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How to Distinguish Interior Professionals

Distinguishing an interior specialist and their duties may appear to be one blurred line of responsibilities resulting in one thing: interior beauty. The outcome may be true but the procedure of their tasks are distinct in bringing an interior space to life.
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Interior Decorator: two simple words synonymous with function and style.
Interior Designer: two simple words synonymous with function and style.
Interior Architect: two simple words synonymous with function and style.

Distinguishing an interior specialist and their duties may appear to be one blurred line of responsibilities resulting in one thing: interior beauty. The outcome may be true but the procedure of their tasks are distinct in bringing an interior space to life. Understanding the qualifications and job descriptions of who you are hiring are essential to the success of the design process and ultimately your space.

2016-02-04-1454602871-9507214-Villa_Moerkensheide08.jpg
Villa Moerkensheide / Dieter De Vos Architecten

How do you distinguish professions?

Well, first it's important to understand the history of the design community and where these terms came from:

For centuries, architects provided technical and aesthetic solutions to building structures and their interiors. At the turn of the 20th century, furnishing and accessorizing interiors became an occupation called interior decorating. It thrived as a profession throughout the century and has created a notable position in the overall design community. Such distinctions between the two professions did not last long especially with the advancement of science, research and technology. The nature of both architecture and interiors became complex with the rapid development of new materials, studies of ergonomics and technology. This required the need for a specialist who could acknowledge the evolution of design and maintain an artistic and technical skill set.Thus the interior designer was born. Today, a fairly new profession has entered the design community called interior architect: referencing a person who understands interior boundaries and structure while providing technical skills for construction.

What are the qualifications and responsibilities of these professionals?

Interior Decorators are the pioneers of the interior world in a simplified format. Qualifications for this occupation are quite simple: none required. There are courses to boost decorating ability but for the most part, these professional adorn, beautify, organize and furnish spaces. While many decorators have style they do not possess the technical abilities of an interior designer or interior architect. Therefore, they cannot refer to themselves as either of these professions. When hiring a decorator please note that their ability to design is limited to non-intrusive work on interiors.

Interior Designers conduct a hybrid of art and science by acknowledging human behavior, purpose and style. It is required that these designers complete higher education and training to develop their technical skills, conceptual and realistic boundaries through programming and circulation. Knowledge and application of materials are also an important factor for this profession. Many designers train under architects and senior designers to comprehend and apply life safety codes and interior restriction as one of many requirements needed to become a licensed interior designer. Appropriate projects include: residential, commercial and retail construction, renovations, furnishing and styling on a large and small scale.

Interior Architects, the newbies to the design community, are accelerating into its own identity as the scientific and technical gurus of interiors. Much like an interior designer, the interior architect's designation requires similar higher education from an accredited establishment. Training for this occupation typically has a heavy focus on structure, safety of interiors and creating documents for construction .While educational programs are limited, the occupation itself has many transitioning into this field to assist in the larger scope of interior work: construction, renovations, millwork design and materiality.

The requirements of interiors are either simple or complex. Knowing the scope of work you need along with hiring the right professional will guarantee the success of function and style in your space.

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