Why Hire a Designer and what is the Difference between and Interior Designer and a Decorator?

Interior designers specialize in creating a home environment that supports the health, safety and welfare of the client.  Interior Design involves many practical and procedural considerations that affect comfort, function and safety.

A good interior designer conveys an objective, creative and critical eye as well as an artistic flair to your home.  Equally important, a professional interior designer does a lot more than recommend furniture, fabrics and colors.  When you hire an interior designer, you get the benefit of an experienced professional who solves problems regarding, among other things, space, light, contractor issues, and different opinions regarding design selections and use of resources.  A professional interior designer will advise you on your design budget and help you avoid costly mistakes as well as create an attractive, affordable space designed specifically to meet your lifestyle needs.  Your investment in your interior space is too valuable not to turn out exactly as you have dreamed.

In order to make sure you choose the appropriate individual to design your space it is necessary to learn the difference between and interior designer and a decorator.  How does one distinguish the difference between an interior designer and a decorator?  In a nutshell:  education and experience.  Anyone with the ability to coordinate colors or place furniture in a room can call herself/himself a decorator; most work individually and without a contract.  Furniture mark-ups and hourly fees vary widely among decorators.

On the other hand, an interior designer has the necessary education, degree and experience, they are often ASID accredited and are recognized by the state as interior designers.  ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) member designers must meet the profession’s education and experience requirements, as well as hold to a strict code of ethics and professional conduct.  The ASID appellation following a designer’s name indicates that he or she is an accredited designer who has passed necessary requirements.  Interior designers can complete residential and/or commercial projects from start to finish, read architectural plans and prepare construction documents such as CAD and to-scale drawings for subcontractors.  Generally a contract or letter of agreement is standard and spells out the projected fees and the specific services they will provide for your project.

When you are ready to select an interior designer, the number of individuals and firms to choose from can be an overwhelming task.  In general, you should seek the following characteristics:

  • Accredited as an interior designer (Required education and experience)
  • Experience in either the type of project you are doing or something similar (Residential, Commercial, Remodeling, Full Service, Home Staging, Building Specification, etc…)
  • Verified creativity, originality and talent (Look over the designers portfolio.)
  • Attentive, responsive and communicates well (Make sure you enjoy the designers personality, you will be working with them a lot!)
  • Trustworthy, reliable and superior work ethic (Do not be afraid to ask for references.)


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