How To Choose An Interior Designer Or Redecorator

What types of professional interior designers are available?

Have you heard of Interior redecorators? These professional interior decorators transform your home using things you have accumulated over the years. The end result is a balanced, harmonious space that reflects the personality of the people who use it. Many interior designers have added this service to their repertoire. Alternate terms for professional interior designers specializing in interior redecorating are interior redesigners, interior arrangers, interior stylists, one day decorators, visual coordinators or interior refiners.

What is a Certified Interior Designer? (from B&P Code Section 5800,5538)

A Certified interior designer is a competent design professional who is qualified to design, prepare, and submit any type of nonstructural, non-seismic interior construction plans and specifications to local building departments. Certified interior designers have demonstrated through education, experience, and examination their knowledge of the Uniform Building Code as it relates to space planning, life safety, flammability, and disabled access code issues. Most interior designers have a minimum four-year education. Many have Master of Interior Design degrees or other additional education in architecture or interior design. Interior designers who have many years experience may not have a Bachelors in Interior Design, but usually are well educated and have many years of qualified experience. All qualified interior designers will indicate that they have passed the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Certification) examination and/or are registered/ certified/ licensed in their state.

How do Interior Decorators charge for their services?

Flat Design Fee: The client pays a flat fee for the professional interior designer’s services based on the design plan, time required, and scope of services.

Hourly Rate: The interior decorator bills a negotiated rate per hour.

Cost Plus Method: Professional interior designers charge a set percentage on all merchandise purchased and tradesmen’s services rendered.

Mixed Method: The client pays both a set percentage on purchases and a base design fee for hourly rate.

Per square foot: This method is used especially in new construction.

What to ask at the first meeting:

o Ask to see the interior designer’s portfolio, but remember that the designs reflect other people’s tastes,¬ not necessarily the interior decorator’s, and possibly not your own.

o Ask what size projects the interior designer has worked on, where, and what was the budget range.

o Ask how the established budget will be handled, and the kind of payment schedules the interior decorator requires.

o Ask about the types of services the designer can provide.

o Ask for a list of references.

What you may be asked at the first meeting:

It is a good idea to prepare for your first meeting with a professional interior designer by creating your own folder of clippings from magazines, catalogs, and books of design ideas that appeal to you.

You may also be asked some or all of the following questions:

o For whom is the space being designed?

o What activities will take place in the space?

o How long do you plan to occupy the space?

o What is your time frame for completing the project?

o What is your budget?

o Are you relocating or remodeling?

o What image do you want to project?

o What colors, style, and effects do you like?

o What are your objective and lifestyle needs?

o What is the approximate square footage to be designed?

If a professional interior designer, or anyone, for that matter, tells you the process is easy, stress-free, and will be complete in two weeks, they’re either lying or stupid. Don’t hire that person.

Interior Design Vs Interior Decorating Vs Home Staging Vs Interior Redesign – What’s the Difference?

The other day a real estate agent whose listings I stage for sale introduced me to someone as a “designer”. I didn’t want to take the time to correct him, but I thought to myself, “This isn’t the first time I’ve heard people use ‘designer’ erroneously. It’s often used to label someone who’s an interior decorator. So, why does everyone lump us all in one category, when we all clearly do something different?”

To put the differences succinctly:

  • Interior Design involves, among many other things, the preparation of documents often by a licensed professional for the construction of an interior space such as plans and elevations, and details and specifications, including lighting, power and communication locations, materials and finishes, and furniture layouts.
  • Interior Decorating involves the adornment of surfaces in the interior space, such as fabrics, wall coverings, furniture, decorative accessories, flooring, light fixtures etc., and takes into account the lifestyle, taste, needs and preferences of the user of the space. While interior designers may decorate, interior decorators don’t design.
  • Home Staging is preparing the home for sale through updates and “decorating” so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers for the market that the home is in.
  • Interior Redesign is often done by home stagers for homeowners not currently selling because it employs many of the same principles that home stagers use, such as primarily using what furniture and decorative accessories the homeowner already has, with an eye towards the future sale of the home.

Now, let’s explore each one more in-depth.

Interior Design

According to the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ):

  • Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment.
  • These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive.
  • Designs are created in response to and coordinated with thebuilding shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project.
  • Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements, and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.
  • The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the leading organization for interior design professionals. Certain levels of its members must meet certain education, work experience and examination requirements administered by the NCIDQ. Further, some states have licensing requirements for interior designers which include the passage of this exam. ASID also has continuing education requirements for its members.

Interior Decorating

No wonder people often confuse Interior Decorating with Interior Design. Even I had trouble finding a definition for Interior Decorating. Often it said “see interior design”.

Perhaps its best to understand interior decorating as it exists in contrast to interior design:

  • An interior decorator would select floor coverings based upon the tastes and lifestyle of the client, whereas the interior designer would take it a step further and look at usage, sound transference, flammability, etc.
  • An interior decorator would select lighting fixtures, whereas the interior designer would plan for the location of lighting and ensure that it is in compliance with building and safety codes.
  • An interior decorator does not need to have any formal education and/or work experience, testing or licensing, whereas an interior designer does.

