Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The Difference Between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators

Interior Design by Alvaro Design of New York

From the Mailbox:

Dear cityhammer,
I 've noticed that you have several interior decorators grouped with interior designers on your site. I've always wondered what the difference between the two professions is?
Olivia M.
Murray Hill
That's a great question, and the answer is simpler than you might think. Many interior designers also do decoration (wall coverings, furniture choice, color ideas, decorative items, art work etc.) but an interior designer will also be able to supervise and plan out a more large scale project, including a major renovation. These days, there are general contractors who are also interior designers and window treatment firms that consider themselves decorators.

So the answer is, be less concerned with the terminology on the business card and more attentive to the professional designation of the designer/ decorator. This designation will be determined by the level and type of education that the person has, rather than what they refer to themselves as when pitching for business.

For example, many experienced and reputable New York interior designers will be members of the ASID, the American Society of Interior Designers. ASID boasts over 40,000 members in 48 chapters around the country.

As for interior decorators, they too have a professional organization that was actually founded by an interior designer named Ron Renner in 1997. Renner wanted to create something for the decorators in recognition of their knowledge and skill, and to distinguish them from designers as their own profession. This organization is called CID, or Certified Interior Decorators International. They were the first institution to certify decorators based on degrees of education and experience.

The bottom line would be to worry less about what design pro's refer to themselves as, and more about what licenses they carry as well as what professional organizations they belong to. Don't be afraid to ask the decorator or designer, as they will be happy to tell you about what they do specifically. This will also lead to a discussion on fee structure, which you'll want to be clear on anyway.

There are many advantages to working with both an interior designer and an interior decorator, but choosing between the two will more or less come down to the scope of the project and what it is you are looking to accomplish aesthetically.

For a more specific breakdown on Interior Designers and how to hire them, click the link: How to Hire a New York Interior Designer

For a list of Interior Designers and Decorators in New York and New Jersey, click here: New York Interior Designers and Decorators

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