A prospective client, who is moving into a new home and needs an overall design plan to ensure the rooms flow and function well, asked me during our initial phone consultation, if I had any experience laying out and organizing rooms for clients so they function well. Or, she asked, “does a designer just pick furniture, pillows and color?”
I love this question!
Yes, not only do I have experience creating functional spaces, it’s the first part of most projects and one of my favorite aspects of designing. At its core, interior design is problem solving. A room is a puzzle with many pieces that, when put together right, create a beautiful picture.
Function first. Pretty second. Us designers are about WAY more than the pretty, but, we do love the pretty!
I am currently working with a contractor on master bath, powder room and laundry room layout for a proposal. The homeowners just moved in and wants to renovate these spaces so they function better for them. There is currently not a door from the master bedroom into the master bath (don’t ask) and the washer and dryer are in the powder room (again, not sure what went into that decision). The goal is to open the master bath to the bedroom and remove the laundry area from the powder room, creating two separate rooms. All of these changes will happen within the existing footprint.
There are no fabrics, tiles, lighting, paint colors or fixtures to consider yet. First we must make the spaces work on paper. The function comes first. The creative process often involves other professionals and I’ve enjoyed working with the contractor on these layouts. The back and forth between us is a great collaborative process.
Here are a few of the layouts we’re considering proposing to the client. They are in a draft state, but show the general placement of items.
I am also working with clients who called because her rooms aren’t functioning well. The home has a lot of space but the clients just don’t know the best way to use the space. Sometimes it takes an outside professional to see your spaces in a new way – to re-imagine a room. During our first meeting we talked about what they do in each room and what activities they need space for. I made a few suggestions on better uses for rooms and I’m working on a new layout for a room that currently holds their kitchen table. It will be re-imagined as a seating area with a TV.
There are certainly projects where I am only making “pretty” updates. A client who loves her dining room furniture but wants to freshen up the rest of the room only needs help with fabric selection and coordination, window treatments, rug and chandelier selections, wall colors and molding designs. I enjoy selecting and working with fabrics and coordinating paint colors so this is an enjoyable project for me, but doesn’t involve any big functional considerations.
Either way, the goal is to create highly functional and visually appealing spaces for clients so they can get the most enjoyment out of their home. Sounds simple, right? 🙂
If you have any other questions about what an interior designer does or doesn’t do, leave a comment below. I can’t speak for all designers, but I’ll give you my 2 cents if you ask!