16 minute read.
Have you considered learning interior design? If so..
Hello, Future Designer!
Whether you’re simply curious about interior design or whether you’ve been a long time ‘lurker’ in the interior design space, you’ve come to the right place.
Today we’re going to explore all the best reasons to get started learning interior design. From helping others to enriching our own lives and even saving the planet, we think these nine reasons are more than a little compelling.
Here are the top 9 ways that you can benefit yourself and the world at large when you learn interior design:
- Impact physical and mental health positively
- Enhance enjoyment in interior environments
- Increase productivity in workplaces and safety in public spaces
- Learn to communicate visually in two and three dimensions
- Become a problem-solving “creative genius” by using design thinking
- Understand and practice architecture on the human scale
- Take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities
- Enjoy future job satisfaction and security
- Promote sustainability in the building industry and through living practices
Here are the nine epic reasons why you should think about becoming an interior designer and learning interior design yourself in more detail.
1. Impact People’s Physical and Mental Health Positively
The Ethics of Good Design
When you learn interior design you will discover that good aesthetics are important, but appearances should never be the only consideration.
Every new building that goes up should be built on a solid foundation of good planning, and the same is true for the renovations and fit-outs that interior designers are responsible for.
Practicing Good Design
A good design plan considers all the environmental and human factors long before any building, or interior construction is realized. This is what it means to practice good design, as exemplified by some important design teachers like Mike Cooley, an architectural engineering designer who wrote “Human-Centered Systems”.
A good interior design education is the key to ensuring that the buildings of the future will be built responsibly and with their users in mind.
New designers learn to think in terms of what is necessary first (first principles), while expanding into what is possible only after the primary requirements are met.
This approach to design results in responsible and ethical design.
Crazy fact: People spend 90% of their time indoors (not including pandemic statistics).
When you think about it for yourself, you realize that this is true, but most of us don’t stop to think about it. This knowledge places a whole new importance on planning optimal environments.
Interior Environments: Harm or Heal?
It only makes sense to suggest that the places where we spend most of our time every day should support our lives and our work and activities. It’s also important that our environments never endanger or harm us.
Beyond that, wouldn’t it be an amazing world in which we could spend our time in incredible interior environments, ones that inspire us and make us better human beings?
Luckily we have a way, though interior design.
Designers Learn Logic and Empathy Through Design Practice
Learning interior design actually makes us better people, believe it or not.
Why, you might ask? Don’t designers just do really cool mega-yacht interiors and private jets and mansions? Aren’t they all kinda like the TV personalities on “Million Dollar Decorators”?
Actually, the best interior designers are masters of human behavior and masters of ergonomics. Ergonomics, while it sounds like economics, is a little different. Describing a designer as a ‘master of ergonomics’ is another way of saying that the designer understands the meeting point between human factors and space in the physical environment, and that they make human needs a priority.
Some of the tools available for the study of human behavior in environments include: psychological reasoning and behavioral tests, survey sampling and anthropometrics, (or human measurement standards). These tools make up the foundations for ergonomic design studies and can suggest further design development and innovation.
Designers Think People First
As you can see, the reason that learning design can make us better people is because the broader theory of interior design works from deep empathy and the understanding of human needs and behavior. To become a truly great designer you need to hone your listening, communication and empathy skills.
If you’re doing your job right as an interior designer you will be studying people in relation to the spaces they inhabit and work, and designing by putting them and their needs first.
Rooms and even entire buildings aren’t the only things designers create, either. Designers also create and set the stage for great experiences and important events. The interior design professional spectrum can range from high society decorator to interior architect, set designer, stage designer or even pavilion designer.
Interior designers are also sometimes known as ‘environmental engineers’. In this role they are relied upon for their expertise in human resource environmental management.
In each case, the interior designer needs to have a deep understanding of the needs of the space to be designed as well as understand who its inhabitants or audience might be, and their specific needs and desires.
Human and Environmental Concerns of Interior Design Projects
|Top concerns in interior design projects should include things like:|
-Helping to maximize interior environmental air and sound quality (understanding and choosing the right systems)
–Planning electrical outlets, and fire safety exits (understanding legal building codes)
-Devising logical space planning which accounts for circulation pathways, zoning and grouping fittings and furniture with function and ease of use in mind
-Helping individuals to feel safe and comfortable while using the facilities
-Facilitating harmonious behavior and contributing to good physical and mental health
-Fostering the mood, vibe, brand, comfort, flexibility or productivity of a particular space
Priorities in Interior Design Projects
Learning interior design teaches us that human health is our foremost responsibility (as well as our privilege) as interior designers.
Once we have satisfied the needs of function, we get to work with form, and ‘wow’ the audience.