Home Staging

Home staging is the art and science of preparing a home for sale so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers in order to sell quickly and for top dollar. The objective is to make the potential buyer fall in love with the home, envision themselves living there and aspire to the lifestyle the home portrays.

According to the Real Estate Staging Association’s Consumer’s Guide to Home Staging, it is a “systematic and coordinated methodology in which knowledge of real estate, home renovations and creative design principles are applied to attract a buyer.”

Home staging involves any or all of the following:

  • Evaluating what furniture and decorative accessories (throw pillows, artwork, decorative objects, lamps, knickknacks, etc.) the owner has, and:

– eliminating some of the furniture and/or decorative accessories, otherwise known as decluttering as well as depersonalizing (removal of family photos, trophies, collections etc. so the buyer can envision living there)

– arranging the furniture and accessories for optimal placement to enhance flow (the ability to walk freely through the room), focal point enhancement (e.g., emphasizing a fireplace or a beautiful view), balance (are there too many or too large pieces in the bookcase or on only one side of the room?) and the positive aspects of the home while downplaying the negatives

  • Carefully selecting for purchase or rent, if necessary, the appropriate furniture and accessories for the style of the home and it’s market.
  • Recommending, implementing and/or arranging for enhancements, updates and repairs such as painting, flooring, sink fixtures, lighting fixtures, window treatments, landscaping, etc.

Interior Redesign

As stated above, interior redesign is like home staging, however it enhances the home for the homeowners rather than for potential buyers. And it does so with an eye towards its future sale. It is like home staging in that it primarily uses the client’s existing furniture and decorative accessories to transform the space, and may also involve the purchase of additional furniture and accessories as well as updates to the wall colors, window treatments, lighting fixtures etc.

Summary

To summarize the differences:

  • Interior Design involves the planning of all aspects of interior space often by a licensed professional.
  • Interior Decorating involves the adornment of surfaces in the interior space. Interior designers may decorate, but interior decorators don’t design.
  • Home Staging is preparing the home for sale through updates and showcasing so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers for the market that the home is in.
  • Interior Redesign employs many of the same principles that home stagers use, such as primarily using what furniture and decorative accessories the homeowner already has, with an eye towards the future sale of the home.

Interior Design For The Home

Any home can be pleasing with the proper application of basic interior design methods. Some people study interior design to be very good at it but there are people who are gifted with an eye for beauty and for interior designing.

A person who is creative can do some interior designing on his own even without formal training. Those who have an eye for what is aesthetic can just as easily decorate and design his own house depending on his tastes. Of course, it helps to read books and articles about designing to be updated on the basic and latest design methods.

Any interior designer can create a specific atmosphere just by putting together several pieces and unifying them in a single theme. There are interior designers who have a bias for certain motifs like eclectic, modern or even country style. Some go for simple designs without the clutter.

Interior design is not only aesthetic but also functional depending on the requirements of the client. An interior designer can make a small room spacious and an otherwise cluttered room into an orderly one. Interior design is used just about anywhere from homes, offices to commercial buildings.

The interiors of a room should always match the personality of the person who will occupy that room. This is the reason why designers always work closely with their clients so they can make sure that they get a feel of what their clients want in terms of design style.

People have this notion that interior design is expensive. However, designers are not only creative people but they are also very good in budgeting. Most designers will work on a design that will match or fit the budget of their clients. A person can allot a minimal amount for the interior design of his home or office and still come up with an aesthetic and functional room.

Professional interior designers who are formally trained usually have basic knowledge on architecture, engineering and even accounting. They need these courses to make their design aesthetic, structurally correct and cost effective.

The terms Interior design and interior decorating have often been used interchangeably. However, the two terms actually deal with different phases of making a room or a space aesthetic. Interior design is basically the process of studying the personality of the occupant of the room being designed in order to maximize and tailor-made the room’s design for that person’s behavior and personality.

Interior decorating on the other hand is the process of actually mixing and matching the different design techniques like window treatments, the right wallpaper, wall finish and even the furnishing of a room.

There are a lot of opportunities for those in the interior design and decorating industry. An interior designer can go into designing household, corporate or commercial establishments. Others specialize in the design of health facilities or even tourism establishments.

The latest trend now for those in the interior design industry is to be able to incorporate the right engineering and aesthetic design with sustainable development. Even designers are now more conscious about the state of the environment so they tend to use environmentally friendly materials for their designs.

There are designers who specialize and use Feng Shui in their designs. This requires further study because Feng Shui deals with the Chinese’s ancient methods of designing a space to make the design work for the owner’s health, business and other life factors.

The Chinese believes that a structure should be properly designed so as to allow positive energy to enter the structure. When the structure has already been built without the aid of a Feng Shui expert, the mistakes can be corrected through proper interior design using the Feng Shui methods.

By incorporating Feng Shui in interior design, it is believed that a person can bring out all the positive energies in a room to make him rich, happy and healthy. An interior design using Feng Shui can also get rid of bad spirits that bring in negative atmosphere in an abode.

Getting the services of an interior designer can make a room both aesthetic and functional. Any person who wants to make his home livable and functional should try getting the services of an interior designer to maximize his space.