April 2014

Why Hire An Interior Designer?

Author: Laura T. Barrett

The practice of interior design is in a dynamic state. The fast pace of technological changes impacts interior design just as it affects every other aspect of daily life. All across the country, state legislatures are dealing with proposals that more closely regulate and license the practice of interior design. People spend close to 90 percent of their time indoors, thus making the indoor environmental quality critical to our health.

Sustainable design used by interior designers has had a major impact on the built environment. As interior designer Bruce Brigham said, “Well designed interiors can actually change the way we feel and think, improve our work, transport us to unexpected aspirations, and bring us healing. Great interior design is transformational.”

There are many different specialties and types of interior designers, including healthcare, hospitality, contract (office), residential, and lighting designers. Each type of interior project can have an expert on board to add value. Collaboration and interdisciplinary cooperation between the interior designer, other professionals and the building trades has become the standard and the best path to a winning design.

Some of the most important responsibilities of an interior designer’s practice are the health, safety, and welfare of our society. These three concerns are recognized and defined as universal and imperative within the professional organizations representing interior designers.

With national and global economic conditions improving, there are even more reasons to seek the professional advice of an interior designer. Creative solutions, cost savings and especially “added value” are results that a design professional will produce. An interior designer brings to task years of experience visualizing and producing the aesthetics of interior spaces.

Q: What qualifies a person as an interior designer?
A: The professional organization International Interior Design Association (IIDA), would like the following parameters to become accepted on a state and national level:
a. Minimum design education accredited by CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation), or equivalent;
b. Requirement for professional experience;
c. That the National Council for Interior Design Qualification NCIDQ be the primary and sole vehicle for examination for the interior design profession;
d. A code of guidelines for professional practice and ethics;
e. A schedule for requiring continuing education;
f. Grandfathering with education, experience and examination criteria;
g. A clear definition of “interior designer” as developed by NCIDQ; and
h. Sealing privileges to substantiate documentation preparation by a licensed/registered/certified interior designer.

Q: Where can I find a qualified interior designer to work on my project?
A: As in most business practices, word of mouth is still a great way to find the right professional for your individual project. Most clients of interior designers are more than happy to refer work to someone they have had a close and successful relationship with on their project. Seeking the advice of one of several professional organizations can also be helpful, such as American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) or International Interior Design Association (IIDA).

Q: What do “biophilia” and “chromotherapy” have to do with interior design?
A: Interior designers realize the importance of bringing the outdoor experience into the indoor environment. People have always sought nature, or anything natural, which has led to what is called biophilic design. An example of biophilic design would be the use of natural light in an office space to promote well-being and increase productivity. Color therapy, or chromotherapy is being used in all interior environments, but especially in healthcare design. Studies have shown that positive mood and stress reduction can be directly linked to an emotional response by using the color of soft ocean tones or warm earth tones.

Q: What is the future of interior design?
A: The field of interior design is in the forefront of what is now termed sustainable and socially responsible design and development. Materials that are long-lasting and adaptable are being embraced by interior designers and other building professionals. Globally, designers are using strategies that promote reuse, reclaimed, and recycled products for society. We all see the importance of preserving our planet; certainly we can continue this stewardship through what we use in our interior environments. 

Laura Barrett is owner and interior designer at May River Designs, Inc. For more information, visit mayriverdesigns.com or e-mail Laura at mayriverdesign@gmail.com.

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