What Does an Interior Designer Really Do?

If you’re a Jeopardy player, the finger-on-the-buzzer answer to what an interior designer does might be, “What is: pick out fabrics & paint colors, guide materials and finish selections, design window treatments and upholstery, educate and assist in the purchase and placement of furnishings, art and accessories.” You won’t lose points for that answer – but, you won’t get to the finals either. It’s just not the full answer. 

David Van Scott Photography

Sure, as I designer I do all of those studied and practiced things listed above – and more. But, the excellent completion of these challenges is the small picture of what a great interior designer really does. The larger arc of what I do really do is something far more. Through the sum total of my interior design work, I adjust an environment to not only make a home look most beautiful, but I also make adjustments that will make home feel like a haven. The result of my truest work is that I can make a home feel like a gift to wake up to each day and a pleasure to come home to each evening. Raise the aesthetic in a home and the people in that home will feel and function better. Period.

In experience after experience I have learned that Right Design, wisely and  beautifully done, infuses a home with more peace, more grace, more enjoyment and more balance in Life (capital L). When I align an environment with who you are, how you want to live, what you value and what you love most – great things happen. Sure, I love the creative process of fabric planning and the like. But, my deepest satisfaction comes from knowing that when I do my job correctly, I can improve the quality of your Life. Through my work with a client, I can make a house a home that will provide the launching pad and lift off to more ideal living for the family that resides there.

Do you know when I first recognized this? When our then 8-year-old daughter returned home from a new friend’s house and said to me, “Mom, thank you for our house.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well,” Anna continued. “It always feels very peaceful here. And it’s very beautiful, too. It feels happy here and that house I went to today didn’t feel good inside.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

After that incident, which certainly got my attention, I began to take notice of the continued stream of grateful phone calls, emails and cards from clients. I’m not talking about the quick emails that say “Hey, love that fabric,” or “Nice door handles.” No, I’m talking about the client communications that boasted elation and phrases like:

“Thank you!  I feel so good when I open the door to come home.”

“I love waking up and coming downstairs each morning and seeing my _____ room. What a lift.”

“I didn’t know I could live like this.”

“I sneak into my office now just to relax because I love the way it looks and feels in here.”

I could go on, but you get the point.

I was reading a book on Asian design the other day and in it, there was a beautiful quote that basically said there is a time in our lives when we must step away from the world and her noise and “Let Beauty Do Its Work On Us.”

Yes, there is an elixir in refined function and refined aesthetic in our precious homes. It’s a potent elixir and it’s called:  What an Interior Designer Does.