If I had to choose an alternative career path, I would like to think I’d make a good interior designer. Maybe it’s adulthood or just me spending way too much time on Pinterest, but I cannot get enough of interior design.
Professionals that have made a life for themselves designing and overhauling homes and buildings for people have always been of interest to me. These creators can translate what’s in their mind to a physical space and they understand how transformative interior design can be to people.
It’s much more than just a slick of paint and new furniture. According to Freshome, ‘interior designers need to be educated in the history of design, the structural integrity of buildings, building codes, ergonomics, spatial concepts, ethics, psychology, computer aided drawing and much more.’
When it comes down to it though, passion ultimately rules.
Abigail Ahern, an interior designer who founded her own company recalls the moment she identified her love affair with her craft.
‘I started early I think I was about 8 when apparently I saved up my pocket money to replace the carpet with a rug. Slightly crazy being that young but there you go!’ she said.
When it comes to different styles of décor there’s an infinite amount. However, people tend to stick to more of what they know according to Ahern.
‘I think people generally play it safe and gravitate towards Scandinavian, industrial and retro vibes,’ she said.
Martin Waller, co-founder of Andrew Martin, shares the same sentiment, adding mid-century, urban modern, traditional/classic, country and coastal to the list.
Travel can also influence style. In Waller’s case, South East Asia provided the most inspiration for him
‘It was in Thailand that I first saw the miracle of silk yarn production and the laborious work of ikat weaving, which can take a day to produce a single metre. But it was more than just the product that captivated me; it was the serene patience of the weavers, the skill of the dyers and the ancient tradition of the technique,’ he said.
Ahern’s designs on the other hand involve reflecting emotions, something I found particularly interesting.
‘I love incorporating humour in interiors it so lightens the mood. I add pieces that instantly make me smile - anything from animal inspired pieces (I've got poodle lights sitting on ostrich tables) to having lots of quirky art and sculpture. Adding touches of irreverence makes interiors come alive I think,’ she said.
So, while most people may opt for popular interior themes like Scandinavian or industrial, sometimes it may be worth describing the type of feeling or vibe that you want a room to reflect.
‘I tend to design not around a style but an emotion purely because that way I get to reference so many more styles than purely sticking to just one look which can feel a little bit stayed. It’s hard to do and takes some work but creating magical interiors is all about drilling into how you want your home to make you feel, do that and you'll create a space you never want to leave,’ Ahern explained.
Consumers who use these spaces benefit from them hugely. According to Alex Ion at Freshome.com, ‘one of the basics of home design is using beautiful and suitable shades to create visual harmony around you. The soothing colours or the bright shades that you picked out will help with your mood and the positive thinking.’
However, for interior designers, despite the array of elements that go into this profession, ultimately, it’s another form of creative expression.
‘Interior design is more than just attractive patterns and textures. It is about reflecting a personal view on a subject. While many designers want to say something new, I want to say something old – to capture a flavour of an antique land and somehow bottle it,’ Waller reflects.
For Ahern, it’s about challenging the norm when it comes to living space.
‘I don't really think there is anything better than creating spaces that make people feel better about themselves and their homes. It’s a complete buzz, you're giving them a tool kit to live in a completely new way. You're challenging them to think differently and that is an amazing thing to do,’ Ahern said.
At the end of the day though, the recipients are at the heart of it all as Waller reveals.
‘A home is a backdrop to life and so it is essential that the whole family feels literally ‘at home’ with the interior design being a reflection of you and your personality.’
A Journalism graduate from Kingston University, Safeera has worked in both print and online media. When she isn't writing, you can find her working through her never ending bucket list or glued to the Formula 1.