There was quite a bit of web chatter over Thrive Mag's 2014 article “I'll Tell You One More Time: Decorators Aren't Designers”.
It seems that the magazine's URL may have violated a trade name belonging to another business, and the website is now down, so here's our take:
On Being an Interior Designer
Being an interior designer involves more personal interaction and deep psychological understanding than any field that I have ever explored. Architecture tends to involve more arrogance and less objectivism while interior design can be deeply introspective and personalized to a client’s every need. Don’t get me wrong: I love architecture. I love many architects. However, it’s hard not to be bitter when insanely intelligent and hard-working designers everywhere are being downgraded to decorator status, and much of this title-slinging comes from architects as much as it does clients and peers.
On Architects and Interior designers
Architects: don’t call yourself an architect unless you’re licensed. No for real, it’s illegal. Also, don’t shy away from working with designers. They are specialized in the psychology of space…who doesn’t want to work with that?
Interior designers: don’t be elitist. You need to know when to open your arms to architects and other professionals because you can’t control every part of a project. Also, it’s your duty to educate! If someone calls you a decorator, or pays disrespect to the field of design by not recognizing its vast sea of qualities, correct them.
So How is Interior Design Different from Decoration?
Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design. Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project.
Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology—including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process—to satisfy the needs and resources of the client.Source: CIDQ
Beginning with NCIDQ's definition of interior design, a second rebuttal article continues to outline the author's feelings on the assumption of many (including many architects) that interior design is no more than decoration.
Our mission at Qpractice is to help interior designers overcome a challenge in their careers – the NCIDQ Exam.
This exam tests interior designers on building and fire codes, and the health, safety and welfare of occupants. Aesthetics does not play a role on this exam.
While interior designers are also most often qualified to decorate, shaping the aesthetic environment of a space, this is often not their primary job function. The NCIDQ tests design, not decoration.
But in the real world of interior design business, the roles of designer and decorator are not always unique – they often overlap.