As a trained Interior Designer (I have a Bachelor of Applied Arts, Interior Design, from Ryerson University) and having worked in both the commercial and residential side of the business for nearly twenty years, I have definitely seen a lot of confusion over what an interior designer/decorator/stylist/designer or stager does in relation to each other. And who do you hire for your own home?
The business of residential design has become more complicated over the years as clients try to figure out who best suits the type of work they require in their space. This is where I believe that membership in different and specific associations matters.
Not all ‘designers’ are specifically “Interior” designers. This title is reserved specifically for those who have been schooled (3 to 4 years), practiced (3 to 4 years) and have written exams to earn the full title, “Interior Designer”. In the province of Ontario, they are members of ARIDO – Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario. This designate will follow their name. In my case my title is “Intern, ARIDO” after my name which indicates I am a member of the association with all qualifications except my final industry exams.
For those who are Interior Decorators, they too have an association to which they can belong, CDECA, the Canadian Decorator’s Association which again has qualifications which each member must produce in order to join.
Another important association that designers often belong to is National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) if they do work within this category. In fact they may even be a Designated Kitchen Planner which indicates they have studied and passed certain planning and design concepts to receive this designation.
There are other memberships which exist that design professionals will belong where they will receive current information and new training should they need it related to their specific aspect of the design profession. These are often locally based within a particular state or province. (There is an association for Professional Stagers for instance.)
As a consumer looking for a design professional to work within your home, checking what membership a designer or decorator belongs to can tell you how committed they are to the industry. Although membership associations can’t necessarily remove a member it is important to note that design professionals who are committed to the industry in the long run want to stay in good standing and be respected by their piers within that organization. Membership shows commitment.
Often these memberships can tell you who belongs to them and can even refer you to a particular firm or member if you require guidance.
I am proud to say Jane Lockhart Interior Design is a member of the Ontario Chapter of the NKBA, CDECA and I am a member of ARIDO, Intern.