Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Designer...Decorator...Is There a Difference?

THREAD:  Design VS. Decorate

A designer is someone who designs.  A decorator is someone who decorates.

Isn't that clear as mud?  If it were that easy then I wouldn't need to write this post!

The reason the difference is so hard to explain is because everybody has a different definition of what interior design really is! And most of the time we are trying to describe the two terms as "people" (designer or decorator) which as we've already discovered is not easily done.  Inevitably we fall back on the explanation that an interior designer is someone who possesses the 3E's (education, experience, examination) and a decorator is someone who does not.  But guess what?  Most "decorators" do not agree with that premise!

So we can't just go around making this claim without any concrete evidence to back it up.  That's why the definition of interior design becomes so important.  Even if you asked a 3E designer what services they provide, many would describe them exactly the same way as a non-3E/decorator would.  Just because you went to school doesn't change the fact that you're practicing the exact same way as someone who didn't.  Sure, you elevated your credentials and increased your capabilities, but you also made the CHOICE to focus your practice on services that don't necessarily require those capabilities. 

Don't get me wrong...as a 3E designer myself I am not saying that our credentials don't mean anything, because they most certainly do!  All I'm saying is that the 3E's alone do not give us exclusive rights over the entire profession known as "interior design".  But they should give us the ability to distinguish ourselves, differentiate our services, and allow us to practice to the fullest extent of our capabilities (if we so choose). Capabilities that actually have some crossover into the practice of architecture.  BTW - most architects oppose this point if view - TAWNT.

I've come to realize that the terms "designer" and "decorator" MUST be defined, not by "who", but by "what". If you can make sense of the what, then the who becomes an entirely different discussion. This thread is about sorting through all of that confusion and trying to make sense out of the whole debate.

Now if you're a casual interior design enthusiast, you might be reading this and asking yourself, "What confusion?" But keep reading my blog and you'll soon learn. There are all kinds of fights out there in this country.   Interior Design legislation being proposed and opposed in almost every state. It's an ugly argument for sure, but one that I personally think is one BIG misunderstanding! So hopefully you'll stick with me as I try to paint the BIGGER picture of what interior design truly is...and if you've known me long, I think you just might be surprised! I hope we can still be friends when this is all said and done! Because Interior Design is a HUGE arena and there's room for us all!

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