The study and application of design to the interior spaces of buildings used for human habitation. The general idea is to design spaces both useful and compelling, although this can be a difficult balance to strike. Those who design interiors are known as interior designers. These are distinct from interior decorators, in that they are usually design professionals with an understanding of architecture, as well as arrangers of furniture.

Most places are defined by their interiors. Take, for example, restaurants. The interior space of an eating establishment is half the experience of your dining adventure.

McDonald’s has 4 or 5 layouts that could practically be trademarked to them. Subway’s consistent use of their wall paper and lighting ensure that you will be familiar with nearly any Subway you walk into. Applebee’s also has one or two layouts that are practically trademarked.

They all have color schemes that add to their company identities. You walk into this space and you know you are in a fast food place; purely functional, or a restaurant; all about the dine in experience. You know when you’ve entered an In-N-Out burger, an Applebee's, a steakhouse, a 50’s diner, or any number of other places. The colors on the walls, any statues or other artwork present, and the choice of seating all have great impacts on the psyche of the customer.

One of the best things a restaurant can do to succeed is to design a comfortable, pleasing interior that is appropriate to its style of food. Not doing this could be the one thing that keeps a good restaurant from being a great restaurant.

Now think about this in regards to, say, your place of living. If you wanted to hold frequent small intimate parties, the best way to make the atmosphere feel more intimate is to have rooms that make the guests feel comfortable and secure. For smaller parties, design rooms with one, maybe two, focal parties. For a house where you plan to have frequent, bigger parties, design rooms with multiple smaller niches for small groups to gather in. Getting the feel in the room right is what interior design is for.

Interior design is all about matching the function of the space with the limitations of the environment to get the fullest effect possible.

Some things to think about the next time you go to a restaurant, or get fast food: What about the place makes it feel comfortable and safe? What about it doesnt? Why is the next restaurant over's interior better or worse? Is the place clean? Does the lighting make a difference? Does it have booths? If it doesn't, and if it got them, how would it transform the space? Should it have booths? If it's fast food, is there any seating that isn't directly in the line of sight of the staff? Does that bother you?

Start to think about interiors and ask yourself just how much of the restaurant's success (or lack thereof) is because of the interior, and why. Soon you'll be on your way to being an armchair interior designer, if you weren't one already!

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