After all that differentiating between the terms design and decorating, we're still left with the questions:
"Is there a difference between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator? And if so, which one should I hire?"
Since we determined that there is in fact a difference between design and decorating, I think it's safe to say that "yes" there is also a difference between a designer and a decorator.
In an earlier post I stated that:
Designers design and decorators decorate.
But now that we've thoroughly explored the difference between design and decoration, I think it makes more sense to say:
Designers design AND decorate, while decorators just decorate.
When we defined design, we said it's a process and that decorating is the final step in that process. Given this, I would define a designer as someone who engages in that process and concentrates on the project as a whole - someone who is equally concerned with the functional aspect as well as the look of the entire space.
Through the use of concept, floor plans, elevations, photos, samples, details, renderings, etc...A designer will present you with a complete vision and a plan to achieve that vision (subject to your approval) before your project ever even begins.
A decorator would be someone who concentrates on applying products and materials to the room and is pulling it all together as they go, taking it one piece at a time. In other words, they've not gone through the design process and are not operating from a cohesive plan. They are more concerned with the individual elements of a room and how they look.
Let me just say for the record:
There is nothing wrong with this approach IF, as the client, you are comfortable with it. Your project might not require all the steps of the design process. That's up to you to decide.
So should you hire a designer or a decorator? We'll wade into that next week. Stay tuned!