Have you ever admired the look of an upscale hotel room or a model home in a new development? That look and elegance is probably the work of an interior designer. We are going to talk about what an interior designer actually does and how it differs from an interior decorator.

What is an Interior Designer?

An interior designer is a design professional who not only decorates interior spaces but also influences the feel of them as well. A decorator may choose colors or fabrics but an interior designer does that and more. This person considers how a space will be utilized when choosing colors, furniture, fabrics, accessories and more.

Skills for the Job

Interior designers work with residential and commercial properties. Many specialize in either one or the other. From there, they can niche into a smaller specialty such as home remodeling jobs, new home construction, new office construction, commercial remodeling or something totally separate from the types mentioned above.

There are several skills needed to succeed in this type of career. First, creativity is essential. Often, interior design requires looking at blueprints or newly constructed spaces and visualizing how they will look with certain features.

Secondly, good listening skills are essential. Translating what a customer wants into what it will look like involves listening to their words and observing their current living style. Designers often bring dreams to life for their clients.

Designers are familiar with not just design but certain aspects of space and shape. For instance, are shelves needed on certain walls for an office room? It is within a designer’s scope of practice to suggest additions to a room or removal of certain features. To that end, they are responsible for hiring contractors and overseeing all work when they are under contract.

Working with an Interior Designer

  1. Initial meeting – The consultation is designed to give the designer a chance to familiarize themselves with the potential client and what they are asking to be done. Busy professionals may charge a consultation fee for the first visit. Use this time to ask any questions as well as presenting your ideas and intentions for the space. Provide these in writing to be used for further study when an initial cost analysis is being drawn up.
  2. Preliminary plans – For your consultation fee, a designer may draw up preliminary plans for you to see their work. If their plans as well as cost analysis agree with your budget and needs, you may desire to hire them.
  3. Contract – If plans and references agree with your needs, draw up a contact with your designer of choice. Read it thoroughly to be sure all bases are covered and all questions are answered. During the work, stay in constant contact to be sure that everything is proceeding on schedule and within budget. 

Interior designers do more than decorate. They create a functional space.

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