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“How do you explain Interior Design to a 6 year old boy?”

That is the question.

I’ve posted the same question and a link to this (evolving) article on LinkedIn. You can take the question literally, if you wish. As a reward I will link back to you from this page for any noteworthy (good or bad!) answers that I might paraphrase for the sake of brevity. The more ‘sensibly’ creative your answer the more likely I will include you and your answer. Go create.

Designcouncil.org.uk describes interior design as “Interior design isn’t just about home decoration. It is concerned with creating functional and beautiful to look at interior spaces in all sorts of places including houses, public buildings and commercial properties such as shops, restaurants, leisure venues and offices. Interior design can also be applied to temporary environments, whether that’s pop-up shops that are in existence for just a few months at a time, or show homes and exhibition stands that may simply last days. Anything that has an interior can be designed, redesigned or refurbished.”

Whereas Wikipedia suggests: “… a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an ‘effective setting for the range of human activities’ that are to take place there”

Rebecca at RHA Interiors: “[if all else]…fails I always go for the football analogy,  ‘why choose red over blue?’”

Terry Maurer makes interesting comments noting that kids are increasingly influencers in the interior design purchasing and commissioning process in families.

Mark Randall at 1901 Design would ask the boy to learn what interior design means by “doing”  And the boy would be asked to create his perfect den. Sharon Kaper suggests a similar “show-and-tell” approach.

Mike Major suggests it should be no different to explaining it to a potential client.

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35 thoughts on “How do you explain INTERIOR DESIGN to a 6 year old boy?

  1. I met a designer, Anthony Torres, some years ago through ASID leadership activities. Tony worked on designing spaces for children, everything from children’s bedrooms in their homes to pediatric areas in hospitals. Sadly he has passed away, but left a very positive impression in my mind about design for children.

    The best way to explain interior design to children is to get down on their level, literally. Sit on the floor with them and see their world from their level. Tony used to take brown paper bags, rip them apart and flatten them out. He’d work with crayons and markers to walk through the process with the child, finding out their wants and needs as well as their ideas and suggestions.

    To explain the process, getting down to their level and talking to them in language they understand will achieve the best results. Industry jargon would only confuse them, as it often does when we use it with adults. Talk about things they understand at age 6. Young children are a lot brighter and perceptive than we give them credit for, so long as we communicate at their level of understanding. While ‘function’ or ‘space planning’ may be a bit beyond their grasp, certainly ‘how will a space be used’ or ‘what will you need to store in a space’ are not beyond their realm of understanding. They understand safety, comfort and color.

    As our younger generations have a much more important role in how a family spends its money than ever before, it is imperative that we learn to successfully communicate with them about design. They already have strong influence in planning family vacations and what computers and electronics they buy. It is not a stretch to find them involved in residential, or even commercial, design projects in the near future.

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  2. Such a good question; having 3 children, 2 of those being boys 8 and 10, myself. I have had this conversation many times, ‘Mummy what is it that you do.’ When I ask what they think I do their response have been ‘you sell furniture’ or ‘you look at fabric all day.’ I tell my children I help people make their homes work for them, their family and lifestyle. Everyone’s needs, routines and styles are different and that is reflected in the designs I put together.
    If that ever fails I always go for the football analogy, ‘why choose red over blue?’

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  3. I have a six year old boy who is very curious about what I do and what I am in school for (I am currently back at school for Interior Design at Parsons while I maintain my business http://www.petriepointdesigns.com). When I showed him “sketch up” and how to build walls, put in materials and move furniture, he not only got it but REALLY got into the idea of designing himself. Technology is something the younger generation really relates to and in this case helps them learn and develop their brains.

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  27. How to explain to a six year old…some children might appreciate a visual along with the explanation. I would say it is the idea of making a space that you live in comfortable, and pretty and usable. It is like taking a box and painting the walls sage green because it is a relaxing color. It reflects the color of nature that we can see through the windows. We select the floor so that is is comfortable to walk on and easy to keep clean. so we might put a rug in the bottom of the box. Then we add something to sit on like a sofa in a cream color because it looks nice with the color of the walls. And so that we have a place to sit in the room that is comfortable. In essence I would test the attention spand of the child and how much interest he really has. In the end say this is what I do for other people because I am good at it and people have different things they are good at not everyone can do what I do.

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  29. I think that children are a lot more savvy than they are sometimes given credit for. Explaining that Interior Design is a process that can make a space work well (as in legos working well with each other/ or any building toy) and make a person happy because the space is beautiful to look at might work. I think the idea of drawing out the plans with children is great, but I also think that bringing children into an adult concept works as well if the topic can be explained clearly. My 3-year-old grandson grasped the idea of positioning lighting in a room: “It helps you see better!”

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