There is no difference between an interior designer and interior decorator. Most states have stricken the requirements for state licensure. In Florida for example, you only need to be licensed if you engage in commercial design work. As there is no state oversight or minimum qualifications, anyone can call themselves an interior designer. Hence it may be wise to engage a licensed professional.
Ask the following questions when considering the right interior designer:
- What is the designer’s background? A designer who did a good job with your cousin’s bathroom may not have the knowledge or skill to execute a plan for an entire house.
- If the interior designer is licensed, read their entire state file to see how long they have been licensed, their qualifications and whether there has been any disciplinary action.
- Check the Civil Court Index in your county and neighboring counties to see if the interior designer has ever been sued. If so, the court file is a public record, read it. Several lawsuits against an interior designer are a red flag.
- Google the interior designer’s name and company name to see if there is any complimentary or adverse information. Look at the interior designer’s website. Magazine articles and other publications should show you if your taste is similar to that of the designer. Some designers are extremely good in modern design but fall short in industrial, country or contemporary design.
You should interview at least 3 interior designers so you have a comfort level with their range of fees, the project budget, and whether you feel “chemistry” with them. Since the project will take many months, it is imperative to spend quality time in the beginning to select the right interior designer.
This will be one of weekly blogs dealing with the relationship between interior designers and residential home-owners and commercial property owners. Getting the right interior designer is the most important step to ensure the project will be complete within the timeline, the budget, and with few missteps along the way.