INTERIOR DESIGN VS. INTERIOR DECORATING | IIDA

Chastity Fabry

A recent Huffington Post Blog entry challenged the legitimacy of the Interior Design profession, in particular the “arbitrary” legislative efforts to regulate it. Unfortunately for the industry and our members, once again the practice of interior design was confused with interior decorating.

The blog post opens, “Homeowners hire interior designers to beautify their living space. It’s an industry focused on style, design, and aesthetics.” This prevailing market misconception of interior designers as merely “decorators” or purveyors of home design secrets and tips makes it all the more important for IIDA, its Members, and the design community at large to educate the general public on what professional interior design really is, and in doing so, advocate for legal recognition of the field.

Interior designers must be highly skilled in order to create interior environments that are functional, safe, and adhere to building codes, regulations, and ADA requirements. They go beyond the selection of color palettes and furnishings and apply their knowledge to the development of construction documents, occupancy loads, healthcare regulations, and sustainable design principles, as well as the management and coordination of professional services including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and life safety – all to ensure that people can work, live, and learn in an innocuous environment that is also aesthetically pleasing.

We know this. But, we – IIDA, our Members, and interior designers – must continue to educate the public at large so we can dispel this misconception once and for all.

For more information to share with your clients, peers, and friends on the differences between interior design and interior decorating, please visit the National Council for Interior Design Qualification or this excerpt from the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice on Interior Design.

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