Saturday, July 18, 2009

Defining an Interior Designer vs. an Interior Decorator

The titles of interior designer and interior decorator are often thought to be interchangeable or essentially the same thing. Unfortunately, this is a large misconception and although both professions focus on the enhancement of interior spaces - there are several important distinctions between the two. Understanding what each vocation encompasses will be helpful when considering who to hire for your next project.

Interior Decorator

Interior decorators work in both the residential and commercial fields, but the scope of their services are limited to surface changes that enhance the visual appeal and comfort of a space. Interior decorators tend to focus on elements such as color, fabric, artwork, accessories and do not delve into the more intense aspects such as architectural modifications or major flooring or finish changes. Education and credentials are also a significant contrast between the two titles. An interior decorator is not required to have any formal education, degree or examination in order to legally use the title. Because an interior decorator's skills are less defined, they tend to be more accessible and affordable.

Interior Designer

In order to use the title 'Interior Designer', there are very specific regulations that must be adhered to. Although it varies from state to state, many require a designer to be licensed and most demand that college coursework be completed. The reason the bar is set higher for the interior designer is directly related to the level of knowledge and skill that is needed within the practice. Interior designers are often involved in architectural aspects of the vision as well as more critical facets, such as safety codes, and structural integrity. Because interior designers take on more aggressive projects - their knowledge, expertise and skill level need to be solid and secure and backed up by a strong educational foundation. In addition to the technical considerations of the project, designers still uphold also have a strong sense of color, scale, style and balance - thus when it comes time for the surface enhancement of the project - an interior designer will address the challenge with strong creativity and flair.

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Area Interior Planning is owned and operated by Cari Carter, a professional interior designer that has practiced in Orange County for almost 15 years. Her educational background comes from a B.S. in Interior Design from Colorado State University, which is a FIDER Accredited design program.