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Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating: What’s the Difference? – Board & Vellum

Interior Design

Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between interior design and interior decorating? For starters, it's more than picking out pillows. There are a lot of misconceptions about these two roles, but it’s important to understand the difference before you hire someone to help you with your space. Here are the details and some common misconceptions.

October 23, 2018

It’s more than just picking out pillows.

In the vague and mystical world of architecture and design, many misconceptions arise about the daily life of a designer. Here at Board & Vellum, we try to be as transparent and authentic as possible, drawing open the curtain so that our clients can peer into our world and get a better understanding of what we do.

There is a common misconception that interior designers are just the style-makers and curators for a home's decor. That we are snobby, sleek, full of opinions, and that we pick out $100-per-square-foot tile, and shop at boutique furniture stores for sourcing. It makes us sound like our services are highly unattainable and we spend our days shopping for pillows and drapes on your dime.

While there could be some interior designers that fit this stereotype, we want to set the record straight: not all interior designers fit that mold.

Not that we don’t enjoy picking out those finishing pieces like pillows, décor, and paint. We fully believe these touches enhance the overall foundational design work and can really tie different elements in a space together. But we are more than just color wizards and fabric gurus. And, we are by no means only a service for the rich and famous.

“Interior Designer” is a term that commonly gets misused for “Interior Decorator.” Depending on the location, certain states have restrictions on who can legally be called an interior designer, and who can't. Interior designers and interior architects have formal schooling associated with the trade, while interior decorators have the styling ability associated with the role, but no educational degree.

Interior designers are trained and skilled in the technical sides of design. From space planning and elevations, to detail drawings and permitting, we are equipped to handle this analytical and technical work, both for residential and commercial projects. We are familiar with code restrictions, construction documents, and ADA guidelines.

Interior design also offers creative problem solving for all budgets. Cost isn’t always indicative of a well-designed space, and we here at Board & Vellum love a good challenge, coming up with innovative ideas that are beautiful yet save clients a few bucks. We get that everyone can’t afford Italian-made tile (neither can we), and we focus on making design accessible for everyone.

Even if you are working with an architect, having an interior designer on the team is a huge benefit to the project. Due to our schooling and training, we offer a different perspective, which helps strengthen the overall design of the project.

One of the ways interior designers can be of service to your project is that we spend a lot of care to explore the psychology and emotions of people. Interior design engages people. It focuses heavily on the emotional responses that are triggered by design. Whether it’s looking into how to make users to stay longer in a restaurant or café, or creating a home office that helps someone be more productive and focused, interior designers understand the reasoning behind design choices and are trained to find applications of design to further enhance a project or a client’s specific goals.

At Board & Vellum, we take full advantage of the range of what we as interior designers can do. Whatever your project may be, let us help space plan, brand, problem solve, create, and yes, even pick out a few pillows.

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Considering a project? Or, just curious about something?

Send us your questions about design, architecture, interiors, landscape, LEGO rooms… Anything, really. We’re always eager to meet new people, and we’d love to get to know you, your project, and your goals.

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