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Interior Design: From the 18th Century to the Present Day

It was in the 18th century and the early 19th century that the home makers grew more concerned about the interior and exterior of their homes. Those who were particularly well off could hire upholsterers to beautify their furniture or craftsmen to create beautiful works of art. Carpenters started to add touches of design to their products too. Those who were not well off were their own interior designers. They designed their own homes, chose were to place the furniture, curtains and rugs, sew their own fabrics and tried to make their home the best possible place to live in. During this time, the architects too saw the importance of interior design. Hence, they would hire craftsmen and artisans for the interior designs of their building. This gave rise to interior design as a profession.


Towards the end of the 19th Century, interior design finally emerged as a profession in the West. The artisans and craftsmen were not the first interior designers however. In fact, professional interior design emerged because of the women who wanted to professionalize home making. It could have started with someone who did a very good job with the interior design of her home. Guests saw how well she did and asked her to redesign their homes for a particular fee.

Professionalization of interior design was further promoted due to the publication of quite a number of books on that subject. One example is the detailed Suggestions for House Decoration in Painting, Woodwork and Furniture (1876) by Anges and Rhoda Garrett. The professionalization of interior design took a long time to develop as it was not really clearly defined then. In fact terms such as interior designer and interior decorator were used interchangeably. Interior design was solidified as a profession in the 1970s and has continued to make waves from then on.

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