What to Ask Before Hiring An Interior Designer – Moody Monday

Interior Designer vs Decorator – what is the difference and why does it matter?  If you were to hire someone, would you know who you needed?

The short answer is a designer has a degree and can work as a contractor, giving the client functional and accessible floor plans, finishes, lighting, and furniture plans as well as hiring trades.  A decorator is someone who has a “good eye” and can select paint colors, wall paper, furniture, the finishing touches.  The new ‘cool’ way refer to them is as stylists.  However, some interior designers do not like decorating.

Kadie Kinney, a commercial interior designer for Noah’s, explains it simply; “Designers think about the project as a whole, start to finish, and have the training and education to recommend the solutions that can not only improve the aesthetics of a space, but also its function and overall sense of well-being. Decorators, or those who lack a higher education in Interior Design, may have an “eye” for what would look good, but simply lack the depth of understanding and knowledge to take a project from concept to completion.”


Its funny because when I began design school, Trading Spaces was a big hit on HGTV. One of my professors would always insist that it was NOT design and we would be kicked out of the program if we watched it. A designer should work to design a space for their client, not for shock value. He would also joke “its more than just pillow fluffing!”

A Hoodie Our Design Class Had Made

A Professional or Registered designer works hard to distinguish themselves. A four year degree from an accredited school plus work experience prepares them to take a qualifying exam, called the NCIDQ. Some states / provinces require that to use the title Interior Designer, you have to have passed this test. While this isn’t a requirement everywhere, it is best to do your homework and ask the right questions

Some interior designers will specialize in certain areas. Residential design, commercial, hospitality, kitchens and bathrooms, lighting, new construction, renovations, renderings, or drafting plans.
So be careful when using the dreaded D work (decorator) because some people will take offense (don’t worry, we designers don’t bite!).

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