What Is The Difference Between An Interior Designer And An Interior Decorator?

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An interior designer has completed education through an accredited college or university, and in some states, must pass the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualifications) comprehensive exam to be considered a professional interior designer. Certification ensures that your designer has achieved a minimum level of competency and experience as determined by NCIDQ.

A professional interior designer has training in building and construction materials and specifications. Their knowledge of electrical, plumbing, framing, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling), construction scheduling, millwork (custom cabinetry) can help you re-engineer poorly functioning or dated spaces.

Some designers also have specialized training in kitchen, bath, aging in place or universal (accessible for physically challenged) design.
An interior decorator may take classes in decorating or design and may provide many of the same services as an interior designer. A decorator generally does not provide construction design services although some have learned how to do renovation design through years of experience. Some decorators specialize in window treatment design.

Both interior designers and interior decorators may be a member of a professional organization. These organizations require minimum standards of professionalism and experience, and require ongoing continuing education. These groups include ASID, IFDA, IIDA, NKBA, DSA, CDA and many more.

Interior designers do not have to be a member to be reputable and good, but for some consumers, this is a mark of professionalism.

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