Much more to designers’ brief

A PERCEPTION that interior designers are simply decorators that fluff up cushions and put paint on the walls, has long been the overriding impression of the industry.

However, ID Interior Designers managing director Helena Farrell said those were just a couple of the roles an interior designer played.

Ms Farrell believes that misconception stems from most people not understanding the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator.

She feels that people do not realise or appreciate the extent of work interior designers carry out such as space planning, drawing, documentation, specifications, project management and project coordination.

“We don’t just pick a few finishes and paint colours for people, which a lot of people tend to think is all we do,” Ms Farrell said

She said the industry needed some sort of regulation, as most people did not understand that an interior designer had a formal university qualification and, as such, interior design firms operate as professional service providers.

An interior decorator, however, often has a TAFE qualification or none at all.

Ms Farrell believes the industry should adopt a model similar to that used by architects that requires all architects to be registered.

She said this would help alleviate instances where unqualified backyard operators obtained work and were unable to deliver the required service.

“You should have one of two things. You should have been in the industry long enough to establish a good experience range, where you have successful work to back you up, or you should have a qualification together with experience,” Ms Farrell said.

Marshall Kusinski Design Consultants director Kathleen Kusinski believes the general public have a slightly better understanding of the industry.

However, she feels many people still do not understand that qualified interior designers provide a holistic service and coordinate and document the whole design and fit-out process for their clients.

“I think that quite often clients aren’t aware that we do a full documentation for a project, which is similar to an architectural firm … the interior designer will look after the coordination of all of the sub-consultants, as well as the interior finishers,” Ms Kusinski said.

She said the interior design industry was seeking recognition as a profession.

Ms Kusinski believes the industry needs to promote that interior design is quite different to architecture and interior decorating, and that it is an industry that stands on its own.

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