I just got back from NeoCon, an annual Interior Design conference held at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and I’m still unwinding from the madness/excitement/whirlwind that is NeoCon. I’ve had an interest in Interior Design since I was little, and it started with countless afternoons spent rearranging the furniture in my room. And someday I might wonder why I develop back problems…anyway, this was my first Interior Design conference and it definitely gave me some good insight into what the industry is really like at the highest level. While I love aesthetics, especially when related to interior spaces, I felt like the conference was eye-opening, and not necessarily in the best way. The conference included hundreds of booths showing off their products, designers dressed to the T, seminars about various design topics, and all the showrooms were open for people to meander in and out of.
The Interior Design industry, and practicing Interior Design, is fun, but there is a certain level of superficiality about it that I’m struggling with. While picking out paint colors and tiles and fabrics is fun, sometimes I ask myself, “What are we really doing here besides making things look pretty?” Again, while this is very fun, I worry how much it’s actually contributing to society and what good it’s really doing. Another thing is, that it is only an affluent clientele that can afford to hire an Interior Designer, therefore resulting in providing a service that caters only to the rich. Furthermore, as a designer, you might have a certain style, but the client for whom you are working might have a very different style, and you have to cater to that style, even if you happen to hate it.
All of these components of Interior Design have started to weigh on my mind as I’ve gained more exposure to the industry, and I find myself questioning if it’s really the industry for me, despite the fact that I love looking at and putting together beautiful spaces. It’s a complex and competitive business, akin to the fashion industry, which makes it difficult to make one’s way in.
On the flip side, what is inspiring about Interior Design is creating spaces that will inspire those for whom you are creating them. Helping clients see their space in a new way and teaching them how to coordinate certain things, or bringing in pieces they would not have thought of on their own, arranging things to make a space more functional, or completely redefining a space, and giving them the luxury to enjoy and feel comfortable in the space they call home are all aspects of Interior Design that can be rewarding (and fun)!