Very often I find myself having to define the title of an Interior designer. Mixed messages appear in many forms and it is a career that many underestimate and clearly don't understand. I have had the pleasure of working with many great architects who realise the value of great interior design, however I have also had the unpleasant flip of the coin in dealing with the arrogant, old fashioned, uneducated types who really do not understand the business and the value of creating functional, free flowing spaces that help to make your home feel and work efficiently and effectively as your own personal space.
The problem with a handful of architects or property developers, or in fact anyone who doesn't see the need for proper spatial planning or lighting design is that they just don't understand the great importance of creating this personal space. They don't "get" that a certain amount of light in a home will make you feel a certain way, that you will need a good amount of sockets to run your technology or household goods, you will need a bathroom off of each bedroom, to be designed to suit various members of the family's own personal needs. They don't understand that you also want to be able to relax in your bedroom, so the layout needs to be right, you want your house to have impact so your doors want to be a certain height to give grandeur and the feeling of space, they need to open a certain way into the room, the symmetry of rooms..... I could continue with an ever increasing list, but I think you get the gist of what I'm saying!
I am always encouraging young people to go into this business while mentoring at schools as there are so many misconceptions about it as a career choice. This is most certainly not helped by some of the types of people who call themselves masters of this industry. Many times I have met up with wealthy clients who keep their wives happy by giving them a few quid and creating them a career as an "Interior designer". It's quite amazing and equally disturbing to see what they then do with their 'noveau' knowledge in the subject.
I see many disastrous spaces being created in the most unbelievable ways! Homes that look like lap dancing clubs, with no sense of style or creativity, homes that look exactly the same as one seen in "Elle" magazine, even though the house is completely the wrong shape for the contents and layout, homes where the "designer" has gone and bought everything from the same shop (Conran tends to be the footballers wives shop!) giving absolutely no personality or thought to practicalities of the interior at all. Homes with not enough sockets, lighting, fireplaces in the wrong places, you name it I 've seen it!
The great advantage in finding a really professional and experienced interior designer is that your home will then reflect you and your family's needs, it will look stylish, function well and your won't have wasted your money on all sorts of silly things that you will undoubtedly chuck out in a years time or tire of in 6 months because it was a complete and utter waste of money. Interior design is not just about fluffing up a few cushions and painting walls pretty colours, its about looking at a space with an open mind and imagining how you or your client wants to live in this space. There is no point in putting a glass staircase from your living room down to your kitchen if you are a person who is forever sitting in front of the TV on your favourite sofa but has the munchies and loves to keep going in the fridge for nibbles, think through that whole scenario, getting up, clip-clop down the glass staircase to walk to the fridge to get the door open etc etc... you get the idea, its just not practical to your lifestyle and needs. The same goes for your son who loves a bath, but the house designed for you only has showers in the en suites and only a bath in the master bedroom which is mum and dads room. Your son is now continuously in there having a bath instead of using the en suite in his own room.
Another faux pas is that the designer has put the TV on the wall opposite the window from the garden, this may not sound serious but try watching your favourite show with the sunlight pouring out at your screen. All too often these scenarios are the norm and my job as well as many other designers who have the experience and the insight, is to make sure this doesn't happen.
My advice to all is to really try to understand this business, there are always the people who give businesses a bad name but realise that there are many of us who really do know what we are doing and will do a bloody good job at making your home environment amazing!