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Module 7: Materials and Finishes

Module 7

Materials and Finishes

As an interior designer, your first responsibility will be spatial planning, followed by developing an interior environment's material and color scheme. Having an in-depth knowledge of interior materials and finishes, their purpose and properties, is essential to this role. This knowledge will allow you to specify the most appropriate materials and finishes for a project with confidence.

As an example, a client might want polished concrete flooring in an open plan office space. Knowing that this surface would create uncomfortable noise levels, you are able to confidently advise carpet tiles instead for their excellent acoustic properties and ease of installation and maintenance.

The aesthetics and functionality of interior space are influenced by the materials applied throughout the design. Colors and their psychological effects manifest through the careful selection of materials and textures specified for a particular project. Indeed, the material selection process can make or break an Interior Design scheme. Designers also have tremendous impact on sustainability of an environment. As an interior designer you must also have the knowledge to present different ideas, especially on finishes including types of ceiling, floor or wood finishes.

The construction aspect of material selection must also be carefully considered when developing a design proposal. Each type of material has an intended purpose; an interior designer must have a firm grasp of what will and will not work for a particular application. In addition, the installation and construction process vary from one material to another. Each project varies depending on the vision of the designer and the environment surrounding the space. Each material is unique in its own properties and comes at a different price point. Replacing costly stone with an inexpensive stone-look laminate, for example, could be a way to keep a project on budget while maintaining the intended aesthetic.

An interior designer not only has to be having an artistic sensibility, but also must have the technical knowledge to execute a design successfully. Also, they require the ability to choose the right material and finish for correct application. Material presentation for clients helps create a visual presentation during the design development phase of a project. Material Boards assembled in a collage evoke the feel of an intended design. Another vital document is the material specification sheet that bridge the design process from the concept stage to the main construction phase ahead to a tangible reality.

The variety of options for interior finishes is a lot bigger than that of exterior finishes. This module includes in-depth information you will need on materials and finishes for floors, walls, and ceilings as the methods and standards for material specification and samples of material specifications.

Interior design influencer content

In our materials and finishes modules, US based interior designer, Nina Takesh provides expert insights on the following:

  • What are the general criteria for material selection?
  • What are the décor finishes that are in trend for walls, flooring, and ceiling currently?
  • What is the importance of the Material Sample board?

Module Outline

  1. Flooring Materials Finishes
    • Functions of a finished floor
    • Hard Flooring
    • Resilient Flooring
    • Soft Floor Covering
  2. Wall Construction and Finishes
    • Wall Construction
    • Wood Finishes
    • Plaster Finishes
    • Wall Tiles
    • Wall Covering
    • Paint
  3. Ceiling Materials and Finishes
    • Gypsum and Plaster
    • Wood
    • Metal
    • Acoustical Ceiling Tile
  4. Material Specifications
    • Methods and Standards
    • Schedule of Specifications
    • Sample Material Specifications