As an expert in the field it is easy for me to understand the complexities of this profession, along with the significance of many details, and the ways each detail can impact individual lives as well as society at large. My challenge is to give the general public an accurate and easy to understand glimpse of this knowledge. When I ask people to think of what interior design is, there are many opinions, however there are several generalities that I come across often: that it is an “artful field,” it is a profession for the rich or a luxury commodity, and "it is easy to do, you just need to have good taste."
The first two are not incorrect but should never be considered all-inclusive statements. The field is comprised of specialized artists and we can create beautiful and aesthetically pleasing environments, however it is a field that is also comprised of many other skills. Interior Designers serve a diverse population and do not only work the rich but for all social economic brackets, and many of them do philanthropy work.
It might come to some as a surprise that Interior Designers need to be able to use a lot of math, which is needed to calculate everything from the correct amount of materials to order, to the use of geometry in order to create a balance of function and aesthetics that works simultaneously. One example is creating arrangements, “space plans,” for safe egress from a building.
Another area of knowledge is psychology: we need to be able understand how people relate to space and how a company wants to be perceived by the public. It is not just picking a beautiful color scheme and material - every decision and detail must have a meaning or purpose that relates back to the individuals that dwell in the space or the company's image/brand.
There are other areas of science that are also integral to being a successful Interior Designer. As a “green designer,” science is used in all my decisions to create environmentally sound designs. Selecting any material requires at least a basic understanding of physics. Take friction, for an example: a fabric used in a high traffic commercial area needs to be able to handle more use than one used in a residential area. When it comes to selecting floors, a designer must understand friction especially in areas where water comes in contact, such as a bathroom, and they also need to understand the users, especially those with mobility issues, such as the elderly, to accurately specify the right type of flooring.
I could go through thousands of examples on these subjects alone and not even touch other subjects interior design also embraces. The point is that each decision can be very complex, even something as simple as the of selection color can't be seen as only an aesthetically pleasing one. Color selection needs an understanding of culture; for colors have different meaning in different places, and the environment in which it is located also has an effect, for example sunlight in Cancun vs. Chicago will be quite different and affects how color appears. This knowledge can be applied into energy saving factors, or in understanding how human vision works and how our eyes change as we age, which helps us consider the correct amount of contrast for the visually impaired and aging population.
Good Design is for everyone. Many interior designers assist society in charitable ways from supporting free design to shelters and low income families, helping injured veterans to retrofit their homes for easier use, and many other endeavors. Interior Designers work on an array of different projects for all sectors of the population, not just for the rich.
It is important to realize good design is not an easy task and it takes years of education, training, and experience to be able to accurately create a balance of all subjects to create safe, functional, and spectacular designs.