Architecture & space

What Is Interior Design? (All You Need To Know)

Learn the differences between interior design, decoration and architecture and know what it means to design a space

Business-minded, passionate, and creative, Patricia Bustos (@patriciabustos_studio) draws on her artistic, analytical and business-oriented traits when carrying out fashion, art or decoration projects. While she also works as a professional painter and furniture designer, she first and foremost considers herself an interior designer.

Patricia was awarded the “Best Project” Casa Decor prize in 2018. Her very personal way of reading and understanding spaces means she can transform each one into something truly unique.

We caught up with Patricia to learn more about interior design, including the differences between disciplines such as decoration and architecture.

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dressing room designed by Patricia Bustos Studio

What is interior design?

For me, designing a space means shaping the experience that a person will have inside it. An experience that will also affect their life and, of course, their mood. Interior design is a project that defines how a space will function, how it will look, and how it will appeal to the senses. It should fit the needs, cultures and lifestyle of those that inhabit it.

The way we inhabit a space has a huge effect on our creativity, happiness, and of course, our wellbeing, so it’s important to call in professional help so that the design is thought-out and tends to all the details–the acoustics, the surroundings, the positioning, and use of color all have to be taken into account for the space to work and feel complete.

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Patricia Bustos Studio for Casa Decor 2018. Photography: Nacho Uribe Salazar

How are interior design, decoration, and architecture different?

Interior design is a skilled discipline. The designer will need to have completed professional training, and learned to develop a project from a global and more conceptual point of view. They will need to know how to work out the details and different elements such as vertical and horizontal surfaces, systems, and lighting.

Architecture includes interior design but it is focused more on the aesthetics of the exterior of the building, taking care of the structure. It’s considered an art because it paints the city landscape. Nature is beauty par excellence, but there is no untouched nature to be found in cities. It has become less of a focal point. That’s why the way we design and build cities is what determines the beauty of an urban landscape. Decoration refers to furniture and adornment.

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Patricia Bustos Studio for Casa Decor 2018. Photography: Nacho Uribe Salazar
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'La Muralla Roja' by Ricardo Bofill, an example of architecture

Where can we see the main function of interior design being applied?

It’s important to design each inhabitable space and all its details with a purpose in mind (eating, exercising, relaxing). A space for eating in is different to one for relaxing in or one for socializing in. To do so, we work taking into account these four key elements:

Acoustics: The acoustics should fit with the lifestyle and the type of activities being carried out in the space. A library is not the same as a hotel.

Lighting: This sets the mood of the space and helps it to achieve its purpose.

Color: This has an influence on the person entering the space and their emotions. Blue, green and purple are relaxing colors and invite reflection. Yellow, red and fuchsia are energetic and optimistic. Beige and white are linked to concentration, purity, and simplicity. Pink transmits innocence, trust, and optimism.

Surroundings and positioning: What is your vision for each zone?

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Home designed by ARRCC y OKHA Interiors

What forms can interior design adopt?

The energy and attitude of a space denote the different styles of interior design. From more sober and calm styles–such as nordic, classic, mid-century, modern or minimalist–to more complex and stylized styles such as art deco, eclectic, kitsch, and vintage.

In a world in which advancements in technology have resulted in machines doing human work, it’s important to awaken people’s creativity. It’s what makes humans different and makes us better. That’s why I always strive to create interiors that make an impact, that don’t leave anyone feeling indifferent, spaces in which creativity flows.

In this sense, it’s important to promote beauty and eradicate disorder. Spaces that are harmonious, balanced, and in which there is order without being sterile create a positive mood and spur creativity. Choosing pieces of art that evoke emotion is also important to me.

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style wheel by Patricia Bustos

What tools does one need for an interior design project?

First, you need a brief from the client, in which they detail their tastes and needs. Next, you need to carry out some research and find information and reference images that help you define the style, shapes, and color palette. Once you’ve done that, you will need to communicate your proposal visually so that the client can understand your vision. Alongside this, you will include samples of materials and fabrics.

You need to think about the floor layout and the vertical distribution. We don’t live in a 2D world. A rough floor layout will help to envision the arrangement of different elements and afterwards you need to design the upwards space so that everything is harmonious. Volume needs to be compensated and you shouldn’t oversaturate a space. The elements need to breathe and the energy needs to flow and the different pieces need to stand out. Programs such as 3D Max help us to see how the space works in this sense.

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freehand perspective drawing of 'Wonder Galaxy’ by Patricia Bustos Studio
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photo of ‘Wonder Galaxy’ following completion

What was the first example of interior design you discovered?

As a complete project, I’d say the Palace of Versailles.

What’s your favorite example of interior design?

I don’t know whether it’s my favorite but I love how César Manrique works with space. The way he brings nature and furniture together inside the space, elevating its beauty without changing its essence. Other designers that I admire and who are references are Kelly Wearstler, India Mahdavi, Chahan Minassian, Dimore Studio, Apparatus or Masquespacio, all of whom are contemporaries.

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space designed by César Manrique
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space designed by Masquespacio

Who can be an interior designer?

It’s something innate. There’s an understanding of proportions and aesthetics that’s more developed in some people than others. It’s important to train and have a curious attitude so that you always keep learning. Experience, without doubt, is what really propels you.

Where is interior design headed?

I think spaces need to be more sustainable and focus on human wellbeing. We’re seeing a wellness trend across modern culture and this is going to be important when it comes to designing. I also think that interiors are becoming more stripped-back and minimalist. People these days are less interested in having lots of material possessions, which means we have fewer items but ones that have been more carefully chosen.

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home designed by Rachele Biancalani Architecture & Design
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coffee shop designed by Futura

If you want to know more about interior design check Patricia's course, Interior Design with Curved Lines and learn to create an interior design style featuring curves, to bring spaces to life in an exciting way.

You may also like:

- What Exactly Is Hygge in Nordic Design?
- What Is Japandi Style in Interior Design?
- Interior Design Tutorial: How to Choose Your Light Source
- Representation of Architectural Spaces with 3D Studio Max, a course by Phrame
- Interior Design for Restaurants, a course by Masquespacio


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