I am an interior designer and I know nothing about your favorite show on HGTV because I don’t watch HGTV.
No, I do not pick out paint and curtains all day…Y’all really think I went through three years of graduate school just to learn about paint and fabric???
I space plan, draw floor plans and construction documents, design custom casework, coordinate lighting and mechanical systems, make sure you sit in a chair that won’t hurt your back, AND I get to make it all look pretty (this is the simplified list). Like I said, I didn’t go to grad school to learn how to pick out paint.
I work in healthcare design. Yeah, I know. That always throws people off because well, most people think interior design is for houses. Not so. Offices, schools, hospitals, and every other building you’ve ever stepped foot in is the result of interior design (good or bad). Americans spend 90% of their time indoors so the spaces they inhabit better be functional. That’s where I come in.
There’s actually a science to it. Designers have to consider environmental factors, ergonomics, building codes, fire codes, sustainability, barrier-free and universal design (design that is accessible to older people as well as people with and without disabilities). Things get complicated, fast.
If we mess up, people’s lives could literally be in danger. And if the space is not functional, we’ve failed.
Have you ever been in a room that simply wasn’t big enough? Ever questioned why the printer is on the other side of the office even though you use it all the time? Can’t tell whether you have to push or pull the door? Have you ever been in a public restroom where the stall door awkwardly swung into the rest of the bathroom? Yeah, chances are that’s because a designer (or architect) messed up.
Our work is so important that licensed interior designers have legal liability similar to that of an architect. Let me put this into perspective. Even though I have a master’s degree, I still have a set of tests to study for and pass before I can even consider getting licensed…and you thought I just picked out finishes and furniture all day.
This isn’t a hobby. I live and breathe this stuff. Just ask my friends and family. The other day I was out with a friend and she pulled into a parking space right in front of the restaurant we were going to. She wondered if we had parked in a handicap space. Since I’m a nerd I told her, “Nope, the clearances around the parking space aren’t being enough for a wheelchair.”
She just looked at me.
I have another friend who takes me to new places just so I can analyze the design. And my father regularly consults me for church renovation projects…I’ll have to save those stories for another day.
Simply put, interior design is problem solving. I’m still learning. After all, I’ve only been out of school for a year. But I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by awesome coworkers who are willing to teach me everything I need to know (shoutout to everyone I work/worked with).
My passion is health and wellness design. Right now that consists of designing for hospitals, medical office buildings, rehab facilities, cancer centers, and more. In the future, I hope to take a closer look at how we can design a wholistic approach to human wellbeing. So yes, I love everything about design including the aesthetics. But no, I don’t want to design (or decorate) your house or help renovate your church.*
*Some exceptions apply. Please contact me for further details.
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