Interior Designer vs Decorator.
I have been an Interior Designer now for 20 years. Yep a looooong time!
I was born and raised in the United Kingdom and it was there I chose to follow my career path of Interior Design. A 4yr Bachelor Of Arts Degree at Middlesex University, of which the third year was fully focused on work experience and being out in the field.
I was fortunate enough to get an internship with an amazing Architectural Firm in Cyprus. For those who are not quite sure where Cyprus is, its a small Greek Island in the Eastern Mediterranean. Beautiful place, great food, wine and long siestas, but I digress.
It has amazed me that throughout my career and many travels, the one thing that I have found to be a constant burden within my profession is the public's perception and understanding of what exactly it is that I do as an Interior Designer.
"Are you a decorator?"
"Oh your an Interior Decorator."
"Oh you do that HGTV Stuff."
Well to be honest the answer is yes! And yes! And well yes. But I also do so much more.
Let me explain.
Many people do tend to use the term Interior Design and Interior Decorating interchangeably, but these two professions differ in very substantial ways.
Interior Design is a multifaceted profession. It's the ability to understand ones behavior, culturally, physically, emotionally in order to help create attractive and functional spaces for people to interact in.
Hmmm I hear you say.
As Interior Designers we have the responsibility to not only design spaces of beauty and elegance, but they have to be functional and safe and inspirational, therefore, we as designers have to really understand our clients needs and requirements, abilities and disabilities in order to ensure that their spaces, their environments, their offices, their homes reflect who they are and how they live.
And how do we do that?
Through endless research, through knowledge we attained at our Colleges and Universities and through examinations and re-examinations that provide us with the tools that we need to fulfill this profession.
We have experience in drafting and drawing and offer space-planning and kitchen and bathroom design. We can custom design cabinets and furniture, offer lighting and electrical plans. We design for the commercial realm as well as the hospitality sector. We attain project management skills and work along side Architects and General Contractors and also are part of organizations like ASID and IDEC.
The title Interior Designer is not just given to you, it is earned. So you see, its not just about decorative elements and the aesthetics and the beautifying, its so much more.
Now don't misunderstand me, an Interior Designer decorates as part of the design process. We choose our finishes, materials, colors, furnishings, including everything and anything that will make the space complete. For these elements are just as important as the walls and concrete that the building is built on. The decorative part is what brings the final concept together. Its what the customer first sees, feels, touches and even smells when they first walk in a room and plays a vital part of the design process and is, by no means less important. However, this is where the difference lies between the two titles..
An Interior Designer can design and decorate but decorators cannot design. Its a totally different field and one that although is confused by many as being the same, it is not.
A Decorator is primarily focused on the furniture, colors, textures of a space and capturing a mood or style that their client desires. No training is necessarily needed for this, just a flare and passion for putting elements together and creating an aesthetic appeal. Its a profession that definitely needs to own it OWN title, "Decorator," just as we OWN ours.
Its important to us all that these differences are made clear and in doing so, potential clients completely understand and feel comfortable with the services requested and also future Designers and aspiring Decorators understand what their field demands of them.
After all a profession must be clear about its own identity for it to move forward and prosper.
I OWN IT!