A Career in Interior Decoration

A certain school of thought claims that interior decorators are born, not made. However, as long as you have a basic artistic streak and a yearning to be creative, you can be groomed to any level of expertise in interior decoration. Giving a property buyer the benefit of one’s creative streak in this way is one of the most lucrative and creative careers today.

Beyond any doubt, interior decoration is a satisfying profession for those who ‘have it’ these days. There is an unprecedented amount of up-market residential and commercial property being sold on the real estate market today. Moreover, the present generation buyers of properties can afford to have their new acquisitions packaged attractively. Engaging the services of an interior decorator was once considered a lavish luxury, but not anymore. With the increased spending power of the IT generation, a home is defined by its aesthetic appeal — and a growing number of people are ready to pay for that.

The trend for professionally decorated interiors has percolated down from film stars to almost every upper stratum of society. Nor is the demand for interior decoration any longer confined to residences — witness the offices of most successful doctors, lawyers and advertising agencies, as well as bookstores, music shops, shopping malls, restaurants, hotel lobbies… yes, the scope for interior decoration is virtually endless.

HITTING THE HIGH NOTES

Apart from being an inherently glamorous profession, interior decoration has a career has a number of other appeals to offer:

PEOPLE — You meet a lot of them, and from a fascinating cross-section – from movie icons to business magnates; from well-known restaurant owners to fast-track lawyers; from neurosurgeons to the idle rich.

MONEY — You earn a lot of it. Everyone has respect for artistic flair, and your efforts are supposed to reflect the property owner’s own taste. This makes it an ego issue, and people pay a lot to support their ego.

CONTACTS — A career in interior decoration is self-propagating. One successfully completed contract almost immediately leads to another, till you can actually pick and choose. Also, the people you come across can come in useful in many other respects later on.

NO SPECIAL TRAINING REQUIRED — of course, a basic degree in the Arts can’t hurt, but a period of internship under an established interior decorator will serve just as well.

EXTENSIVE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR OTHERS — You will not be operating on your own. A large enough contract will require the services of a carpenter, electrician, painter and a graphic computer designer. A lot of people will benefit from your profession – and that is significant.

LIMITLESS JOB SATISFACTION — Expressing oneself artistically is one of the most satisfying experiences that a human being can have; being paid to do it is nothing but a bonus. It is no secret that one works best at what one enjoys doing – it is equally true that one of the biggest problems in today’s professional world is lack of creative outlets.

Most people have an ‘inbuilt’ creative streak in some form or the other. Professional interior decorators who were polled recently firmly denied that theirs is a ‘born’ breed — almost anyone can develop a flair, liking and proficiency in this field.

WHAT IT TAKES

As already pointed out, you don’t require any special qualifications to become a successful interior decorator (as opposed to interior designing, which has far more demanding parameters). Basically, you should have an ability to judge spaces (including the potential for hidden storage space), lighting requirements, color schemes and contrasts, furniture styles, etc. and a ‘feel’ for upholstery and curtain fabrics. Finally, you will need to bring these out to maximum advantage within the framework of a given budget.

There are a number of books and journals available to the subject of interior decoration, though not so many on the Indian market. For the seriously interested, however, this will not present a problem. Any specialty bookstore can offer you a selection of imported publications. A subscription to Indian magazines like ‘Inside Outside’ would be helpful by offering information on styles and combinations currently favored in the country.

One of the most helpful things you can do is to visit properties that have been professionally designed, study the work done there, and even ask the owners in what respects they are or aren’t satisfied with the end results. The places to zero in on are newly bought flats and offices that have engaged the services of an interior decorator. The point is not to judge the quality of the job done, but to get a feel of what kind of interior designing is popular on the real estate market, and therefore sells.

This costs you nothing, and people are always ready to talk on such subjects (after all, what is the point in splurging on interior decoration if you can’t gloat about the results later on?) In this manner, you can build up a useful mental catalog of successful and unsuccessful approaches.

