Sheila Rich Interiors: Design Blog

Helpful tips and suggestions on designing your interior.

Interior Designer or Interior Decorator: Who Do I Hire? Is There a Difference?

If you’re like most people, you probably assume "interior designer" and "interior decorator" are different ways of saying the same thing. But there are big differences between them, and knowing which person to hire is key to the success of your interior design project.

An interior designer has a more extensive education and must meet certain criteria in order to be licensed and meet government regulations. They can do anything from creating new spaces and remodeling/renovating to lighting design and proper selection and placement of furnishings. They’re also qualified to work with builders and architects on new construction projects in order to make sure the client’s home or business is suited specifically to their individual needs – in this role, they’re advocates for their clients.

While some interior designers choose to specialize in a particular field of design, their experience and educational background allows them to work on projects ranging from commercial to residential and from new construction to remodeling and updating. Their thorough understanding of function, form, and style can help their clients achieve their design goals safely, efficiently and effectively.

Here in New Jersey, interior designers can go on to become certified only if they meet educational and experience criteria and pass a detailed qualification exam.

Interior decorators are qualified to give decorating advice that deals with a room’s aesthetics. Decorators typically work in home improvement stores, paint/wall covering retail stores, and furniture showrooms, where they help clients make selections that fit their decorating goals; this can be especially helpful for do-it-yourselfers. If you only need advice or a second opinion on such things as color, furniture placement, window treatments, etc., then an interior decorator may be the right choice for you.


Three easy steps to choosing the interior designer who’s right for you.

3 easy steps to choosing your interior designer.

There are plenty of interior designers out there, but it’s important to work with one who’s right for your budget and sense of style. Here are three simple steps to ensuring you invest in the right designer:

1. Interview. When you’re interviewing interior designers, review their portfolios or web sites to see examples of their work in the particular décor you want to use.

2. Observe. If the designer has a showroom, make sure the furniture is to your liking and that what you like fits within your budget.

3. Price. When you’re ready to hire someone, negotiate an hourly rate and set a monetary limit. If you’re willing to do the legwork, your designer can act as a consultant, which will save you a considerable amount of money.

Bottom line: Choose a designer who will make your home a reflection of you, not of your designer!

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