In short, the answer to this is Yes!
If you’re looking to hire a professional to help with renovating and/or styling your home, it’s important to know what each design profession entails. Many people don’t realise there is a distinction between what stylists, decorators and designers are trained in.
Of course, you can be forgiven for thinking that the terms ‘interior designer’ and ‘interior decorator’ are interchangeable names for the same profession, especially as some decorators falsely advertise themselves as designers, but the services each of them offer can be very different.
So which one is best suited for the services you are requiring?
Interior designers are tertiary qualified
An interior designer holds a tertiary qualification in either a degree or an advanced diploma in Interior Design. Interior designers study in great detail the theory and practise of design, in order to develop the skills and knowledge required for creative and technical solutions for built interior environments.
Ultimately, their role is to create an interior space that is functional, safe and practical as well as ensuring it flows well, is comfortable and of course, visually pleasing.
Once qualified, interior designers can assist with space planning and detailing of complex residential, commercial and institutional buildings.
Interior design skills
Interior designers also have sound knowledge of:
- Lighting Design
- Materials, finishes and colour
- Design theory and history
- Building systems and technologies
- Sustainable design/building practices
- Design for accessibility and utility
- Project management
- Relevant Australian Codes and Standards
- Construction and documentation practices
- Plumbing, electrics and data outlet placement
Interior designers create computer aided drawings
Interior designers are also taught to hand draw and use computer aided design for plans and perspective renders. Builders and subcontractors then interpret these plans to help with installation and construction.
Interior designers are usually involved in all aspects of the planning and finishing of an internal space. They can work confidently with other trades people to ensure that the interior spaces they design are appropriate and properly implemented.
Interior designer versus interior architect
If you still tend to get confused just think of interior designer like an architect but dealing with every aspect of inside a building opposed to the outside.
To throw another spanner in the works some interior designers can call themselves interior architects, which again is different.
Interior architects are normally either trained architects who choose to specialize exclusively on interior projects or are graduates of an ‘interior architecture’ degree.
They specialise in understanding the architectural side of the space, so generally handle the design of only structural and technical aspects of a building. In other words, an interior architect concentrates more on what a space can do, rather than just how it looks.
What is an Interior Decorator?
Interior decorators hold a qualification in interior decoration (normally a diploma or certificate) and are exclusively concerned with decorating what’s already been built by using things like paint, furnishings, floor coverings and fabrics for aesthetic purposes. The main objective of an interior decorator is how a space looks as apposed to how it functions.
Interior decorators don’t move walls
Interior decorators may study and work on many of the same things as interior designers, but their services don’t involve major space planning like moving walls and installing services. It’s not necessary for them to have any knowledge of the architectural space and, as mentioned, only need to be creative regarding the surface level finishes and aesthetics.
An interior stylist is like a decorator but usually does not hold any formal qualification or have sound education in this field. They’re usually hired to style properties or magazine shoots.
3 Tips on how to hire a professional
Before you hire a professional, it’s well worth doing your homework to find a good designer or decorator. Remember to:
- Check credentials, qualifications, insurance and references– ensure you’re employing someone with the right qualifications, and with current professional indemnity insurance.
- Get at least three comprehensive quotes– itemised quotes will help you to ensure you understand what you’re paying for.
- Look at the designer’s work and make sure the designer you pick shares your personal vision and can communicate it well. Most designers have specialty, so check what they specialise in before hiring them.
So in summary, Interior Design is to understand people’s behaviours and needs to create functional interior spaces. Interior Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of an interior space to make it look visually pleasing. Interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.
At Inspired Spaces we can assist you with all your interior designing and interior decorating needs.