Getting an eventual interior decoration team together is another important factor. You should also try to establish a personal network of carpenters and painters who will be able to spend time on unscheduled projects. This way, you will be able to obtain their services as and when you need them. Sharing your design discoveries with them occasionally is a good idea, too. In that way, you will have some concrete prototypes to refer to when you actually get to work on a project.

PROGRESSING TO INTERIOR DESIGNING

This is a far more demanding — and rewarding — career field, and you will need a lot of experience in interior decoration before you can think of entering it. There are certified institutions that offer courses in interior designing, and you may want to consider such a move at a later stage.

Till then, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t make lucrative waves as an interior decorator. As a famous philosopher once stated, the only limitations we face are those we make for ourselves.

Interior Design Vs Interior Decorating Vs Home Staging Vs Interior Redesign – What’s the Difference?

The other day a real estate agent whose listings I stage for sale introduced me to someone as a “designer”. I didn’t want to take the time to correct him, but I thought to myself, “This isn’t the first time I’ve heard people use ‘designer’ erroneously. It’s often used to label someone who’s an interior decorator. So, why does everyone lump us all in one category, when we all clearly do something different?”

To put the differences succinctly:

  • Interior Design involves, among many other things, the preparation of documents often by a licensed professional for the construction of an interior space such as plans and elevations, and details and specifications, including lighting, power and communication locations, materials and finishes, and furniture layouts.
  • Interior Decorating involves the adornment of surfaces in the interior space, such as fabrics, wall coverings, furniture, decorative accessories, flooring, light fixtures etc., and takes into account the lifestyle, taste, needs and preferences of the user of the space. While interior designers may decorate, interior decorators don’t design.
  • Home Staging is preparing the home for sale through updates and “decorating” so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers for the market that the home is in.
  • Interior Redesign is often done by home stagers for homeowners not currently selling because it employs many of the same principles that home stagers use, such as primarily using what furniture and decorative accessories the homeowner already has, with an eye towards the future sale of the home.

Now, let’s explore each one more in-depth.

Interior Design

According to the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ):

  • Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment.
  • These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive.
  • Designs are created in response to and coordinated with thebuilding shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project.
  • Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements, and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.
  • The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the leading organization for interior design professionals. Certain levels of its members must meet certain education, work experience and examination requirements administered by the NCIDQ. Further, some states have licensing requirements for interior designers which include the passage of this exam. ASID also has continuing education requirements for its members.

Interior Decorating

No wonder people often confuse Interior Decorating with Interior Design. Even I had trouble finding a definition for Interior Decorating. Often it said “see interior design”.

Perhaps its best to understand interior decorating as it exists in contrast to interior design:

  • An interior decorator would select floor coverings based upon the tastes and lifestyle of the client, whereas the interior designer would take it a step further and look at usage, sound transference, flammability, etc.
  • An interior decorator would select lighting fixtures, whereas the interior designer would plan for the location of lighting and ensure that it is in compliance with building and safety codes.
  • An interior decorator does not need to have any formal education and/or work experience, testing or licensing, whereas an interior designer does.

Home Staging

Home staging is the art and science of preparing a home for sale so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers in order to sell quickly and for top dollar. The objective is to make the potential buyer fall in love with the home, envision themselves living there and aspire to the lifestyle the home portrays.

According to the Real Estate Staging Association’s Consumer’s Guide to Home Staging, it is a “systematic and coordinated methodology in which knowledge of real estate, home renovations and creative design principles are applied to attract a buyer.”

Home staging involves any or all of the following:

  • Evaluating what furniture and decorative accessories (throw pillows, artwork, decorative objects, lamps, knickknacks, etc.) the owner has, and:

– eliminating some of the furniture and/or decorative accessories, otherwise known as decluttering as well as depersonalizing (removal of family photos, trophies, collections etc. so the buyer can envision living there)

– arranging the furniture and accessories for optimal placement to enhance flow (the ability to walk freely through the room), focal point enhancement (e.g., emphasizing a fireplace or a beautiful view), balance (are there too many or too large pieces in the bookcase or on only one side of the room?) and the positive aspects of the home while downplaying the negatives

  • Carefully selecting for purchase or rent, if necessary, the appropriate furniture and accessories for the style of the home and it’s market.
  • Recommending, implementing and/or arranging for enhancements, updates and repairs such as painting, flooring, sink fixtures, lighting fixtures, window treatments, landscaping, etc.

