators who “have a flair”, “always loved color”, and “like to do interiors as a hobby.” I applaud them. At the other end of the spectrum are designers like me, who took God-given talent, earned a 4-year accredited interior design degree, and passed the difficult NCIDQ examination (National Council for Interior Design Qualifications). In between both ends of the spectrum, are the many designers and decorators with varied talent and skillsets.
I can visualize a completed space in my mind, before the project has begun. I can feel what the space will feel like and sound like even without 3D visual aids available these days. I imagine how to navigate the space, the site lines, and the lighting levels. These skills are a direct result of my interior design education, hands on training, and experience. My interior design clients benefit from all of my studies and experience. And I am quite confident that I will create spaces for them that they could not have created for themselves. Additionally, I help them avoid costly errors and omissions. There are just a few reasons to hire a professional interior designer.
I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. The excerpts listed are from their interior design program courses. I employ the “psychology of color” daily! And who would have thought an interior designer needed to take a psychology course? This class alone helped me survive residential interior design for clients with difficult relationships. By law, interior designers are not allowed to perform HVAC, plumbing, electrical, or structural work, but it sure helps to understand these systems.
Interior Design Course Descriptions:
…”the forms and methods of design for architects and interior designers, with an emphasis on inhabitation including body, light, and movement.”
“Study and application of drawing and other communication skills for designers, including formal and spatial studies, life drawing, and perspective.”
…”the forms and methods of design for architects and interior designers, with an emphasis on environment, including color, material, and texture.”
“Elementary Physics for Nontechnical Students…. Mechanics, heat, and sound. Electricity and magnetism, light, atomic and nuclear physics.”
“Basic problems and principles of human experience and behavior.”
“Focus on the physical and psychological needs of the inhabitants of interior space, with an emphasis on conceptual process and diagrammatic techniques.”
“Introduction to building construction, materials, and structures.”
“Explores linkages between multiple interior spaces and the study of spatial thresholds. Investigates individual spaces in relation to the body and the surrounding environment, utilizing a clearly defined program.”
“A survey of acoustics, color, light, illumination, and electrical and information systems in architectural interiors.”
“Application of code issues, regulatory restraints, fire safety, and regulations for accessibility in interiors.”
“A survey of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, vertical transportation, and wiring and plumbing systems in buildings.”
“Issues of mood, privacy, perception, proxemics, and preferences applied to the design of interiors.”
In conclusion, it is possible to perfectly match a client’s needs to a designer’s skill levels. Interview a few, compare credentials and personalities, review websites, and hire the most qualified interior designer you can afford.