These days as we continue to live a greater chunk of our lives indoors, more and more people are brushing up on their interior design skills, with some considering formal education and work in the field. The thrill of creating and coming home to a well-designed space is unparalleled, and as expected, there are those who want to experience this firsthand. Finding the perfect home pieces that function as well as they are beautiful is what inspires many to take on interior design as their 9-to-5.
But interior design is not just about picking out cute furniture that matches your aesthetic. It's also about business and technical work, and a very customer-centric profession to undertake. As much as there's creativity in the field, there is math and science that allow a home to function as it should. There are lighting principles that require an understanding of physics, and layouts that will not be successful without the appropriate measurements and mathematics.
If the technical know-how doesn't faze you, then interior design can be a very rewarding career to grow into, given that it positively impacts the lives that people live. While that sounds like a lot of pressure (and it is!), it can also mean that this is the right profession for a go-getter like you. Here are a few things about interior design that you need to consider before getting into that design program or completely shifting careers:
Pro: Creativity is at an all time high.
Interior design is a great field to explore if you prefer creative work or the chance to draft designs from scratch. You, as the interior designer, can design and plan as you please. You can work to find your personal style all while working with the aesthetic requirements of your firm or your clients, usually resulting in a particular permutation that's uniquely yours. And even with distinct design requests from clients, you get free hand on what colors to use, which items and materials to make from, and which decorative designs and layouts to implement.
Con: Interior design can also be technical.
That said, these design-centric tasks only make up a part of your overall job as an interior designer. While interior designers are not focused on designing the structures of buildings - that's an architect's job! - they are still very involved in other technical aspects of home design and experience. Interior design is heavily supported by technical planning and other repetitive tasks such as set creation, model rendering, and code inspection. These roles are less design-oriented and more planning-centric, which means that people who thought interior design is simply decorating a space may have to think twice before pursuing this career path.
Pro: There's an increasing demand for interior designers.
The pandemic has transformed homes to be multifunctional spaces that serve as locations for work and recreation. In turn, more and more people are being drawn towards better living standards and more versatile spaces to call home. In fact, studies have shown that the global interior design industry - thanks to the social shift and demand created during the pandemic of 2020 - is expected to double in size by 2027.
This growth cuts across the many specializations of interior design, from residential to commercial to event and activities. As a prospect designer, you have many options to choose from and can decide to focus-study and build expertise for a particular type of interior design.
Con: More and more people are getting into the industry.
The growing industry assumes that with increasing demand, supply is bound to follow. This means that many are making the shift or venturing into the interior design career path, and competition may be fiercer than ever. Of course, more niche types may be easier to get into - for example, designing for showrooms and tradeshows versus traditional home interiors - but it can still be a challenge especially if other designers are thinking the same thing. The trick is to be as knowledgeable and skilled as you can on a specific kind of interior design - all while learning the basics - so you have an advantage for specific jobs in the industry.
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Pro: There's a direct link to positively impacting people's lives.
Homes are possibly the most important spaces we occupy. These are the spaces we sleep, eat, and engage with family in. On the flipside, outdoor spaces are just big a part of our lives. These areas are where we play and become cultured and social. Interior designers are able to positively impact people's lives by designing these spaces to be used and radiate the right feel accordingly.
Just imagine the smile and sheer joy of a satisfied client when they enter their personal space and their dream has come true. You, the interior designer, has affected their lives in the best way possible.
Con: There's a lot of pressure to deliver.
Interior design is all about shaping the ways people experience their spaces and more. It is in this regard that many feel the pressure to make perfect spaces all the time. Especially for residential designers who work with personal homes and spaces, there's that undeniable pressure to do the best job and make the space as lovable as possible. The stress from this tension can make even the brightest designers demotivated, and unhappy in their work. To avoid as much pressure as possible, communication between designer and client is key. As long as expectations are clear, you should be able to withstand minor issues should they come along.
At the end of the day, only you can tell whether or not interior design really is for you. But if you're drawn to the creative and artistic with an appreciation for math and technical study then this may be the career path for you. If you're looking to build beautiful and functional spaces, and are open to the pressure that comes with competition and expectation, then a rewarding career in interior design may just be what you decide to grow into.