Being an interior design major is so much more than picking paint colors, fabrics and making a space look nice. We are flattered when you ask us for design advice, but there is so much more to us than that.
Since I am a highly creative person, I knew I needed to choose a career path that allowed me to express my creativity or else I would just be miserable. When I saw Baylor offered interior design as a major, I knew this was God’s calling to me. It wasn’t until I got here, however, that I realized this major was a lot more than I anticipated. I also realized that many wouldn’t understand this, either. Whenever I tell someone that I am an interior design major, the usual response is, “Oh, that’s so fun.” But I have in the past gotten some offensive responses, such as, “So you’re majoring in picking fabrics.” Here I am today to tell you that it is actually not all that fun at times and no, I am not majoring in picking fabrics. I am majoring in ensuring you can safely exit a building, making sure your handicapped loved ones can efficiently move throughout a space, being knowledgeable on how the different light temperatures affect your mental health, and so much more to guarantee you have the greatest quality of life inside a space.
Yes, we pick paint colors, but we must be taught color theory because color plays a huge role in mental health. We aren’t just able to pick blue because we like blue. We must think about who the users of the space are and from there we decide what is best suited for the space. So next time you find yourself in a hospital, look around. Look at the exit signs and where they are placed because we spent countless hours planning out where to put them to best ensure your safety. Look at the flooring material next and know we chose this material because we are thinking of the users. The flooring is slip resistant. It will have a sufficient softness percentage because we must consider the doctors and nurses who are on their feet all day, so it will absorb noise to ensure you are at peace while being a patient. It is easy to clean because the cleanliness of a hospital and keeping it sanitized is crucial to the safety of some patients, and while I can go on I will stop there.
The design process begins with research because it is crucial that we know everything possible about a project and its components. It is the time where we freshen up our knowledge of building codes, fire codes, etc., but keep in mind that each state has its own set of building and fire codes, so that is why research is so crucial. Then comes space planning, which consists of creating what we call bubble and block diagrams. From there, we start to put it into our desired program of either AutoCAD or Revit. However, do not just think we create a single floor plan and that’s it. We then take that floor plan and make a furniture plan, reflected ceiling plan, safety plan, and elevations of the space. From there, I like to put my plan into a program called Sketchup. I then spend countless hours finding my finishes and furnishings and creating a 3D picture of how the space will be. From there, a program called Enscape makes it come to life, as if it were a place I could physically go to. This is my favorite part of the process because it just makes all the hard work worth it.
I hope the next time you meet an interior design major, you acknowledge that it is not an easy major. I’ve watched as my former classmates have dropped the program because they just couldn’t handle it anymore. The multiple all-nighters, having no storage space left on our laptops, the endless hours of studying codes, and all being absolute perfectionists are going to be so worth it.