Edmiston Jones

Designer or Decorator – There’s a Difference

Margie

By Margie

23rd november 2015

The terms “Interior Designer” and “Interior Decorator” may seem interchangeable, however there are some key differences in the roles. The observations below may help you to decide which service is right for your project.

Interior Decorators, as the word implies, adorn or embellish the hard and soft surfaces and furniture, to modify the look and feel of an interior space. A good Decorator should have a keen eye for colour and pattern. They usually have an extensive network of suppliers to be able to select the right finish for a project.

Many Decorators are in the residential sector, working directly with clients, often as part of a larger team including the architect, builder, cabinet-maker and other tradespeople. Decorators may also work in a retail environment, assisting the customer to style a complete look from the ranges they supply. In many cases, they co-ordinate the purchase of fabric and loose furniture on behalf of their clients, taking a commission on the sale (make sure any side deals are transparent and considered in the fee!).

Interior Designers, also called Interior Architects, add to the fundamental skills of a decorator having trained to manipulate and transform physical space, both structurally and aesthetically, in response to a clients’ brief.

The Interior Designer:

  • Understands intimately the human occupation of space
  • Is sensitive to cultural and commercial imperatives of a project
  • Produces a spatial solution that works with the bones of the building
  • Gives close consideration to the technical services including the
    air conditioning lighting, power, data, water and waste

Designers’ knowledge of codes and standards is overlaid, to ensure that the performance of the space meets safety requirements. Interior Designers often work on a project team, co-ordinating other consultants like structural, hydraulic and electrical engineers, to ensure the efficiency, purpose, comfort and safety of the space is achieved in line with the clients’ brief.

interior diagram 01[2]

Designers consider how people and spaces interact

interior diagram 02[3]

Designers assess how space is used and how the spaces interrelate

interior diagram 04[1]

Adaptive reuse of existing spaces requires lateral thinking

interior diagram 03[1]

The design process ensures that spaces are efficient, functional and inspiring.

Designers can also co-ordinate building works on behalf of their clients, administering contracts and supervising tradespeople on smaller projects, or liaising with a head contractor on larger ones.

Choosing between an Interior Designer and Interior Architect is a matter of ‘horses for courses’ – however it shouldn’t be a gamble!

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