The Real Role of the Interior Designer

A Conversation with Brian Gluckstein

Learn what an interior designer brings to the table with Brian Gluckstein.

Read What Brian Gluckstein Has to Say:

Acclaimed interior and product designer--and author of The Art of the Home—Brian Gluckstein, of Toronto-based Gluckstein Design, explains the requirements, skills and organic insights that define the role of an interior designer.

Planning Alongside Architects

“An interior designer is quite different from a decorator,” explains Gluckstein. “An interior designer has a very expansive role. So, for us in the design firm, we are involved in the planning of the interior with the architect. And by that, I mean, we're laying out the spaces, designing kitchens, designing bathrooms, designing doors, and doorways, and the trim and all those elements.”

“Of course, we design furniture,” he adds, “We source furniture, and fabrics, and carpets, and art, and bring clients’ collections together. That is all part of the environment. But the architecture and the architectural embellishment or simplicity of the architecture is the foundation that we need to have to create a successful environment for that furniture, and for that art. And one of the most important things in designing spaces as an interior designer is the sight lines. So if the environment allows it, I like to see the layering of the spaces.”

Training & Knowledge: Keys to Success

What does an interior designer bring to the table? Gluckstein explains, “There's a training that we have, there is knowledge that we bring to the table, whether it is the history of design, the history of furniture, the history of art, the history of architecture, because when we bring that to a project, we are bringing to our clients something that they don't have the ability to do on their own.” While buying on behalf of clients is a part of the job, a skilled interior designer goes way above and beyond that. “We go to showrooms and buy things, but it's that layering of the architectural detail.”

Recounting his decades of experience, Gluckstein discusses what he did early on in his career: “One of the things I did when I started out was go to construction sites; I would ask every trade how they did it, what they did, how they structured things, how the plumbing worked, how the lighting worked, how the wiring worked, because now I am an active participant in the process with the architect and all those consultants. I know when we're moving walls, what we can and cannot do because I come at it with an educated perspective. So we bring that value to the project and that's what creates our successful, and I think, beautiful environments.”

Get more design tips and insights from Brian Gluckstein in Bedroom Style Ideas.

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