To Whom Are You Hiring? – Interior Designer or Decorator!!!
Mahadev Desai is the Founder and CEO of gharpedia.com and SDCPL a leading design consultancy firm having strong national presence. He has a degree in Civil Engineering (BE) and Law (LLB) and has rich experience of 45 years. Besides being the Editor in Chief, he also mentors team at GharPedia. He is associated with many professional bodies. He is also co-founder of 1mnt.in the first in Industry software for contractors’ billing. He is a voracious reader, edited 4 books, and pioneer of book reading movement in Gujarat, India.
Interiors reflect your style. Walking in a house perfectly designed with beautiful garden (could be on the rooftop) some amazing artifacts and a very welcoming drawing room and right out of some designer book bedroom, who wouldn’t want that? And it is perfectly possible with the help of an expert. Now the question is who is this expert we are talking about. Is it an Interior Designer or an Interior Decorator? I mean isn’t it the same? Answer is No. Well, but a lot of people generally use the most common terms “Interior Decorator” & Interior Designer” interchangeably, whereas these professions differ from each other. Often there is a misconception between these two as the difference between then is debatably subtle. Need to decide between an interior designer and decorator? Here you go…
Interior Designing is a Mixture of Art and Science Both
Let us first be clear about the job of an interior designer. Their job is making your house safe, functional, comfortable, beautiful and design the spaces with respect to the actual needs, lifestyle and culture of the occupant. Interior design is designing the layout of the house/room with respect to the sizes, dimensions, materials selection, strength and life of material, design of each element-furniture in harmony with the budget and at the same time being creative and enhancing aesthetics and beauty of the house, and still being creative to adhere to the needs of the occupant so that the design flows and is in harmony. Remember, designing is an art and science both.
Most of us are not clear with term “Interior decorators.” In the western society they are called experts on only the decoration and furnishing of the house/room. But in India & Asian country, mostly decorators with no academic qualification no actual credentials call and practice themselves Interior designers.
Basic Difference Between Interior Designer and Decorator
The selection of a decorator or a designer depend on your needs. For more extensive makeup or changes such as removing a wall, moving plumbing or wiring around, or adding new windows or replacing your own windows or doors hiring an interior designer should always be the better choice. As the designers can help make the significant changes in layout and structure by working directly with architects and builders. On the contrary, when no significant structural changes are required you rather need some creative decisions to make, like deciding on.
Adding some elements, selecting a wallpaper, furnishings; choosing the window treatments, or deciding on lighting accessories without changing the basic layout – an interior decorator can help. Hence first we need to define &write down our needs, our plan of what do we want and what we are going to do.
Factors to be Considered Before Hiring a Designer/Decorator
Let’s look at some of the pointers before hiring a self-styled designer who call them as an Interior Designers/Designer needs the knowledge:
The philosophy & principles of interior designs, functions of spaces and anthropometry, use of internal elements according to the space requirements need very deep subject knowledge in the field of Designing and Decorators are mostly not equipped with that kind of knowledge. Their advice may not be correct always or maybe superficial.
Be Aware of Copy-Paste Interior Designers:
These decorators if not credible can sell you a copied design. 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. Don’t be surprised you may not be aware of, and you keep on believing that they have been designed especially for your house whereas it is an exact replica of some design magazine.
Interior Design Is Not Prescribing Flashy & Expensive Process:
There are numerous things available in the market which are flashy or delicate and very expensive. As a user you are not aware of the all the materials available out there. They may use some expensive products like we said flashy and delicate. It will be naturally attractive but may not have harmony with the theme and functionality of the space and not very long lasting.
No Interior Design Can Be Copied:
For interior and especially for furniture, the dimension of each units is very important. For example, for a chair to be comfortable, it should have proper height, width, etc. Both needs to be comfortable. And this again will depend on your height. So, no design can be copied, and if done, it will perhaps be a disaster.
Be Aware Of Gratification of Your Interior:
Having your house littered with zillion beautiful artifact may look attractive to the eye in the first look but it is definitely not livable. These decorators may create the spaces which look attractive but in reality, they give”Glittery” or “Gaudy” look to the space by using array of unnecessary materials without any theme and harmony. It may attract initially, but in longer period you don’t find it durable and comfortable. For sure you don’t want to own all those crazy expensive things for mere “Ego satisfaction” or “Gratification”. Hence, focus only on what is your actual need.
Interior Decorators Invite Hassles and Cost Increase:
Most of these decorators don’t possess any theoretical knowledge. They are not aware about the minute details of any element which results in many revisions in designs, create delay on the projects, and increases budget at later stage. For sure all the parties involved get annoyed when the drawings are not clear to understand and at the end, they create hassle and mess of an incomplete and unfinished product in spite of spending way more than your budget. Some decorators work with photos only and they even cannot prepare detailed working drawings.
Interior Decorators Do Not Respect Basic Engineering:
Most of the time, the decorators do not respect the structure and overlook _what is must_ from civil, structural or electrical engineering point of view. There are many big accidents and disasters happening due to gross like, “I disrespect to basic civil, structural and electrical engineering or overall building physics.”
- Not Qualified: The decorator is not skilled to perceive and refine your ideas because of lack of technical qualification. There are times when you are not very clear about your wants or needs, that’s when these so-called decorators get chance to do whatever they know and give you a place complete with showy, glittery and expensive outcome.
- Often, they try to bring in all and everything i.e. all types of design philosophies, different types of materials as they lack the knowledge and thus fail to appreciate basic philosophy and principles. When there is not basic theme or style, any design will fail.
Difference Between Designer and Decorator
We can look at a few instances where the difference between these two will become clearer:
Let’s say when it comes to selection of floor covering materials. The interior decorator may probably offer you different materials, texture, colour, patterns which are trendy and costly in market whereas the interior designer’s selection will be based on appropriate usage, life of material, properties of material like acoustical, thermal, etc. static electrical requirements and flammability, durability, value for money, apart from all earlier aspects.
Another such instance can be the selection of chair. The decorators may select the chair which is trendy, attractive and costly for sure that only fills the space with no particular usage in mind. But the vision of an interior designer is very different from this – they will inquire first about the usage, who is going to use the particular chair? If this chair is to be used by an elderly person/senior citizen in the family etc. He will make sure that it has the dimensions according to their size, comforts and needs, or if it is a chair that is to be used by everyone in the house than it should have standard dimensions keeping comfort of all always in mind. Usually decorators will select stylish chair for a house which are attractive, but may not be comfortable for the user to sit for a long period of time and maybe orthopedically not advisable also.
Thus, before entrusting your house to a Designer or Decorator, remember they are a whole realm differ from each other. Designer will stick to the basic code and regulatory elements. The interior designing is a process that follows a systematic and organized procedure which includes research, analysis and combining the knowledge into an artistic outcome that satisfies the needs and wants of the client.
Now that you’re done with deciding whether you are hiring a Designer/Decorator for your home, here’s everything you need to know about the reasons for why you should hire an interior designer:
And before you take a leave from us, we also have a trendy article for you which can help you to enhance your interiors. Have a look: