Décor & Design: A Definite Distinction
Potato-Potahto! Many people use these terms interchangeably believing they’re describing the same role. Turns out there’s a definite distinction between the two, so before you hire either, (and end up offending someone) here’s a breakdown on the two roles as well as some tips working with the designer or decorator of your dreams.
Interior design balances technical and creative elements to create design solutions that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. An interior designer is responsible for coming up with a layout for a space that’s based on their clients’ personal taste, the intended use of the space and its cohesion with the rest of the habitat.
An interior decorator on the other hand, is focused more on the finishing’s of a designed space. Depending on how well the space was designed to begin with, a decorator incorporates the style and needs of their client within the space.
Whether you’re taking on one room in your house or renovating your entire home, creating a cohesive look that represents your unique aesthetic while meeting your organizational needs is quite a task. