From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Interior Design is a profession concerned with anything that is found inside a space - walls, windows, doors, finishes, textures, light, furnishings and furniture. All of these elements are used by interior designers to develop a functional, safe, and aesthetically pleasing space for a building's user.
The work of an interior designer draws upon many disciplines including environmental psychology, architecture, product design, and traditional decoration (aesthetics and cosmetics). They plan the spaces of almost every type of building including: hotels, corporate spaces, schools, hospitals, private residences, shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, and airport terminals. Today, interior designers must be attuned to architectural detailing including floor plans, home renovations, and construction codes.
The role of a designer probably came into existence in the 1720s in Western Europe, mostly being performed by men of diverse backgrounds. William Kent, who was trained as a history painter, is often cited as the first person to take charge of an entire interior, including internal architecture, furniture selection, and the hanging of paintings.
In London, this role was frequently filled by the upholsterer (sometimes called the upholder), while in Paris the marchand-mercier (a "merchant of goods" who acts as general contractor) often filled this role. Architects both in Great Britain and on the European continent also often served as interior designers. Robert Adam, the neoclassical architect, is perhaps the most well-know late-century example of an architect who took on entire interiors, down to the doorknobs and fire-irons. Other 18th-century men who filled the role of interior designer include Sir William Chambers, James Wyatt and Dominique Daguerre (marchand-mercier who emigrated to England).
During the 1830s, interior decorators were responsible for the revival of interest in Gothic and Rococo styles in England. By the late 19th century, some firms set themselves apart as "art furnishers."
Size of the industry
The industry revenue in the United States for interior design was $11,108.4 million in 2007 with a revenue growth of .6%. That same year, there were approximately 84,018 establishments and 72,377 enterprises.
Interior designers can specialize in a particular interior design discipline, such as residential and commercial design. Commercial design includes offices, hotels, schools, hospitals or other public buildings. Some interior designers develop expertise within a niche design area such as hospitality, health care and institutional design. In jurisdictions where the profession is regulated by the government, designers must meet broad qualifications and show competency in the entire scope of the profession, not only in a specialty. Designers may elect to obtain specialist certification offered by private organizations. Interior designers who also possess environmental expertise in design solutions for sustainable construction can receive accreditation in this area by taking the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) examination.
The specialty areas that involve interior designers are limited only by the imagination and are continually growing and changing. With the increase in the aging population, an increased focus has been placed on developing solutions to improve the living environment of the elderly population, which takes into account health and accessibility issues that can affect the design. Awareness of the ability of interior spaces to create positive changes in people's lives is increasing, so interior design is also becoming relevant to this type of advocacy.
There is a wide range of disciplines within the career of interior design. Some of the disciplines include: structure, function, specialized performance, special group needs, discipline needed for business, computer technology, presentation skills, craft skills, social disciplines, promotional disciplines, professional disciplines, aesthetic disciplines, and disciplines with cultural implications. This list shows how interior designing encompasses many different disciplines and requires both education in science and technology as well as being moved.
There are a wide range of working conditions and employment opportunities within interior design. Large corporations often hire interior designers for regular day-to-day working hours. Designers for smaller firms usually work on a contract or per-job basis. Self-employed designers, which make up 26% of interior designers, usually work the most hours and often stress to find clients to provide for themselves. Interior designers often work under stress to meet deadlines, stay on budgets, and meet clients' needs. Their work tends to involve a great deal of traveling to visit different locations, studios, or clients' homes and offices. With the aid of recent technology, the process of contacting clients and communicating design alternatives has become a lot easier and requires less travel. Some argue that virtual makeovers have revolutionized interior design from a customer perspective, making the design process more interactive and exciting, in a relatively technological but labor intensive environment. Another option for someone wanting to start their own decorating business is to purchase a franchise. Interior decorating franchises, gives the new business owner a nationally recognized name that also includes continued national advertising and publicity. The franchises also have their own training program as well as a business model and support system.
Postsecondary education, especially a bachelor's degree, is recommended for positions in interior design. Within the United States there are 24 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, that have some form of interior design legislation with regard to title and practice. The National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) administers a licensing exam. To be eligible to take the exam, a candidate must have a minimum of six years of combined education and experience in the field, where at least two years includes postsecondary education. Once the examination has been successfully taken, the designer may indicate that they are an NCIDQ certificate holder. In certain jurisdictions, this is linked to the ability to practice or self-identify as an interior designer. The laws vary greatly across the United States and in some jurisdictions, NCIDQ certification is required in order for the designer to call themselves a Certified, Registered, or Licensed Interior Designer. The License, Certification and Registration of an Interior Designer are superfluous to the Postsecondary education received. These accreditations are administered and awarded within the Interior Design field and not necessary for preparing construction drawings, applying for building permits or supervising construction. In other jurisdictions, however, there are no minimum qualifications and anyone with a desire to do so may call themselves an interior designer. Continuing education is required by some states as part of maintaining a license..
Interior design earnings vary based on employer, number of years with experience, and the reputation of the individual. Interior designers within the specialization of architectural design tend to earn higher and more stable salaries. For residential projects, self-employed interior designers usually earn a per-minute fee plus a percentage of the total cost of furniture, lighting, artwork, and other design elements. For commercial projects, they may charge per-hour fees, or a flat fee for the whole project. The median annual earnings for wage and salary interior designers in the year 2006 was $42,260. The middle 50% earned between $31,830 and $57,230. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,760.
While median earnings is an important indicator of average salaries, it is essential to look at additional key factors in a discussion about revenue generated from design services. Location, demographic of client base and scope of work all effect the potential earnings of a designer. With regard to location, central metropolitan areas where costs of living expenses, and median earnings are generally greater, so is the potential for higher earnings for the interior designers and decorators in these locations. Indeed, urban areas attract a greater population of potential clients thereby creating a greater demand for design services. Additionally, as the average square footage of homes and offices has increased over time, so has the scope of work performed which translates directly to higher earnings. Scope refers to the overall size and detail of a project - materials, furnishings, paint, fabrics and architectural embellishments utilized are all examples of scope. As stated above, earnings for interior designers and decorators may include a margin charged to the client as a percentage of the total cost of certain furniture and fixtures used in the scope of work. Hence, as scope increases, so do earnings.
A theme is a consistent idea used throughout a room to create a feeling of completeness`and a whole mole [as referred to by designers]. These themes often follow period styles. Examples of this are Louis XV, Victorian, Minimalist, Georgian, Gothic, Mughal or Art Deco. The evolution of interior decoration themes has now grown to include themes not necessarily consistent with a specific period style allowing the mixing of pieces from different periods. Each element should contribute to form or function or both and maintain a consistent standard of quality and combine to create the desired design. For the last 10 years, decorators, designers, architects and homeowners have been re-discovering the unique furniture that was developed post-war of the 1950s and the 1960s from new material that were developed for miliatry applications. Some of the trendsetters include Ray Eames and Herman Miller.
Interior decoration has become a popular television subject. In the United Kingdom (UK), popular interior decorating programs include Changing Rooms (BBC) and Selling Houses (Channel 4). Famous interior designers whose work is featured in these programs include Linda Barker and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. In the United States, the TLC Network airs a popular program called Trading Spaces, a show with a format similar to the UK program Changing Rooms. In addition, both Home & Garden Television (HGTV) and the Discovery Home networks also televise many programs about interior design and decorating, featuring the works of a variety of interior designers, decorators and home improvement experts in a myriad of projects. Fictional interior decorators include the Sugarbaker sisters on Designing Women and Grace Adler on Will & Grace. Another show is Clean House where they re-do messy homes into themed rooms that the clients would like.
Other early interior decorators:
Many of the most famous designers and decorators during the 20th Century had no formal training. Sister Parish, Mark Hampton, Robert Denning and Vincent Fourcade, Stephen Chase, Mario Buatta, John Saladino, Kelly Wearster, Jeanine Naviaux and many others were trend-setting innovators in the worlds of design and decoration.
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