Now that we’ve defined what interior design is — the overall design of interior spaces — and what differentiates it from interior decoration, let’s delve deeper into why it matters. What is the importance of interior design?
Not long ago, I wrote about the importance of residential (home) interior design, where I went bold and said that it improves lives. I stand by this statement, and so much more than ever.
Personally, I find residential design to be the most gratifying field in ID as it focuses on people’s homes where they feel most comfortable. A home is a sacred place where you can finally rest after a long day at school or work. Sadly though, not all homes are optimized for rest and relaxation. One size doesn’t fit all; interior design is customized comfort.
But how about interior design outside the home? What is the importance of interior design in places such as restaurants, hospitals, or offices? And why does interior design matter so much?
The importance of interior design is that it affects how you feel in a space.
Which, in turn, affects how you function in a space.
That’s the importance of ID in a nutshell. I could cut this article short right here and you’d know all you need to know about the importance of interior design. But what does that even mean?
It means that each space has a function. In other words: each space has a specific purpose and meets a specific objective.
In homes, the objective is to rest and relax, and to just basically be comfortable. A home is where you retreat to after long days. If you work from home, your office space should be differentiated from the rest of the home, where feelings of relaxation is counterproductive to your work.
In restaurants, there are two sides to the coin: customers and business owners.
As a customer, you want a comfortable experience. This is a given, I know, but it’s incredible how many restaurants out there tend to be so generally uncomfortable. So much money is spent on opening a restaurant, yet little thought is given to the overall experience of the customer.
When I walk into a restaurant, I want to feel welcome. I want it to be inviting and I’d like to know right away if I need to wait to be seated or if I can go straight in and help myself to a table. I’d like to get an idea of where the toilets are and I’d like to be confident walking with heels without having to watch my steps as I find my way. During the meal, I’d like to be comfortable where I’m seated. I’d like to cross my legs under the table! If it’s a romantic place, I don’t want my face to be highlit; I want the lights to be dim and I’d prefer romantic music playing in the background as opposed to Italian disney songs.
On the contrary, if it’s a fastfood chain, I’d like to walk straight into the counter and order my fastfood. I’d like to quickly find a place to sit where I can eat my carbs real fast and leave real fast (so no one sees me eating all that junk).
Seriously speaking though, each space has an intended function, and there are so many factors that play into meeting them — lighting, space layout, colors, decor, and even sound (music), smell, and temperature!
As a restaurant owner, you’d like to meet the expectations of your customers, depending on the type of restaurant you run, and meet their objective for entering your establishment in the first place. Because at the end of the day, you’d like them to spend their money on what you have to offer. And if you meet their expectations and make them feel comfortable, they’ll be coming back, or even better, they might recommend your place to their friends. (And tourists will write reviews.)
In hospitals, too, there are two types of people to consider: employees and patients. Doctors and nurses need environments that help them concentrate on details and to work with precision. Patients need to feel comfortable and at ease in their rooms, which shortens healing time.*
In offices, the main objective is to get work done. Does the lighting motivate you to work? Does the office space, or your cubicle, motivate you to think in a concrete or in an abstract manner? For accounting work or work that involves data, ideally you’d want to think concretely. If it’s creative or artistic work, you’d like to be more open and think in a more abstract way.
There are so many factors that play into meeting different functions. I mentioned a few earlier — lighting, space, colors, decor — and those are just a few. These have to do with the 7 elements of interior design, and that is a whole article in itself.
As a graduated interior design student, I notice details when I’m out and about. I’m sure most of you do, too. I’m sensitive to minute factors that play a role in the overall experience of a space. As a sensitive person, I’m very much aware of factors and elements that influence and affect my overall take on a space’s design.
With time, it becomes more and more clear to me how important interior design is. It affects how one feels in a space, which inevitably affects how one functions in a space. And each space has its specific function. Whether the design of a space meets its function or not depends entirely on minute details which are the 7 elements of interior design — lighting, space, color, decor (pattern, texture, line, form).
Additional to these 7 basic elements, there are other important factors that contribute to the overall design (and which go much deeper). Examples are sound and smell. But this will have to wait for a whole new article.