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Selecting an Interior Designer

Difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer
According to the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, interior designers may decorate, but interior decorators do not do any design. The terms are often used interchangeably, but the jobs are different, so first determine whether a decorator or designer would best be suited for your project.

Interior designers may be called in early in the building process. Designers usually work closely with the architects and builders of a project, but decorators tend to join once the construction process is complete. Designers typically determine the layout of the room and then handle the decorating aspects including lighting, paint, and furnishing.

Know what you want
Take a few minutes to assess the level at which you plan to be involved in the creative process, and what kind of guidance you need. Are you open to suggestions, or do you have your heart set on something in particular and there is no talking you out of it? It is important to determine the scope of your project before you choose a designer so you know what kind of credentials and experience to look for.

Look at the portfolio
Scrutinizing a designer's profile will give you a feel for his or her style and experience doing projects that are similar to yours.

Professional References
Check out or ask about the designer's education, experience, training and other credentials.  Many states require interior designers to be licensed or registered, so make sure the designer's credentials are in line with what the state calls for.

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