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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an interior designer?


“The professional interior designer is qualified by education, experience, and examination to enhance the function and quality of interior spaces for the purpose of improving the quality of life, increasing productivity, and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public”



What is the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator?

According to ASID, interior designers are professionally trained in space planning. In 23 states, they must pass a strict exam and be licensed. While both designers and decorators are concerned with aesthetics, style and mood, interior designers have comprehensive training and command skills that may include an understanding of:

  • flame spread ratings, smoke, toxicity and fire rating classifications and materials
  • space planning for public and private facilities
  • national, state and local building codes
  • standards regarding the needs of disabled or elderly persons and other special needs groups
  • ergonomics
  • lighting quality and quantity
  • acoustics and sound transmission

A decorator works only with surface decoration - paint, fabric, furnishings, lighting and other materials. Because no license is required, upholsterers, housepainters, and other trades people also claim the name "decorator."

ASID interior design consultants are trained to deal with more than the furnishings and finishes that go into making a space look wonderful. They use analytical problem-solving skills that focus on your needs and aspirations. Designers listen, understand and ultimately create a space that exceeds your expectations.



What is green design and why should I care?

Green design is design that goes beyond being just efficient, attractive, on time and on budget. It is a design that cares about how such goals are achieved, about its effect on people and on the environment. An environmentally responsible professional makes a commitment to constantly try to find ways to diminish design's impact on the world around us. It is also a smart way of doing business: sustainable design is the fastest growing segment of our industry.

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

- World Commission on Environment and Development in its report Our Common Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987):



What are sustainable design's common misconceptions?

It is more expensive than other types of design (not necessarily); there are not enough materials to work with (there are plenty, and new ones are launched every week); nobody is interested in green (from people concerned about the environment, to families with sick children, to business worried about lawsuits, more and more potential customers are inquiring about, and requesting, sustainable design).



What is Universal Design?


The term "universal design" is often applied in different ways but broadly refers to the concept that ideally all design (products, technologies and the built environment) should serve the broadest range of people, regardless of levels of ability or mobility, age, gender or physical stature without the need for adaptation or specialized design. It is not a design style but rather an orientation to design, focusing on the end-user.

* Above information from the ASID website:

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