Interior design is both the art and science of enhancing the interiors of a building, be it a residence or an office; or even a factory, school, or hospital. Until a few decades ago, interior design largely referred to only shapes and play of colors that are aesthetically pleasing. But, now interior design is a lot more complex and includes aspects of functionality, environment friendliness, and also promotes healthier lifestyle and wellbeing. Therefore, interior design does not require the professional expertise of an architect alone. A good understanding of masonry work, carpentry and electrical work is also essential. Further, interior design work needs to be handled on a project basis and thereby includes the aspects of planning, techno-commercial, and execution at site.
Important considerations in interior design –
Effective use of space: to enable residents get maximum out of the available space. An uncluttered interior yet allowing a lot of storage is a good example of this.
Functional and safe design: An interior is not all about a beautiful scheme of colors and shapes. It must be also fulfill its functional requirement. For instance a lounging area or a work space needn’t look only attractive. It should be comfortable, with easy access and should be optimally lit with a mix of natural and artificial lighting.
User well-being through ventilation and ergonomics: A well designed interior must allow good ventilation for human comfort. Ergonomic design refers to comfort as well as health. For instance, a seating system with a sub-optimal backrest design could induce backache.
Environment friendly design and choice of materials: Principles of sustainability should be followed in production of materials used in interior design.
Consideration to users’ specific taste: User requirements in terms of layout, furniture design, lighting fixtures etc, also need to be satisfied while maintaining aesthetic appeal.
In the last decade, interior design of residences and offices has seen great innovations in not just new materials but also in the layouts and use of technology. Interiors of contemporary residences and offices currently feature the following characteristics –
Vibrant color schemes.
Emphasis on comfort and relaxation.
Use of natural and organic materials.
Use of technology: for example, security and access systems, electrically operated shutters and screens, remote controlled lighting, mobile/internet controlled home appliances.
One would think that with the constraints of functionality, most residence interiors should be looking similar. Far from it. Residence interiors are increasingly expressing the lifestyle and taste of its residents and also innovation of the interior design professionals. Some of the innovative features found in modern residence interiors are –
Storage under stairs.
Seating by the window.
Innovative lighting fixtures; wall mounted, floor mounted or table top.
Design of office interiors has several other aspects to consider. These include the type of company, the number of people and the movement pattern during the work day. Design of work stations and their layout is therefore of primary importance for offices.
Modern office interiors reflect a company’s culture, values, and brand characteristics. Open office layout, which became a rage all over the world about 2 decades ago, was first designed in the US to express openness, transparency and collaboration among employees.
This translated to a layout with a large number of workstations placed in open halls, with cabins for senior managers and conference halls made of glass walls, but offering acoustic privacy at the same time.
Some important factors in designing an office interior are –
Type of company and its business: A funky interior may not suit a traditional financial firm, dark color scheme may not work for a modern marketing or ad company.
Number of employees and their movement pattern
Need to maintain hierarchy in size and positioning of work stations and enclosed spaces.
Number of conference and meeting rooms.
Lighting balance: between natural and artificial lighting
Type of light fittings and light sources.
Structure and furniture design: materials, colors, modularity etc
Selecting a professional service provider –
While selecting a service provider for designing the interior of your residence or office, it is necessary to go for qualified professionals who have domain knowledge and experience in all aspects of design, especially when the size of residences is large or the office has fifty or more employees. A team of carpenters, masquerading as interior decorators, are not the ones who would fit the bill. Professional interior designers would handle the work as a project, and start with a laid-down plan and thereafter create a functional design. A professional service provider would also consider all techno-commercial aspects and ensure proper execution of work on site. And in keeping with the modern trends, and being responsible global citizens, we all must insist for environment friendly practices in interior design.