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Why Interior Designers Are Essential to Society

The pandemic forced us to reevaluate our homes and taught us that interior designers can help us build a better world.

Claire Tardy

By definition, the role of an interior designer is to create beauty, comfort and functionality by playing with space, light, color, materials and furniture — all while keeping clients’ wishes and constraints top of mind. But are interior designers essential? As the pandemic containment measures prioritized goods and services deemed essential for society, this question gained new immediacy. Houzz’s editorial teams reached out to design professionals around the world for answers.

Interior Designers Make Our Lives Better

The work of interior designers is meant to improve quality of life. “Our surroundings have an enormous impact on the way we behave and feel, and the role of the interior designer is more important than ever as we retreat to our homes during COVID-19,” Australian interior designer Lynne Bradley says. “A good interior designer will resolve the functionality of a space and address scale, curate a desirable aesthetic, inject soul and tell a story for the inhabitants as well as effecting productivity. Good interior design evokes happiness and soothes the soul. It can inspire confidence, empathy, pride, creativity, security and energy.

“Creating a meaningful space that fulfills the needs of the inhabitant and optimizes their space is one of our key roles as designers and is essential to our society,” Bradley says.

“It’s not about whether the walls are painted in the latest colors, but rather whether the space evokes the desired emotions in the user,” says Maria Roussos, also based in Australia. “Does it entice, stimulate, relax, entertain, embrace, fascinate? Good design achieves this through the manipulation of space, light, color, materials, textures, furniture and myriad other elements. Ultimately, all this works together in a delicate balance of form and function. And this is important because it improves our quality of life.”

Caterina Magliulo, an interior designer in Milan, Italy, reminds us that interior designers are well placed to take on these challenges because of their knowledge and training. “The professional interior designer has a great knowledge of materials and a perspective on spaces and colors,” she says.

They Contribute to Our Well-Being

The human element is essential to interior design, which can have a profound impact on our well-being. “It is a profession that has an impact on the person,” Paris-based interior designer Margaux Carnevali says. “Our eyes need visual harmony of colors, shapes, and [we need] adapted ergonomics.”

Another designer in France, Elodie Ricord, takes this a step further, citing design’s therapeutic potential. “Interior design can be therapeutic when it is shared with a client,” she says. “I think that it is essential in order to create a sense of well-being in the home, to put together interiors where one can find oneself again and to create suitable spaces.

“It is not something vital, but it is necessary for well-being,” she says. “The therapeutic role of interior architecture consists in creating well-being while representing the client’s ideas in material form. If this is done well, the clients are very happy because they recognize themselves in the interior architect’s work. We do everything we can to create the client’s universe, and this is a form of therapy.”

Japanese interior designer Hiroko Machida says she bases her work on neuroaesthetics, or the study of the neural basis for the perception of beauty in the arts, literature, music dance, theater and film.She focuses on the state and functions of the brain in response to aesthetics.

“I am working on interior designs which relieve stress and strengthen immunity,” she says. “We are experimenting with interior design projects that apply the findings from neuroaesthetics research undertaken at the University of London.”

Ulrike Kabyl, who is based in Germany, says a comfortable home is particularly important in the current circumstances. “To withdraw into our four walls means leaving stress outside, finding peace, feeling good and perhaps finding inspiration.… Interior designers can help create these kinds of refuges.”

To continue learning, find out whether interior design is a good career.

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