An understanding of colour, light and pattern is central to the work of an interior designer, but other aspects of the designer’s role are less well-known. These include:
- An ability to map out each room, take accurate measurements for flooring and window treatments, and assess practical restrictions.
- Excellent listening skills – a designer needs to listen to clients’ dreams and turn them into reality, within the bounds of what is practically possible and desirable.
- An ability to negotiate with clients where their ideas are unrealistic or the designer believes they really will not work.
- Expert project management skills.
- An ability to calculate a realistic budget and work within that.
- The knowledge and skill to source the right materials and negotiate with suppliers, perhaps only after searching through countless sample books and tramping through many showrooms.
- An up-to-date knowledge of new materials and industry developments that can be applied to samples and client advice.
- An ability to manage subcontractors, such as carpenters, carpet layers and decorators.
- For self-employed designers, marketing skills as well as an understanding of all the elements that come together to create a successful business, including planning, accounts and taxes.
An understanding of client needs and, sometimes, an ability to manage conflict.
It sounds like hard work, and it can be! Many designers find themselves working long hours and taking few holidays. But they do it because they love it! Nothing quite beats the satisfaction of a beautifully-finished project, brought in on time and in budget, or the pleasure of seeing another satisfied client.