To start this journey, first, an attempt must be made to answer the question, ‘What is Interior Design’; The National Council for Interior Design Qualification presents the following definition: ‘is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied inside a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are esthetically attractive’. Comparing this to the definitions gave by The Free Dictionary to an interior decorator: ‘also called interior designer a man whose calling is the planning of the decoration and furnishings of the interior of houses, shops, and so forth.’ and ‘a man whose profession is the painting and wallpapering of houses’
Well it is understandable, based on the two definitions given above, why there are two camps. One camp holds that the interior designer is held to a higher standard and has significantly more training and design responsibilities than the interior decorator, and then there are those that pack them all together as one and the same. There are those that look at the designer as a rendition of an architect and those that look at them as being a house painter. No big surprise there is perplexity amongst the ranks.
While trying to answer the question, ‘Is there a difference or not?’, a Google search was performed for ‘Interior Decorator Degree’ and the reaction overwhelmingly returned outcomes for ‘Interior Designer’; and not the keyword as searched. One can reasonably presume that since one can get a degree in interior design, yet not as an interior decorator, that there is a difference.
So where might one draw the line between a designer and a decorator? Returning to the two definitions above one can observe the key difference. The definition for the designer alludes to ”built interior environment’ whereas the decorator recommends ‘decorating and furnishing’ as the key activities. The higher standard is the designer’s ability and responsibilities to call for tearing out walls, flooring, windows, lighting, electrical, as well as suggesting furniture and miscellaneous design pieces. So their role includes the duties of a decorator, yet goes much more further.
Regularly it is critical for the designer to understand the wants and needs of the individual or company leadership that is employing them to make a space comfortable and esthetically pleasing to ‘the eye of the spectator’; meaning whoever is paying the cargo. This will require the designer to ask the question, ‘What is interior design through the eyes of my employer?’
Deciding exactly how to modify a small abiding area up to major corporate businesses like a national restaurant chain that must be attractive to the eye in many different districts of the nation with a typical design can be extremely challenging. Requiring a grasp of many different fields including creating and reading floor plans, a knowledge of building codes, and access to a considerable list of contractors that are capable of taking the necessary steps to specification are only a couple of the extra prerequisite that separate interior design from decoration.
Often specializing in unique areas like hotels, casinos, restaurants, or different businesses that may regularly spruce up their designs to keep their businesses looking comfortable yet luring, designers generally create ranges of skills that may not play all that well outside their special areas of expertise. What they probably are searching for in the interior design of a hospital is most likely a far cry from what they are looking for at a casino. Perhaps a better example would be deciding exactly how to proceed with a southwestern theme for a Mexican restaurant chain in places like Seattle, St. Louis, Charlotte, Pittsburg, and Boston. What is interior design generally accepted in one area may not be all around accepted in another.
In asking, ‘What is interior design?’ in today’s environment, one should also start thinking green and to search for ways to limit the utilization of non-renewable energy sources. How can one create areas with a lot of natural lighting yet not subject the individual to the blazing rays of the sun? How can one incorporate solar panels into the design or solar powered floor heaters in colder climates without losing the stylish charm and ambiance of marble floors? These are the challenges of today’s designers. It is really great that they cherish their jobs.
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