Many people use the terms “Interior Design” and “Interior Decorating” interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways. While they have many similarities, interior design and interior decorating have a few differences: some subtle, some significant.
What is Interior Design?
Interior design is a profession that combines creativity, technical knowledge and business skills. Interior designers work with clients and other design professionals to develop design solutions that are safe, functional, attractive, and meet the needs of the people using the space.
Interior designers must know how to plan a space and how to present that plan visually so that it can be communicated to the client. They must also know about the materials and products that will be used to create and furnish the space, and how texture, color, lighting and other factors combine and interact to make the space come together. In addition, interior designers must understand the structural requirements of their plans, the health and safety issues, building codes, and many other technical aspects.
Here’s some of the things that interior designers should do:
- Research and analyze their client’s goals and requirements
- Create preliminary space plans and 2- and 3-dimensional design concept studies and sketches
- Select colors, materials and finishes
- Select and specify furniture, fixtures, equipment and mill-work
- Confirm that the space plans meet all public health, safety and welfare requirements, including code,accessibility, environmental, and sustainability guidelines
- Prepare project budgets and schedules
- Prepare construction documents, consisting of plans, elevations, details and specifications
- Coordinate and collaborate with other allied design professionals, including architects; structural, mechanical and electrical engineers; and various specialty consultants
- Oversee the implementation of projects and serve as a representative of and on behalf of the client
Types of Interior Design
Interior design is usually broken down into two main categories, residential and commercial. Within these general areas there are additional specialties.
1. Residential Design : Residential professionals work with private living spaces, primarily designing rooms for new or existing homes. Some even prefer working with a specific room such as the kitchen or bathroom, or planning and creating closet spaces.
2. Commercial Design : Commercial interior designers plan public spaces—government buildings, private businesses, or other corporate entities. Offices are a common focus of these professionals, but they may also work with schools, banks, retail establishments, and other public spaces. Some work to make hotels and restaurants functional and appealing, while others design areas in hospitals and other healthcare facilities; each field often requires specific knowledge about how the space can be used effectively by both customers/clients and employees.
What is Interior Decorating?
Interior decorating refers to the decorating and furnishing of interior spaces in homes, offices, schools, and public spaces. It deals with all aspects of lighting, color, texture, paint, furniture purchase and placement, flooring selection and installation, fabric installations, window treatments, and accessories. An Interior Decorator is charged with applying or updating the finishes and elements that will be included within a room space.
Differences Between Interior Design & Decorating
Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.
Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.
The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology — including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process — to satisfy the client’s needs and resources.
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