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How to Develop Your Eye for Interior Design

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Apr 2, 2020 • 3 min read

Interior designers work on architecture and interior space planning, creating cohesive and aesthetically pleasing designs for living spaces and businesses for a variety of clients. They follow design trends and home looks, working on everything from living rooms and dining rooms to color palettes and focal points to home decor and home accessories like chandeliers, coffee tables, and area rugs.

In the design field, one of the most common interior design tips is developing what interior designers call the “design eye”—a vital part of design work.

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Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior DesignKelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design

Award-winning designer Kelly Wearstler teaches you interior design techniques to make any space more beautiful, creative, and inspiring.

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What Is a Design Eye?

A design eye is the way interior designers and interior decorators pay attention to and interpret different designs—for instance, seeing a particular upholstery pattern and recognizing how it affects mood through color, subject, or style. Your design eye will help you decode everything from room looks to floor plans to pieces for visual interest, so developing your design eye is a crucial part of becoming a successful interior designer and making your design projects and design services shine.

How to Develop Your Eye for Interior Design

You don’t need to enroll in an interior design program to develop your design eye—there are plenty of “DIY” methods that you can start using right now to help you sort through the endless number of color schemes and dining tables that come your way.

  • Pay attention. According to world-renowned interior designer Kelly Wearstler, the most important thing for developing a good eye and a keen design sensibility is being intimately aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to things like graphic design, typography, visual hierarchy, clothing, architecture, interior spaces, art and design, spatial awareness, white space, and landscape design. Everything has meaning and emotion. Bookstores, museums, art and furniture galleries, vintage and flea markets, and clothing shops are great places to start developing strong ideas about what kinds of design you’re naturally drawn to.
  • Seek out design. While design work (both good design and bad design) is all around you, good designers also go looking for it. Go to a local library or bookstore, find the design books, and pick a random one off the shelf. Find five artists or designers you have never heard of, and observe their work closely. Ask yourself: why do you like it, or why don’t you? Consider synthesizing your thoughts—write down one sentence about how you feel about their work. As a bonus, it might be helpful to record your first impressions now, and then come back after some time has passed and see how you feel about those same interior design ideas later.
  • Be flexible. Keep in mind that your creative voice and design skills will continually evolve. Your experiences will shape it; the experiences of your clients will shape it. It’s important to develop your eye knowing that it will change, so that you keep an open mind to different types of design that you may not necessarily be attracted to right now. The piece of furniture or paint colors that you dislike today might be the center of your favorite home design in a few years.
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5 Other Interior Design Skills

If you’re interested in a full-time design career in either interior designing or interior decorating, here are a few additional skills you can hone to get prepared for the career path:

  1. Problem-solving skills: To come up with creative solutions to interesting design challenges.
  2. Communication skills, interpersonal skills: To listen to the client’s needs and be a liaison between them and your design firm, as well as bring on new clients or assure potential clients.
  3. Computer-aided design (CAD) skills: To use computer software to finalize blueprints.
  4. Time management skills: To manage deadlines of a project and keep everything on track.
  5. Project management skills: To make sure all different elements of a design project come together efficiently and effectively.

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Learn interior design from award-winning designer Kelly Wearstler. Make any space feel larger, cultivate your own distinct style, and create spaces that tell a story with the MasterClass All-Access Pass.

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