Today there are a plethora of TV shows about interior decorators that swoop into normal American families’ homes, dash out several brilliant decorating ideas, and in a flash, have turned the house into a beautifully redecorated specimen ready for the pages of a design magazine. In the real world, it’s not quite as easy as that.
Make Sure Your Styles Match
First of all, finding a reliable decorator with the right credentials and a style to match your own can be tricky. Interior designer Phoebe Howard actually compares the relationship between a designer and a homeowner as a “marriage.” Cathy Davin, president of Davin Interiors in Pittsburg said, “New clients are often referred to [me] by previous clients.” Online is another great resource because experienced designers will often include pictures of previous projects for prospective clients to browse through.
Designers vs. Decorators
A typical interior designer will have a bachelor’s degree in interior design, though some states require additional certification. Of course, designers will have different amounts of experience and their styles will vary depending on personal taste and where they received their education. However, Davin said every designer “should have a full understanding of color, proportion, and other elements of design.” One good resource for interior designers is the American Society of Interior Designers online database of certified members.
An interior decorator, on the other hand, “might be just someone who has a flair for decorating and wants to hang up a shingle,” according to Davin. However, they won’t have the same training as a designer and may not be as familiar with the intricacies of dealing with engineers, contractors, and architects for more extensive renovations.
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