By Mikaela Meyering
Interior decorator vs. interior designer – seems pretty interchangeable right? Both create the design envy you feel when scrolling through social media or watching HGTV. But the difference is what goes on before the pillows, rugs, paint colors, etc. are all selected. Our Instagram post from a few weeks ago is the perfect introduction to this post. We posted a picture of a floor plan I had drawn (shown below), along with the crazy notes I took while measuring to get to that point. The plan was to knock down a few walls, and we needed to know the space we had to work with to create a plan. But because there were no existing construction documents, we had to draw our own.
When I explain what I do to friends and family, I usually use the phrase “interior architecture” – because designers take the whole of a building, and work with all of it. That means a solid understanding of construction techniques, plumbing, electric, and more. We not only provide the contractor, plumber and electricians with accurate drawings, we have to be able to articulate ideas so they can come to life. In college, I had a building codes class where our “textbook” was the current International Building Code and all we did was go over the different types of codes and what they mean. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I surprisingly never fell asleep in that class. The level of detail required for my job is my passion, and it is these types of things that really differentiate a designer from a decorator.
Most of a designer’s time is spent before the “pretty” part – it is determining a functional floor plan. For instance, we determine what walls can be moved, or if our lighting plan will create a comfortable working environment for the space. It’s like a giant puzzle with more than one solution, and it’s what made me fall in love with this profession even more. Next time you walk into a new restaurant or are looking for inspiration on Pinterest, I encourage you to pay attention to the details. How many hours did it take behind the scenes to figure out the puzzle?