Curbed posted an article yesterday titled “A Guide to Beginning an Interior Design Project” about deciding between designing vs. decorating a space yourself. A clarification should first be made on the difference between interior decorators and interior designers.
Interior design involves space planning, furniture layouts, lighting design, custom build ins, custom upholstery, as well as adhering to code and regulatory requirements. Scale and proportion are the principal considerations of any interior design project. The title of the Curbed article is misleading because they are not addressing any of the fundamental aspects of interior design other than articulating that a “designer is going to know everything about you”.
Interior Design is a technical, systematic and managerial process which incorporates a number of different functions including analyzing construction documents, creating detailed Autocad drawings, interfacing with contractors, A/V technicians, flooring specialists, architects and any other vendors involved in a particular project. There are specific rules which are followed by Interior Designers.
Decorating is bringing things into an existing space, it’s more accessorizing than designing. Adding to what you already have without considering the functionality of the space, the cohesion of the entire design, whether or not it’s proportional, or if a particular item is the right style. If you have ever been in a space where the sofa is too big, the walls are the wrong color, the layout feels odd, the curtains are too short, these are all hallmarks of DIY decoration projects.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can simply purchase something you love and it will look just as good in your own home as it does in a showroom. High end showrooms are almost always professionally designed, and are laid out optimally to maximize the perception of value. Every item you see when shopping will look different once you bring it home due to a variety of factors including natural and artificial lighting, space and being surrounded by completely different items. Often the biggest mistake on do it yourself decorating projects usually occurs with purchasing the wrong the size.