Read this before you hire a ‘Designer’

Interior Designers can help you turn your business or home into a functional and beautiful space specifically suited for all your needs. It can often be overwhelming when looking for an Interior Designer but I am here to help guide you in that decision.

When you are searching for someone to provide you with Interior design solutions the list of ‘Designers’ out there can be overwhelming to say the least. First you notice that there are a LOT of different titles and job descriptions using the term ‘Designer’. Designer is an all-encompassing word that unfortunately a lot of non-accredited individuals hide behind and use to pass themselves off as an “Interior Designer”. Did you know that in North America if someone uses the title “Interior Designer” that they are legally required to have the documentation and education to prove they’ve earned the use of the title?

‘Designer’ is an all-encompassing word that unfortunately a lot of non-accredited individuals hide behind and use to pass themselves off as an Interior Designer.


How will you know you are hiring an Interior Designer that follows the professional standards of practice and has the legal right to use the title?

Your best bet to ensure that you are getting an accredited, qualified and experienced Interior Designer is to look in your Country or Provincial/State Design association website. Below are the two prominent International Interior Design standards councils. If you cannot find the individuals name that is using the title Interior Designer on either of these sites then chances are they are not an Interior Designer but a Decorator or Stylist.



The differences vary exponentially between Interior Designer and Decorator, Designer or Stylist. Below is a breakdown of the differences.

Interior Design: is a multi-faceted profession. Interior design encompasses the analysis, planning, design, documentation, and management of interior non-structural/non-seismic construction and alteration projects in compliance with applicable building design and construction, fire, life-safety, and energy codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines for the purpose of obtaining a building permit, as allowed by law. Qualified by means of education, experience, and examination, interior designers have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect consumers and occupants through the design of code-compliant, accessible, and inclusive interior environments that address well-being, while considering the complex physical, mental, and emotional needs of people.

Interior Designers contribute to the interior environment with knowledge and skills about space planning; interior building materials and finishes; casework, furniture, furnishings, and equipment; lighting; acoustics; wayfinding; ergonomics and anthropometrics; and human environmental behavior. Interior designers analyze, plan, design, document, and manage interior non-structural/non-seismic construction and alteration projects in compliance with applicable building design and construction, fire, life-safety, and energy codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines for the purpose of obtaining a building permit, as allowed by law.  Source: CDIQ

Interior design is more than just aesthetics, it’s about finding creative design solutions for interior environments while supporting the health, safety, and well being of occupants and enhancing their quality of life.

Interior Designers of Canada

Interior Decorator: Interior Decorators are all about aesthetics. They provide services such as selecting color schemes and finishes, sourcing and/or purchasing items such as furniture, lighting and art and also providing furniture layouts. Decorators help you to bring an entirely new look to your existing space. Since Interior Decorators focus solely on the decorative detail there are no standardized education requirements.

Interior Stylist: There are overlaps with Interior Decorators and Interior Stylists. The most notable difference is Interior stylists are known for their work in magazines, television and other visual media. Their primary job is to beautify spaces by either adding or editing items. They are able to change the appearance of any room without any structural alterations.


How will you know when you need an Interior Designer vs. Decorator?

Chances are after reading the above definitions you will have a better understanding on how to answer this question But a goo, hard fast rule is this- If your space requires structural changes, detailed floor plans, an addition and detailed expert guidance on the pros and cons of the choices that are to be made then an Interior Designer is for you. If your space needs a aesthetic make-over only then a Decorator or stylist can do the job.

If you listen to anything that I have said so far, please hear this: Do NOT look for an Interior Design professional or Interior Design services on Social Media. If they have a webpage look for their experience, qualifications and Design association affiliate, and finally, verify that they are in fact an accredited Interior Designer with your local Design standards association.


As for myself, I am a retired Interior Designer with accreditation from both the ARIDO and CDIQ.