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Interior Decorator VS. Interior Designer: What's the Difference? - Oh My Goods!

 

I had the privilege to attend an Interior Design Program for one year at SCC.  During that period of time I learned a lot about the profession of Interior Design and that there is indeed a difference between a “decorator” and a “designer,” with regards to interiors.

The main difference is that an Interior Designer is a licensed professional, only a licensed professional in this field is allowed, by the State of Florida, to use the name “Designer.”  This shows that this person is a professional with a specified body of knowledge and experience necessary to work on interior design projects (6 years of schooling and experience, complete with a state exam).  They have the knowledge of State requirements for interior specifications and building codes for commercial and residential buildings, they can understand and work with architects and architectural drawings, they know what they can and cannot do concerning the structure of a buildings’ interior, they have a vast knowledge of textile properties (down to the chemical make up, including which ones are naturally better for various uses and purposes), and they also know a great deal about design elements and principles (proportion, balance, color, etc.).

 

Now, I must say I think both designers and decorators have there place and are important. A “decorator” is not licensed, and therefore can only (in the State of FL) work on residential properties.  Decorators can come in all shapes and sizes, meaning, there might be a decorator who went to school for four years for Interior Design and so they have that knowledge, but they didn’t get the applicable experience and didn’t take the state exam.  There could also be a decorator who simply has a flare for coordinating fabrics and arranging furniture, but they might not know the first thing about which fabrics are durable enough to withstand high traffic areas or about essential kitchen and bath standards, that you should probably be advised of when renovating those areas.  The point is, you will need to talk with an interior decorator and get a feel for his or her body of knowledge.  If you are thinking about using an Interior Designer or Interior Decorator, consider your needs and your budget. Also know that many Designers and Decorators offer consultations (most are not free), so if you think you only need ideas, that is a great route, but you could also find out you might be way over your head and that you might need their services.  I also want to stick up for interior design students everywhere by saying: if you know someone going to school for interior design and you ask them to redo something in your house or to give you concrete ideas and draw out plans….don’t expect them to do it for free, consider compensating them for their time, effort and their skill.  Because while they are still in school, they can be making money as “Decorators,” so don’t just say “this will help build your portfolio.”  Last note, Interior Design is just like any other profession, you are paying people for their ideas, their skill and their knowledge and “know how,” so don’t just think of them as “people who can coordinate fabrics.”

General Reasons to Use an Interior Designer:

If your building a new house, they can plan out and draw the whole space plan for the inside of your house (which rooms go where, lighting, electrical, etc.), considering your needs and requirements.  They can be onsite with your contractor and electrician to make sure things are going according to plan.

If your renovating a house, they know what the current standards are for houses

If you own a commercial building

If you desire to redo any or all of the rooms in your house (fabrics and finishes, furniture, etc)

If you want a new arrangement in your house

If you just want ideas for your house specifically (Consultation)

General Reasons to Use an Interior Decorator:

If you desire to redo any or all of the rooms in your house (fabrics and finishes, furniture, etc)

If you want a new arrangement in your house

If you just want ideas for your house specifically (Consultation)

Images: OhMyGoods, Luxury Interior Design and Decorating

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