Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Design or Decorate - The Sequel

Can the terms "Design" and "Decorate" be used interchangeably?  We've already established that they are, all the time.  Should the terms be used interchangeably?...I say no.

Last week I explained the difference between the two when used in the verb tense.  Today let's take a look at the difference when being used as nouns, which is even more elusive.  Take these two statements:

"I love the design of that room!" OR "I love the decoration of that room!"

They seem pretty much the same right?  Both terms are referring to the final outcome of that room. But there is a slight difference in that design really means the culmination of the entire design process. Whereas decoration is more reflective of the individual products, finishes, and materials that have been applied to the room.

But let's face it, nobody (including me) is going to take the time to analyze which of these two things they're really trying to say.  In noun form the difference is so minimal that it's almost non-existent anyway.  Plus you would have to know if there was even a design process involved to begin with.  It is possible to decorate a room, on the fly, without going through any real process at all...I wouldn't recommend this, but it is possible.

So what have we learned:

Design (v.) is the BIG Picture process of planning that results in the overall design (n.) of a completed space.

Decorating (v.) is the final step of the design process. It is the physical execution of the details as specified by that process. The application of individual products, finishes, and materials to a space results in its decoration (n.).

The difference between the terms is very subtle, but different none the less!

Which leads us to our next big question:

"So then what is the difference between interior designers and interior decorators?"

Tune in next week as I attempt to answer!

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