A lot of interior design blogs focus on aesthetics, like colour and furniture selection, so you may think interior design is all or mostly about aesthetics. However, there is a lot more that interior designers do and a lot of other skills they need.
Clearly, a lot of the blogs that we at Tilottoma upload are based on aesthetics. As are blogs that are found on other interior design websites.
However, interior design work is not all about looking good. While aesthetics are no doubt a part of any kind of design, it’s definitely not the only aspect that an interior designer bases their work on.
And with interior design in Bangladesh constantly gaining in importance and becoming a popular career choice, we at Tilottoma decided to publish this blog outlining the different things an interior designer would need to do as part of their interior design profession.
So, what other things does an interior designer do?
Well, an interior designer cannot work in a vacuum, can they? They need to work for a company. Even if it’s a sole proprietorship, it is still a company and the designer would need to handle all the aspects of the company. So, one part of an interior designer’s work would be related to the practical aspect of keeping things going.
The other part would of course be based on the design aspect. Now, even the design aspect is not solely based on aesthetics. As interior designers, we create spaces that people want to live and/or work in. And that includes elements of ergonomics as well as aesthetics.
Are there different kinds of interior design firms?
Based on the kind of interior design work it handles, an interior design firm can be a
- Consultancy which means it only/mostly consults with clients and provides detailed design plans.
- Full service firm which means it will handle the entire design project if the client wants it to.
Tilottoma is an example of a full service interior design firm based in Bangladesh.
So, what are the different kinds of work that an interior designer does?
An interior design project is not awarded on the basis of verbal agreements or discussions. You need to present a detailed interior design proposal to your client based on which your bid for their interior design project would be accepted. So, preparing an interior design proposal is of utmost importance for an interior designer since that is what will bring in work and thereby generate cash flow.
Generally speaking, an interior design proposal should contain
- The client’s design idea and wishes, which is the baseline
- Your design proposal
- A short summary of how much of the client’s design vision you have incorporated in your design
- Reasons why you are rejecting some of the client’s ideas (you should explain in simple language why you rejected their ideas)
- A short description of the design process that will be followed
- Estimates of the budget and timeline
You should include sketches with this proposal so that the client can visualize your design idea.
Tilottoma explains: The proposal is the first stage in the interior design client acquisition process. The next stage would be the detailed design plan and then would come the legal agreement. The design proposal should be simple enough so the prospective client can easily understand it. While you should not hide any relevant information, you can avoid fussing over minute details in the design proposal.
While most, if not all, interior designers would just like to design in peace, there are some legal requirements that an interior designer needs to meet to carry out interior and exterior design projects.
- Whatever permits/licenses are necessary must be obtained from the respective authorities.
- A proper contract must be drawn up and signed by the designer and client.
- All legal accessibility requirements must be met, especially in case it is a public building that is being designed.
- Other government standards (like energy efficiency standards) if any must also be met.
Tilottoma explains: While the contract will be drawn up by a lawyer, the interior designer must know the basics of the contract so they don’t run afoul of legal liabilities.
The responsibility for knowing how to obtain the necessary permits and government standards lies solely with the interior designer.
Most interior design projects will be time-consuming, heavy-budget affairs and so some knowledge of project management will come in pretty useful for an interior designer. Cost management, contractor management (for whatever contractors you hire) and time management are crucial to complete an interior design project successfully. Frequent on-site supervision is critical. Another critical aspect of project management is what I like to call ‘paperwork’. This involves creating a progress report of the project based on which you can update the client periodically. You can also use the ‘paperwork’ to ensure that the project is proceeding on time. Whether you use real paper to create it or do it on a computer is your own choice, of course.
Like I mentioned earlier, many interior designers work mostly as consultants. Others, like Tilottoma do work as consultants but most of our work is full-service design work.
If you want to create your own niche in the interior design consultancy market, you must have a knack for
- Identifying and being able to make clients understand the latest trends in design.
- Understanding client psychology so you can offer advice tailormade for each client. For example, based on an initial consultation you must be able to understand whether they are a premium client, whether they will want to focus on eco-friendliness, etc
Efficiency and Ergonomics
This is less a different kind of work the interior designer does and more a skill they need but I think it should be mentioned here. An interior designer must strike a balance between aesthetics and ergonomics/efficiency. Aesthetics alone cannot create a space that is a pleasure to live/work in.
For example, while a low sofa may look good in a room, it is hardly efficient as most people would not be very comfortable sitting on it.
To sum up,
With the interior design industry in Bangladesh becoming more and more competitive, it is essential for everyone to know what kind of work interior designers do. No, interior designers don’t focus only on aesthetics.
You can be either a full-service interior design firm or a design consultant. The major kinds of work an interior designer does are
- Preparing proposals
- Legal work
- Project management
- Efficiency and ergonomics