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Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator - A look inside the differences

Interior designer image IIWhich is right for my needs?
The question of needing an interior consultant includes several considerations. The best place to start is to have a discussion with your builder. With your answers to a few key questions, the builder should be able to suggest the best approach. Quality builders also have a sense for interior design as it plays such a central role in their business. They should be able to contribute substantively in interior discussions throughout the construction process (Classic Living Homes is one such builder). Additionally, they may partner with an interior specialist or have referrals from which to choose.

Below are two general skill levels that this profession offers. Each provides a differing level of assistance:

Interior Decorator - This is a consultant who is proficient at assembling ideas from various sources, assisting with material and color selections and a source for furnishings window treatments and other interior elements. An interior decorator is a good fit for the homebuyer who has a sense of what they are seeking, but needs outside opinions, general guidance and a sounding board for organizing their vision. Decorators generally join the building process after the architectural plan is in place and construction is underway or completed.

Interior Designer - This professional typically has a architecture or design degree and plays a deeper, more permanent role in your home’s design and construction. While they can provide the services of a decorator, they can also contribute to architectural planning, room flow, and direction of style. Your interior designer should be able to work at the plan/draw level displaying their artistic sense visually, much as an architect would. An interior designer can create original ideas. They bring an artistic sense and individual vision to each project. Designers generally begin work early in the planning stage and provide ongoing input throughout the full construction process.

An interview checklist
With either level of interior assistance, you need to be sure that you are selecting the right partner. Below are a few topics to help clarify that you are making the best choice:

• Interview I - Ask questions to gauge their ability to partner on the project and to assure they understand your vision?
• Interview II - Ask , “What do you need from me?” They should have an established request list.
• Comfort level - Do your personalities mesh? Much emotion can be placed on a home interior.
• Portfolio review - Can they show examples of previous work that fits your vision?
• Referrals - Can they offer a list of references as a sign of previous success?