Creating the ‘Wow’ Factor
With the work of planning around needs, logistics and existing conditions out of the way, we can move into the territory of improvement and enhancement. This is the part of designing that everyone knows and loves: in this phase we get to use our creative expression, and make our work cool. And the result of all that is getting to make the world a better and more inspirational place for its users and inhabitants.
At the end of the day our work as interior designers is all about fostering humanity and helping people to thrive. What an awesome way to spend our time and energy!
2. Enhance Satisfaction and Enjoyment in Interior Environments
The Power of Place
Another good reason for learning interior design is that it can grow your appreciation for the “power of place”. This a phrase coined by Winifred Gallagher in the title of her book, “The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions and Actions. I highly recommend reading it.
Our immediate physical environment has an undeniable power to influence and even transform us, by inadvertently shaping our view of the world and our behavior in it.
Don’t you always feel so much better after a good vacation or a walk in nature? I know I do. That’s the power of place at effect.
Interior design life lessons:
- By adjusting or even completely changing our perspectives, we can see and learn things we wouldn’t otherwise
- A good interior design should ideally impart a sense of order, harmony, flow and comfort in a space
- Spending time in well planned interiors which are streamlined for efficiency allows the mind to be free to focus on other tasks or to enjoy leisure activities
- It’s a lot easier to relax when you are at ease in your environment
The Psychology of Space
Learning interior design makes us consider “setting”. People inhabit spaces, but those same spaces are also settings for all sorts of human activities.
Let’s imagine some ways the interior environment might set expectations for its inhabitants or occupants:
- Setting a stage for an event
– Example: a collaborative space or sunken conversation pit
How a conversation pit will function is almost inherently understood; making productive or friendly conversation more likely to happen in a way that feels natural and unforced.
– Example: an entranceway might seem grand when leading to a room or person of importance. Another similar ‘leading affect’ involves having someone go through a small room before opening up and entering into a much larger, greater room.
This exact technique was often applied by classical architects who wanted to impress their viewers and visitors with splendor and grandeur.
- Setting a tone or mood for environmental ambience
Examples might include:
-Placing a water feature in an entrance to enhance relaxation
-Planning a home theater system with the perfect sound and seating set up
-Planning around a stunning view or meaningful central feature, like a fireplace
- Setting expectations for work or social rituals
-Designing a home office for greater productivity by planning everything that is needed to be close at hand and accessbile, as well as designing for privacy. Imagine the benefits of simply closing the office door and being able to get to work without distractions.
-Planning for ergonomics and good organization go a long way in places of work like kitchens, workshops or studios.
-Socially, interior design can influence behavior as well. For example, if you want family dinner to be a sit-down affair you will need to plan a good dining set up. The informal kitchen bar with three stools might just not cut it.
- Influence our behaviors through organizational systems
Here are a couple of examples:
-In countries where we want people to take off their outdoor shoes before entering, there is usually a mudroom or shoe room for shoe storage, perhaps with seating to make it easy to change shoes.
-Another example would be coat racks and key ring hangers in an entrance, or an open plan closet that leads into the bathroom.
-Designers can consider wet and dry areas, zones for work and play, etc.
Are you starting to see how learning interior design helps us to be more empathetic? As a designer empathy is a literal super power.
3. Help to Increase Productivity in Workplaces and Safety in Public Spaces
All Work and No Play Makes for a Dull Interior
Work Place Interior Design
Learning interior design can help us to create better work environments. This goes a long way to increasing people’s quality of life.
After all, going to work doesn’t have the best ring to it for most people for a variety of reasons. Some factors like the commute might not be avoided. However, when it comes to the physical building the office is located in and the set-up of our personal work-space, there is a lot we can do to improve it.
Office Set Up Blues
In the office, seemingly small things can make a huge difference when it comes to our comfort and ultimate productivity. Some ways of improving productivity might involve simple things we don’t ordinarily think of, such as:
a) Our desk’s height and position in the room, or our leg room and ease of sitting and standing
b) Our proximity to the water cooler, the bathroom or the break room
c) The people we are prompted by our environment to interact with
(–Or not! Ever wondered why the boss gets the corner office? Interior designers know.)
These seemingly little things all add up to make a huge impact on our life and work satisfaction!
Work Places Before 2020
The pandemic resulted in a dramatic rise in the number of people working from home, a trend that seems here to stay. A growing number of people have become so accustomed to working remotely, that many now saying that they don’t want to return to the office.
I wonder how many of those offices were actually well-designed spaces optimised for the way real people work?
There will still be the need for workspaces, but those are becoming more flexible all the time. Another trend is toward workplaces that are less serious.
Fun Fact: The rise of more flexible, comfortable and collaborative working environments have been a popular interior design approach ever since Google first introduced a slide to their headquarters.
