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Designer or Decorator ?

Who should you hire ? The professionals that will ensure the success of your renovation project.

By Odile Cloutier

Decorating is the art of improving the aesthetic of a building and suggesting ideas regarding colour and finishes, such as wallpaper, upholstery, art objects and accessories, in a fashionable way. The decorator doesn’t change the physical aspect of the overall layout. The decorator doesn’t need a license to practice, and a specialized diploma in interior decorating from a cegep will suffice. No exams are required.

Interior design is the art and science of understanding the way people live and create a functional and aesthetic environment within the building code requirements. The goal of an interior designer is to find technical solutions, create new concepts for commercial retail or office designs and residential renovations of all kinds, such as kitchen, bathroom or remodeling an entire house. Usually mandated to conceptualize a space by changing the volume and the function of usage, the interior designer must provide sustainable designs that are functional and secure.

Decorating is the art of improving the aesthetic of a building and suggesting ideas regarding colour and finishes, such as wallpaper, upholstery, art objects and accessories, in a fashionable way.

In order to qualify as an interior designer and obtain a university degree in interior design, one must complete a program of three to four years and also pass the NDCIQ examinations approved by the ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and the APDIC (l’association professionelle des designers interieurs du Québec et du Canada). Once these qualifications are obtained, the candidate will be qualified as a certified interior designer. However, to maintain this interior design license, the professional must accumulate a number of credits every year by attending classes or seminars in a continuing education program approved by the professional development association of interior design of America and Canada.

If the project you are contemplating requires moving walls, changing the plumbing, adding a new kitchen or bathroom, or generally redesigning the entire house or commercial space, you must insist on the assistance of an interior designer that will help you make these significant changes happen.

Interior design is the art and science of understanding the way people live and create a functional and aesthetic environment within the building code requirements.

If there are no structural changes required but you need help in choosing a furniture style, wallpaper and fabric for your furniture, window treatment or adequate lighting and accessories, then a decorator will be more suited to fulfill your needs. For example, once a house as been designed, the decorator will be hired to specify the choices related to the colour scheme and other finishes, as well as art and accessories. It is generally the decorator that suggests the choice of furniture and decoration for an existing space.

In either case, it is essential to make a list of all your requirements in order to select the right specialist and benefit from an experienced professional who can solve your problems, help you avoid costly mistakes, and most importantly, create an attractive space design within your financial parameters to meet yours needs.

The key to a successful project is to surround yourself with the qualified professionals for the job at hand.

Images: Odile Cloutier


odile cloutier

Odile Cloutier is a certified interior designer, APDIQ IDC. She has worked in the interior design environment for 25 years. She specializes in residential renovation projects and prestigious office. Her articles have been published in more than a dozen interior design and decoration magazines. You can reach her at 514-910-7765.



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