Expectations vs Reality of an Interior Designer

Imagine yourself approaching a restaurant in a busy city. As you walk closer to the restaurant, you can see woven chairs seated around a small wooden table, outside under a large dark covering with soft burnt yellow lights strung from above. Along one side of the building, the windows have been replaced for a garage door, exposing the inside of the restaurant and the tables nearby it, allowing the cool breeze blow in. Walking through the door, your eyes adjust to the light difference, but soon notice the industrial interiors with European flair. In the center of the room, a large wired staircase zigzags upward to the second floor. The restaurant is breathtaking and beautifully designed. An interior designer’s job is to make spaces look good, but there’s so much more to it than most people would expect. 

Whenever I mention that I am majoring in interior design, I often get categorized as a decorator. Somehow, decorating is the easiest way to describe what interior designers do. However, this is a common misconception and is only part of what they actually do. Often times, I have to explain to people that I do more than just make things look “pretty.” It’s not just about how a space looks, but also focused on the functionality and flow of the space.

So what is the definition of an interior designer? According to www.dictionary.com, an interior designer “designs and coordinates the decorative elements of the interior of a house, apartment, office, or other structural space, including color, schemes, fittings, furnishings, and sometimes architectural features.”

To put it simply, interior designers problem solve to create a space that fits the needs of an owner or renter, and uses an array of beautiful aesthetics to accomplish a functioning space. This is the reality of what interior designers do. Thankfully, due to the expansion of interior design industry today, people are beginning to the understand the realities of what the job entails.


There are many codes, meanings, endless hours of space planning, and more that goes on behind the scenes of designing a space. It often seems very small and fine in detail, but everything eventually comes together to create a functioning space. The overall design works because of the well thought out space planning and codes. The aesthetics and finishes create a breathtaking space that gives a certain vibe that keeps people coming back for more. 

The expectation of what an interior designer does is only part of what is actually done. Interior designers are like detectives and scientists put together. We find solutions for the problems that are given to us as well as research and find the little details through design, codes, space planning, and much more to solve the problem. The interior design department is a small, but growing branch of design here at Mount Mary University and we are much more than just decorators. I hope that through this blog, I can expand the knowledge about interior design and give tips to those interested in creating positive surroundings. 

Stay tuned for next week with Interior Geek and get excited for fall decorations!

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