Some have criticized Google’s office design acumen, but consider their Zurich project from 2008 which was undertaken with the input of the actual staff who would use it. They were tasked with helping to help design the space with the help of a professional studio, Evolution Design.
It won three interior design industry awards.
Comfort in Workplaces
Whether we use work facilities once a week or every day, good interior design can ease the discomfort associated with traditional office set-ups and make us more productive and happy to get our work done.
If you’re interested in creative work environments look no further than co-working spaces. Co-working office spaces in Israel are a good example of this type of good design.
Safety in Workplaces
Beyond adding to our comfort in the work place, you can be sure that your interior designer knows to look out for your safety interests.
Designers working in the public sphere (also called commercial or contract design) ensure that fire safety exit points are clearly marked and that fire escapes are unobstructed. One less thing for the public to worry about.
4. Learn to Communicate Visually in 2 and 3 Dimensions
Interior Designers are Communication Specialists
We all hear about how important communication is. Well, another excellent reason for learning interior design is to learn to be an expert communicator. Combing verbal, written, 2D and 3D ideas, the interior designer is necessarily a communication specialist of the highest order!
Think about this way: It’s the designer’s job to take existing conditions as well as abstract ideas, hopes and dreams and deliver on them. This magic of design would not be possible without the incredible communication skills designers learn in school and through practice.
Communicating with Interior Design Clients
The designer needs to figure out how to bring disparate elements together into a well-researched, purely conceptual proposal that they will then share with the client. The interior designer’s client (or other stakeholders for whom the project is planned) will also be involved in many of the decisions along the way in the design process. As you can imagine, a lot factors will contribute to the success of final design.
None of this would be possible if the designer is unable to communicate the idea for the project at its conception.
How The Design Process Works
- It is crucial to avoid misunderstandings long before the costly implementation of the final design proposal. For this reason, designers make everything as clear as possible using visualization techniques
- Written research is translated to graphics, charts and other helpful visual aids
- Existing features and early concepts are sketched out
- Later proposed changes are put to plan and sent for approval
- There is a perfect visual trail leading from the first discovery sessions, all the way through the inspirational, conceptual work and the fine-tuned schematic plans
- The project is later furnished with detailed, drawn-up technical plans
If that sounds like a lot of work, it is! But learning how to work through a design process is a really incredible education!
Visual-Spatial Memory Super Powers
Learning interior design will increase your visual spatial memory.
As designers we learn to work visually.
This often involves translating between mediums, such as photography, physical drawing and computer aided design and software programs.
You will start to notice that your observational skills help you in many areas outside of design after learning and practicing interior design.
These days, since studying design, whether I walk into a supermarket, warehouse or mall, I find myself constantly reading my environment. I am noticing things other people don’t, and ultimately remembering those details better, too.
No kidding: Trained designers are really good at taking visual ‘ mental inventory’.
5. Become a Problem-Solving “Creative Genius” by Leveraging Design Thinking
Creativity Can Be Learned
Learning interior design will undoubtedly make you more creative. No matter your starting point, get prepared to become a creative dynamo.
How does this work?
Simple. When you find yourself needing a process to help you solve a creative problem, design thinking is your best friend.
- Solving creative problems involves dealing with multiple variables, while keeping a human centered focus, if it is to be called design.
- Design thinking helps to keep the focus on who the design will serve, what would be the best possible outcome, and determining how it would be feasible.
- Beginning with framing the design question in the right way and leaving it open enough, in the process of exploration a design thinker may try out multiple ideas in order to test theories, before arriving at the best and ultimate solution.
The Value of Design Thinking
Design thinking has become increasingly popular outside of the design fields where it originated.
Design thinking, as a learnable skill, is recognized as being beneficial to every type of venture, from businesses to government, and from education to nonprofits.
There are many free, short courses on design thinking available to those interested across the web, as well as the option of certifiable (paid) certificate courses.
To read more about design thinking go to:
6. Understand and Practice Architecture on the Human Scale
Interior Design for Architecture Lovers
Learning interior design is a good foray into learning more about architecture. If I hadn’t studied interior design I probably would have studied architecture.
The difference in time commitment, cost and flexibility is quite big between these two majors, and when it came down to it, interior design won out for me.
It’s been said that architecture is an incredible profession but a terrible career choice.
Although I have not given up entirely on my dream of learning more about architectural theory and design, I am happy that I made the choice that I made.
Interior Design vs. Architecture
Interior Designers are More Employable
While there are undeniably overlaps between the two disciplines, interior design, to me, seems to have more immediate practical applications to the every day and familiar real world than architecture.
Architecture is paramount in its importance to the structure of the built environment, but it can never be concerned with the details that interior design necessarily is.
Supply and Demand
When it comes to becoming a professional I could be wrong, but it seems to me there are way more renovations being done in existing buildings than entirely new buildings going up every day.