Interior Redesign

As stated above, interior redesign is like home staging, however it enhances the home for the homeowners rather than for potential buyers. And it does so with an eye towards its future sale. It is like home staging in that it primarily uses the client’s existing furniture and decorative accessories to transform the space, and may also involve the purchase of additional furniture and accessories as well as updates to the wall colors, window treatments, lighting fixtures etc.

Summary

To summarize the differences:

  • Interior Design involves the planning of all aspects of interior space often by a licensed professional.
  • Interior Decorating involves the adornment of surfaces in the interior space. Interior designers may decorate, but interior decorators don’t design.
  • Home Staging is preparing the home for sale through updates and showcasing so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers for the market that the home is in.
  • Interior Redesign employs many of the same principles that home stagers use, such as primarily using what furniture and decorative accessories the homeowner already has, with an eye towards the future sale of the home.

Home Interior Decorations

Home interior decorations is one all about making your house into a home. With colors, style, theme, furnishings and different decor elements a house gets its character. Starting with the living room right to the bathroom, home interior decorations looks into all the aspects of the house. The main goal for interior decoration of any room of the house is to give it an individual personality. Interior decor generally concentrates on finishes like wallpapers, wall paint, window coverings and furnishings. Along with it comes the balance of the various decoration items like wall hangings, showpieces etc. So let’s take a quick look for home interior decoration ideas for different rooms in a house.

Big Spacious Rooms

There are many ways to make a room look spacious and large. The first most important element is the room lighting. Go for soft and even lighting so that shadows don’t divide your room into smaller sections. Avoid putting ceiling lights as they make the ceiling look lower. By having a diffused and ambient lighting the room will look large. The next thing to keep in mind is the texture used in the room. Smooth surfaces tend to reflect more light as compared to heavy textured flooring. For interior decoration one can also use mirror and chrome as the reflection and shine give depth to a room. The wall colors of a room are also important in giving a spacious look to the room. Go for cream, beige, gray or cool pastels for walls. Also while selecting colors keep in mind that the ceiling should be in the lightest color in the room. The next thing comes the furniture. Place the furniture in a manner that it leaves adequate space to move around. Push the largest piece of furniture against the wall. Let the furniture color be similar to the wall and floor color of the room.

Cozy Rooms

Just like spacious rooms, cozy room interior decoration is also very much possible. Get the comfortable and settled in feeling as interior decoration creates an intimate space for you. Once more lighting will play an important role. There are many modern lighting trends that will help your room to look cozy and comfy. Avoid ceiling lights, instead lamps with down shades will help the room look compact. For room colors, go for strong wall and floor colors. This will create a feeling of closeness in your room interiors. Heavy soft textures are great for cozy room interiors. Try rough textures for the hard elements in the room. If you are trying to attract attention towards any particular piece of furniture then dark finishes and fabrics will surely tempt you to sink into that favorite sofa set. Use tall pieces for the room decor, as it creates a cozy world of intimacy.

Theme Room

A theme room is working on a particular idea and developing the home interior decoration accordingly. One can have the entire house decorated in one theme like contemporary home decor or Asian home decor or go room by room. Like the master bedroom can have a different theme, the teen room a trendy interior decor and so on. Once you have decided on the theme of the entire house or a particular room, select the decoration pieces for it.

Colors and Fabrics

In interior home decorations color and fabric are very important. When we say color, then it is not just wall colors. Select colors for fabrics, linen, pillows, curtains etc. complement it with the wall colors and give your room a vibrant look. The same concept applies to fabrics as well. Today there are so many different kinds of fabrics available. Select fabric that goes well with your room decor.