Why an Interior Designer Should be Part of the Architect’s Planning Team

Interior designer Crystal Arreola explains the importance of understanding flow and functionality.

Idaho-based Studio Interiors LLC owner and principal designer Crystal Arreola applies her deep experience within the hospitality and entertainment industry across North America to collaborate with a client’s architect and contractor to get the space planning right. “We provide creative, cost effective, and timely solutions to maximize every square inch of the project,” says Arreola. “Architects and contractors are thinking about how much square footage is needed for a space but not necessarily, `How do we get someone to want to stay?’”

“If it’s an indoor environment, we look at everything from the first door you walk through and make sure that all of the space functions well, draws crowds, is easy to maintain and extends the brand,” explains Arreola. She also looks at the functionality of the employee-guest experience by looking to “reduce the steps it takes to get to the food service so your crew can deliver food in a timely manner.”

Collaborate for the best outcome

Arreolo brings her expertise and specialty to partner with a wide array of architects and contractors whose experience may or may not include the entertainment industry. “We don’t create in a vacuum. We love to collaborate to ensure the team can provide the best solutions to meet our clients’ needs.”

Interior designers focus on flow and functionality first, and then form, explains Arreola. “Our services extend to full interior finishing and furniture specifications and procurement,” she said.

Human-focused design

Arreola has noticed a trend towards more sophisticated design. In bars or areas for adults, it’s more of a boutique or nightclub setting, she says. When it comes to bowling alleys, or family entertainment centers as they are known within the industry, the focus is different. They are about so much more than bowling. Fun for kids, relaxing for mom. Dad is having fun in there somewhere, too.

Yet when Arreola is designing for family entertainment centers, there’s one, main demographic she sees specifically as her client.  “We are designing for mom,” she said. “We want to make sure she’s comfortable and that her kids can go and have fun but that she is enjoying the experience.”

The biggest challenge Arreola’s entertainment-focused firm faces is people’s perception of an interior designer as a “pillow fluffer,” she says. “The truth is, interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building,” she explains. “Interior designers are trained to create construction-ready documents that feed into the Architect’s Construction Set. We look at each project holistically, to give our clients a space that reflects their brand and provides an experience that sets them apart from their competition.”

Megan Padilla

Whether writing about design, gardens, travel or lifestyle, Megan is drawn to share the stories of people's passions. Her stories have appeared in magazines, newspapers and online since 2000.

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Millie Hue - March 26, 2019

I like that you pointed out that a designer will be able to help to ensure that the furniture will be evaluated well to have great finishing touches. I guess I will hire one when we get our future house constructed since it will be easier for us to get the interior decorated if the house is customized that way. Their help will also be needed because I am not really that creative even when putting together outfits which my boyfriend usually corrects.

Sam Li - March 28, 2019

I love what you said about collaborating for the best outcome. I believe that hiring an interior designer is a great idea. I’ll make sure to find the best designer if I were to renovate my home.

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