- In your quest to have an envy-worthy home, taking on a home improvement project requires an interior professional that understands style, trends, and color coordination. The question is, will your project require an interior decorator or an interior designer in order to produce the results you want? Contrary to popular belief, they are not interchangeable.
- An interior designer is essentially a project manager and is involved in the building process from start to finish and a design degree and training is required. Their job is to guide the client through the process and should result in the creation of functional quarters. Designers work with architects, have knowledge of local building codes, procure permits, hire and coordinate plumbers, electricians, painters, and associated contractors. A designer is less focused on colors and textures and more concerned with light, sound, and overall function.
An interior designer tends to have working relationships with established vendors, giving them the ability to purchase faux stone panels for instance, at a discount. An interior decorator would have to do a lot of footwork in order to locate faux stone panels at a discount rate, and that product may not be of the same quality as a designer, who may or may not pass the savings on to the consumer.
- An interior decorator's work does not involve function per se, but marrying colors, fabrics, textiles, and textures of the space and furniture together. Their job is to give the space a voice and your chosen candidate must have an eye for color and fabric compatibility as well as furniture and accessory arrangement, in addition to scale assessment skills.
An interior decorator usually has more of a one-on-one relationship with clients. Because their job is to inject the customer's personality into the room design, they do a great deal of the footwork and shopping for and with the client.
While one doesn't need a degree or design background in order to be an effective interior decorator, one should have the ability to gauge a client's personality, style, and lifestyle in order to create the desired living or work space by choosing the proper items and accessories for their customer.
- Obviously, enlisting the aid of an interior designer will cost more than that of an interior decorator because of education, connections, and expertise. Look to pay $100 to $500 per hour for an interior designer and $50 to $250 peer hour for an interior decorator.
Which One Do You Need?
- So, now that we know the factors that separate an interior designer vs. an interior decorator, the decision to hire an interior designer or interior decorator really is dependent on whether your project involves building or decorating. Because an interior designer's work is so involved, do your homework and chose someone with a design degree or formal training and is a member of an interior design organization such as the American Society of Interior Designers is also recommended. In both cases, get references, check their portfolio for aesthetic compatibility, and be sure that it is someone you can communicate your wants and needs to.