Ideally, the designer should be contacted before construction takes off, writes R. Vivekanandan

What's it that makes good interiors? Well... it's the harmonious whole that comes from putting together varied elements of design. But wait. First things first. Which is the right stage to think about interior design? Is it at the pre-construction, under-construction or post-construction phase?

Let's discuss the nitty-gritty of the three stages before embarking on the exciting area of design elements. Interior design at the pre-construction stage implies that the designer gets to visualise the space even before the work begins. This not only helps the designer accommodate the client's needs, it also helps in establishing the right harmony between architecture and interior.

Interior design in the context of under-construction means stifling the freedom of the designer. The structure is already up. The walls are raised and the window and door openings are finalised.

Then where's the question of the designer having a say on matters of volume and basic circulation? So much depends on the client's cooperation to execute civil modifications.

On to the trickiest stage. The architectural work is through. Finishing touches have also been given to plastering, flooring, window grills, electrical work and painting. Here, the designer has to understand the existing conditions and devise the interior accordingly. Creativity is undoubtedly a complex issue in this context. The impact lies in the designer's smart manipulation of existing features and the client's willingness to effect changes. Yes... though the latter two stages do not offer the designer much flexibility, they are bound to be a challenge and may even throw up some surprise elements that dictate a fresh direction to design.

Element savvy

An idea of these three phases is sure to make you element-savvy. Lighting, furniture and upholstery, display and colour... these are the some of the basic elements of any interior. It's when all these elements synchronise that good interiors take shape. Remember, interior too, like music, is about creative compositions. If varied elements are not chosen with care, it could result in a discordant note.

Lighting. Well, that's the most potent element in any interior. It can turn dull spaces lively and vice versa. So, understanding of lighting, both natural and artificial, is imperative.

Natural lighting seeping in through windows and other wall openings come at varied intensities during different times of the day. Artificial lighting, categorised as general, directional or focus, adds depth and glamour to the spaces. It's necessary to get a feel of the position and function of lighting, besides the electrical/ electronic gadgets, panel boards, switches and plug points.

Furniture has a bearing on the horizontal and vertical plane of space. The finer aspects of using fixed (wardrobe, counters etc), semi-fixed (cot, sofa, dining table) and floating (chairs, coffee table) types of furniture have to be considered.

Upholstery, curtains and blinds: Taste and textures plays a vital role in these features of design. Curtains and blinds are not just beauty quotients. They also decide matters of privacy and lighting.

On to displays. Paintings, sculpture and pottery speak volumes of the owner's tastes. Bad display could ruin even a fine collection.

A challenge

Coming to colour, it's an abstract and challenging element of design. Colour works not just on a physical level, its effect is on the psyche as well. It has the power to change the mood and give the space a certain personality! It can highlight or overshadow other elements, so it has to be used judiciously. Otherwise, it could bring about a jarring note in the interior.

Keywords: interior design

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