While dining with friends last weekend at one of our favorite Aventura restaurants, Kampai, the question was posed: Hey guys, just what the heck is the difference between an interior designer and a decorator anyway? Well having been in the interior design field for 25 years we have learned that the distinct differences are not clearly understood by many consumers. We have also discovered that a lot of people think they are actually one and the same, which is not exactly the case. So here is a quick guide to decipher whether you are in need of an interior designer or a decorator.
If you are only looking to furnish your home with decorative items such as furniture, artwork, wallcovering or just a new color of paint to freshen your place up a bit then all you may need is a decorator. Interior designers can also do these things for you, but they can also redesign your spaces (move walls, lighting, plumbing etc) and prepare construction drawings for building and obtaining a permit. Designers work in conjunction with architects and engineers due to the technical aspects set by building codes and other regulations that are required by the law. Interior decorators are not state licensed professionals, however interior designers are required to pass a national exam called a NCIDQ for their professional state issued license. They are also required to take continuing education courses every two years to continue holding the license.
Let’s say you love your new home but hate the way your master bath plumbing fixtures are laid out and it’s just not working for you. This can easily be changed by hiring an interior designer to reconfigure your bathroom so that it better suits your needs. These types of changes require drawings for permit and if you live in a condominium you will most likely need drawings for approval from your buildings board.
Now if you are building a new home or making structural modifications you probably need the services of an architect. However to get the best results you really should hire an interior designer at the onset of the project. The team of these two professionals combined will get you the best overall results as interior designers delve more deeply into the fine interior details which are essential in the creation of an outstanding interior design package. After all isn’t that what you want for your money?
By: Jeri Rosenthal & Paul Terry Edwards