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When did the profession of interior designer begin?

As a practising professional interior designer myself, this was the question I would sometime ask myself but didn't have a chance to find out. After letting it linger on my mind for a while, I finally decided to spend some time to search for an answer just to satisfy my curiosity. I am sharing it with you here in case you are pondering on the same question. Here it goes:

The profession of interior design has evolved over centuries, but its modern form began to take shape in the 18th and 19th centuries. The concept of designing interior spaces for aesthetic and functional purposes has roots in various ancient civilizations, where wealthy individuals often employed artisans and decorators to enhance the beauty and functionality of their living spaces.

However, the formalization of interior design as a profession is often attributed to the 19th century. During the Victorian era, interior decoration gained prominence as an art form, particularly in Europe and the United States. The Industrial Revolution brought about technological advancements that enabled the production of a wider range of furnishings and decorative elements, leading to greater specialization in interior design.

One notable figure in the early development of interior design as a profession was Elsie de Wolfe (1859–1950), an American interior decorator often referred to as the "first lady of interior decoration." She is credited with popularizing a more functional and aesthetically pleasing approach to interior design, breaking away from the heavy and ornate styles of the past.

The formal education and professionalization of interior design came about in the early 20th century. The establishment of schools and institutions dedicated to interior design education, such as the New York School of Interior Design (founded in 1916) and later the Ryerson University - School of Interior Design (founded in 1948) in Toronto, helped set the foundation for the profession's growth and recognition.

Over time, interior design has continued to evolve, incorporating various design principles, styles, and technological advancements. Today, interior designers play a crucial role in creating functional, aesthetically pleasing, and safe spaces for a wide range of environments, including residential, commercial, and public spaces.


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