Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Is an Interior Design-ist?!

THREAD:  Design VS. Decorate 

I don't know if you've ever noticed but interior designers get REALLY bent out of shape when you refer to them as "interior decorators" - oh the horror!

Early in my marriage and in my career I was at my Mother-In-Law's house for some kind of get-together.  She was introducing me to some of her guests and this is exactly what she said:

"This is my daughter-in-law, Kim.  She is an Interior...oh what do you call it?...an Interior Designist?...Is that right Kim?  (turning back to her guest) She doesn't like to be called a decorator!"

Ha!  It was in that moment that I realized I had been so adamant to my friends and family that I was a designer, NOT a decorator, that I had scared them into making up words! Not only that, but after trying to explain the difference countless times, they still, truly did not understand.

The problem was, and still is, that a good, succinct explanation of that difference does not exist.  Oh sure, you can find many definitions and explanations floating around out there, but absolutely NONE of them have ever been compelling enough to convince people outside of  the design profession that there is indeed a difference.

The most popular argument seems to be that a designer is someone who possesses the 3E's (Education, Experience, Examination).  If you don't have the 3E's then you are a decorator.  But this position falls apart pretty quickly when challenged by non-3E designers who refuse to be called decorators (as evidenced by the forced changes to existing ID legislation going on all over the country - TAWNT).

The fact is that there is a difference, and unfortunately it is not as simple as just claiming the 3E's!  The lines are so blurred that it is going to take some serious unraveling to clear things up.  So let's go ahead, jump right in, and start this conversation of "Design vs. Decorate".  Buckle up!  Cuz it's goin' to be a bumpy ride!

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