Are you Hiring an Interior Designer or Decorator?

Lot of people generally use the most common terms “Interior Decorator” & “Interior Designer” interchangeably, but these professions differ from each other.  However there is often misconception between these two professions and is debatably subtle and you should definitely be excused for assuming that they are same.

Courtesy – 123rf

First let us be clear about the job of an interior designer. They design the spaces with respect to the actual needs, lifestyle and culture of the occupant. Their main job is to  design the layout of the house/room with respect to the sizes, dimensions, materials selection, design of each element-furniture and with respect to the aesthetics and budget according to the needs of the occupant so that the design flows and is in harmony with totality.

Many people are not clear with term “Interior decorators” as in western culture they are called experts whose job is to decorate and furnish the entire house. But from Indian/Asian perspective and working styles, many times self styled designers mostly without academic background call them as an interior designer but they do the job of actually decorators.

Here are some don’ts you should know before hiring a self styled designers who call them as an Interior Designers/Decorators:

  • The decorator usually do not have the knowledge of philosophy & principles of interior designs, functions of spaces, use of internal elements according to the space requirements.
  • You should be vigilant to check that your designs are only made for you and unique , as per your needs and are not reproduced from the magazines, internet or copy paste phenomenon. Sometimes you may not be aware of, and you keep on believing that they have been designed especially for your house!
  • As a user you are not aware of the numerous materials available in the market. They may use expensive products which are naturally attractive but may not have harmony with the theme and functionality of the space.
  • They may create the spaces which look attractive but in reality they give “Flashy” or “Gaudy” look to the space by using multiple number of unnecessary materials or combination of materials without any theme and harmony, which may appear good, but in longer period you don’t find it durable and comfortable. This may remain merely an “Ego satisfaction” or “Gratification” for the client having used expensive things instead of the actual need.
  • They don’t possess theoretical knowledge about the minute details of any elements and hence it leads to many revisions in designs, create delay on the projects, increases budget at later stage, different agencies get tired to carry work as the drawings are not clear to understand and at the end they create hassle and mess to an incomplete and unsatisfied end inspite of spending more!
  • They don’t have skills to refine your ideas because of no academic qualification. Sometimes the client don’t know what they want and at such time, the so-called decorators get chance to do whatever they know and complete it with showy and expensive results!
  • Many times they try to bring in all and everything i.e. all types of design philosophies, different types of materials without appreciating basic principles.

For example: The biggest differences arises between an Interior designer and an Interior decorator; say when it comes to selection of floor covering materials. As the interior decorator may probably choose the type of material, texture, colour, patterns which are trendy and costly in market. While the interior designer will make selection based on criteria with an additional eye towards appropriate usage, type of material, sound and acoustic properties, static electrical requirements and flammability, durability, value for money, etc.

For example: If we talk about the selection of chair and its design, the decorators may select the chair which are trendy, attractive and costly, that only fills the space when it is selected for the particular room. But the vision of an interior designer is very different from this – they very first ask the occupant,  who is going to use the particular chair? if the chair is used by an elderly person/senior citizen in the family then it should have the dimensions according to their size, comforts and needs, if it is normal chair used by everyone in the house than it should have standard dimensions with comforts. Many times decorators select stylish chair for a house which are attractive, but are not comfortable for the user to sit for a long period of time and may be orthopedically not advisable absolutely!

Also Read: Why should I Hire a Structural Engineer?


Richa Parmar





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