Renovation is known in the industry as adaptive reuse. It is also a “greener” option than building from scratch.
Competition in Architecture
The world of architecture is thrilling, but also highly competitive, and it can take a lifetime of dedication to the work before it pays off.
|I’ve heard of architects who changed careers to become interior designers and indeed, architects who advised their own children to become interior designers rather than architects.|
The reason for this is that there tends to more money in the commercial interior design profession and more chance for success than for the average architectural graduate.
This is especially true if you want to start an individual design practice.
And in case you were wondering, architects can practice interior design, but interior designers can not practice architecture, with the exception of specific interior architecture.
If, like me, you enjoy architecture and beautiful buildings you might appreciate that interior design is where the focus from the larger functional whole narrows down to the realm of the individual.
Done right, interior design brings the principles of good architecture to the human level, where people actually interact with their environment.
Something from Nothing
When the architectural elements of a building are visually weak, this presents an opportunity for the interior designer. The interior becomes a blank canvas for the designer to transform.
Taking something in need of reform and transforming it is what many creatives live for! Learning interior design gives you the power to envision an interior world and which later comes to be ‘built’. If there is a more concrete way to make dreams come true, I wanna know about it!
7. Take Advantage of Entrepreneurial Opportunities
Be Your Own Boss
Did you know that roughly sixty percent of interior design professionals are self employed?
Yep, learning interior design makes it way more likely that you will become your own boss in the future. This is a high statistic in favor of the industry, and one that interior design professionals are proud of.
Interior Design Entrepreneurship
The propensity for designers to be entrepreneurs or end up working freelance is one of the things that sold me on learning interior design. I’ve long had a dream that I may one day work for myself or start my own creative company. Interior design gives me a good way to do this.
With the technical and software skills you learn in a good interior design program, you are in a really good position to take your knowledge in a range of very promising directions.
What if You Change Your Mind About Interior Design?
Even if you decide that you don’t want to work in the interior design industry in the future you still have some great options. You can always become a writer or an editor on the subject or you could teach aspects of what you’ve learned about interior design.
The options are endless.
8. Enjoy Future Job Satisfaction and Security
Interior Design Demand is on the Rise
Learning interior design gives you access to a great future career.
Industry forecasts disagree on whether interior design jobs will be more plentiful or in shorter supply in the near future. Some say a 5% decline, while others say an up to 5% increase.
The reasons for this seem to be based on the projected forecasts for the industry coming from different areas, with some places seeing growth in the sector, while others seeing a decrease.
A lot has changed in the last year and a half, but even conservative estimates show at least a stable hold in the demand for interior designers. In some places, like India, and other parts of the emerging economic world, it is skyrocketing!
Low Rates of Unemployment for Interior Designer
Meanwhile, the current unemployment rate for interior designers is actually less than 1%.
That’s a fascinating statistic, given that the interior designers who aren’t working may be busy with family, may have chosen to stop temporarily, or perhaps switched to a different career.
One percent is a very low figure for any profession.
I have the feeling that the reason for this is that the world appreciates a good interior designer, and furthermore, that interior designers enjoy their work.
9. Promote Sustainability in the Building Industry
Help People, Help the Environment
Learning interior design can help you to make a difference to the environment.
The other side of the coin from helping people to live better and more comfortable lives which nurture and sustain them, is doing less harm to the environment.
Throughout my studies in interior design the subject of sustainability was constantly addressed, and great importance was placed on finding new and better ways to do things in the industry that would have less of a negative impact on the planet.
How Can Designers Make a Difference to the Environment?
When you consider how closely tied to the construction industry interior design and architecture are, it makes perfect sense that interior design companies start the ball rolling on the sustainability issue.
The changes will come about by educating clients and sourcing ethically.
-By requiring that projects meet certain sustainability requirements, both their suppliers as well as clients will be encouraged to make more sustainable choices
-The selection of ecologically-friendly products and materials will in turn support the materials and product manufacturers and trades which are also moving in a more environmentally-focused direction
When you consider that someone plans everything that is built, this puts designers in a position of great responsibility.
Be a Voice for change in the Industry
Let’s say you work as a designer and are an employee of a large company. Even if your institution doesn’t want to act ethically, at least that’s something you can be aware of going into the next job.
If you ever do go into business for yourself, make being environmentally responsible something you commit to. Taking a stand for the environment may even help to set you apart from your competitors.
|Bottom line: I think designers have the power to help change a lot of the negative aspects of the building industry for the better, through specialization as “green” design professionals.|
If you’ve stuck with me all the way to the end of this article, you are awesome! It’s very possible that you just might have what it takes to learn interior design and start a whole new exciting career.
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Which of the nine reasons for learning interior design resonated with you the most? I’d love to know!
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