Quite often when we think of interior design, we get confused between design and decoration. The truth is that the two are actually quite different and work in separate capacities to create a living space which we love.
The main difference is that design focuses on the living space from the design aspect, meaning that they have to understand human behavior and psychology in order to create a homely atmosphere which is not only livable, but also one which is functional.
Decorators are people who will look at a space and be able to ascertain what the right style and feel is for a room, as well as a color and stylistic feel for a space. This requires a more practical knowledge of architectural styles, furniture pieces, accent pieces and color matching.
Designers need to have an in-depth knowledge of how people interact with the spaces around them. They are aware of the flow of a house, and which rooms should be where, making a home more livable by ensuring that the right space is in the right area. Designers are aware of the flow of a household on quite a deep, psychological level. This is the reason why we don't have a kitchen right next to a bedroom, it's normally next to the living room. Small things which we might not realize or that we take for granted as the people living in a space are things which designers are astutely aware of. Each designer needs to in a way, get into the head of his or her client to cater to their specific needs before they design a living space which will fit the client.
Decorators are much more practical than psychological. Interior design is an artistic knowledge of spaces, which translates into practical solutions to clients needs. Decorators will want to furnish a space with things which look good, not necessarily for a practical purpose, but sometimes for the beauty of an object like a painting or a mirror with a specific frame. Such things are still very important for us to create living spaces which appeal to us. Room colors and knowledge of what works where is a speciality of decorators, as is a knowledge of pieces which can be used to accent a particular feature of a room, like a piece of wooden legged furniture which shows off beautiful old wooden floors for instance.
New York is the biggest and arguably the busiest city in the United States, meaning that there will be a large number of professionals to choose from, especially as you get closer to Manhattan.
Choosing the right designer or decorator is not a simple process, so be prepared to take your time and choose someone which you think you can work with well.
To pick out a designer, first you should start looking at portfolios from registered designers in the greater New York area. These will help you to start looking at the possibilities both in terms of what you want, and which designers you think can provide this based on the information you have. Choosing a designer also depends on what it is you need to do, if its upgrading your kitchen or living room for instance, there is no point in hiring a designer who specializes in designing commercial office spaces. So narrow you search into the designers who are offering what it is you need.
The same thing goes for decorators, as they too will have a portfolio which you can look through. Look at decorators who offer the types of specific, practical ideas that you envision for your rooms, and use any information you can find out about local decorators from any available sources.
Remember again what kind of work you’re looking for, don’t hire a color specialist to suggest what types of couches you should purchase, although they may be able to tell you with reasonable certainty what you should purchase, a decorator who specializes in what you need is the best fit for what you want to achieve.
Another consideration you want to keep in mind is your budget and the scope of your project. If you have a massive house revamp on the go, it may not be best to pick out the most well know and expensive designers or decorators in New York.
A designer may also be able to be a decorator, and different designers will have different ways of creating spaces, each with their own strengths. A good designer will be able to choose a good flow for your home in terms of color, decor and lighting. Designers that fully understand spaces will integrate style and feel with functionality to make the living area warm and inviting whilst still keeping a sense of and overall look and feel.
Country-wide averages on cost for an interior designer are between $50.00 to $200.00 per hour, bearing in mind that this is just for their services and not any furniture or accent pieces like pictures or paintings that you may need to purchase.
In New York you can expect your chosen designer to want to be involved in most if not all of your project, as much of the type of building work which goes on in the Big Apple is based on redesigning old apartments of buildings which are already standing, from the interior. A designer will on average charge $10 per square foot in New York, and if you have your designer on project from start to finish you can expect the price tag to be somewhere in the region of $10,000.00 on a 1000 square foot property.
There is a school of thought which says that there isn’t a marked difference between a designer or decorator with a licence and one without. Whilst this may be the case in terms of practical knowledge, which can only be acquired while working in any field, it’s not entirely true. Firstly, anyone who wants to use the title of licensed designer/decorator, will be legally required to have the licence which they claim. In order to get one in the first place, there are a number of educational requirements which need to be fulfilled. So you will already be working with someone who has at least attained specialized knowledge in the field. If that wasn’t enough, New York also has a vetting system, to check a prospective designer or decorator’s character! Turns out that a designer/decorator in the Big Apple really does have to have your best interests at heart.
Educational specifics are strict, with a minimum requirement of 2 years in accepted postsecondary programs, and a similar amount of time working under an experienced designer in the field. To top this all off, licensed business owners need to have done exams for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), and to have passed all of these. What this means in short, is that you will be getting someone who has all of the education and the working knowledge at once.
Before you step into the office and sign anything, be sure that you know these few helpful things that will make sure you don’t suffer serious scope creep during your designing and decorating, and that you still have some cash in hand at the end of the day.
You have to know your budget, and so does your designer. Some designers have a minimum budget that they’re willing to work with, so do this for yourself first. Once you’ve done this, you have to find out what the designer is going to actually cost you.
Once your budget fits the bank and the designer, then you should find out if the designer fits you. As we said earlier, being artistic as designers and decorators are, means that they will tend toward going a route they may have gone before. Check their portfolios and decide on a designer that shares your aesthetic vision.
The last 2 things to ask are whether you want to buy everything right now, if that’s in the budget, and whether or not the designer you’ve decided to go for offers post design support. This may not be necessary, but it is something to consider if you don’t want to be left to figure out what to do with all of your new items. Make sure your designer is available to show you what needs to go where.
Hopefully once you’ve reached this point, you’ll be ready to find your designer or decorator and start the revamp to your space that you’ve been waiting for!