Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
Residential Interior Design
Architects have an important job: building structures that will fulfill people's needs while being structurally safe and sound. But here's the thing: you can create the greatest building in the world, but nobody's going to use it if the inside is a mess. Interior design is an integral part of architecture, focused on creating interior spaces that make the building both functional and aesthetically appealing. Still, we have different kinds of buildings, so it makes sense that we have different kinds of interior designs. One of the biggest arenas for designers is residential design, or the interiors of spaces in which people live. This can include houses, apartments, condos, and anywhere else where people reside. The architect may build the house, but it's the designer's job to make it a home.
Creating a Livable Space
Residential interior designers coordinate the interiors of homes, which means that their job is very different than someone who designs something like a bank or a commercial center. Interior design is always a matter of balancing aesthetic and function, so we need to consider the primary function of a residence: it's a place where people live. Therefore, a residential designer's primary focus is creating a livable space.
This means that residential designs needs to be comfortable and usable. Think of what you use your home for. It's where you relax, cook, and eat. It may be where you entertain close friends or small groups of guests. You may have a home office for work. Residential needs tend to be focused on smaller groups and more relaxed atmospheres than you'd find in a commercial building, and the interior designer needs to ensure that the colors, lighting, furniture, appliances, temperature, and general layout meet these needs. In other words, the interior needs to be livable.
Designers and Architects
Since residential interior design is focused on livability, designers and architects must work closely together. Occasionally, the architect will take charge of interior design (Frank Lloyd Wright was famous for doing this), but more frequently the architect works closely with a designer whose sole job is planning the interior aesthetic. In fact, a single residence may utilize multiple designers who each specialize in one area of living: the kitchen, the bedrooms, home offices, etc.
In terms of architecture, however, there are a few major things that the designer will often add or change to the architect's plan. Does the designer envision a more open interior feel? Then they may suggest removing non-essential walls and adding more windows for natural lighting. Does the designer want a more intimate feel? Lower ceilings, fewer windows, and tighter spaces may do the trick. The designer's job is to manage architectural features so as to ensure the appropriate balance of private versus public space. All residences require both. Public spaces, like dining rooms or living rooms, tend to feel open and airy. Private spaces, like bedrooms, tend to be more intimate and enclosed. Interior designers work with architects to ensure that the physical building balances needs of living.
Division of Space
The balance of private and public spaces means that interior designers need to know how to divide space within a residence. This is often done with architectural features like walls and windows, but just as frequently is a matter of aesthetic design. Imagine a house with a central kitchen that opens into a dining room, a living room, and a foyer. Without adding additional architectural features, we can completely change the relationship between these spaces.
If the designer wants to create a strongly unified interior that feels spacious and open, each of these rooms may be designed using a shared color scheme, with accents in the walls, trimmings, and furniture that visually connect one room to the next. However, many modern designers look to create a visual distinction between rooms, forcing people to appreciate each individually. By using opposing color schemes, different patterns or textures, and emphasizing different shapes or angles in each room, the designer divides spaces into distinct sections without adding physical barriers.
One last thing that residential interior designers need to consider in order to achieve the livable aesthetic of a residence is the actual residents themselves. Very often, people want to see their personalities interjected into their living spaces. This makes the house feel more like a home. Urbanites with strong modernist sensibilities probably want a different interior aesthetic than rural families with traditional values of hospitality and a great view of the landscape. The designer needs to work with residents to create the desired effect. Together, they can turn a strong and stable structure into a home worth living in.
Residential interior design is the art of creating aesthetic and functional living spaces. While architects design the structure, designers are generally in charge of the interior aesthetic. Their primary focus is to enhance the livability of a residence, which can include anything from picking the right floors and color schemes to ensuring that appliances are in realistic and usable locations. Designers work with architects to ensure that physical features allow for the appropriate division of private versus public space and can also aesthetically divide or unify rooms through colors, textures, and patterns. Designers also need to work with residents to help translate a certain personality into the aesthetic, be it serious and intellectual or whimsical and bright. When turning a house into a home, interior design can make all the difference.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack
Resources created by teachers for teachers
I would definitely recommend Study.com to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.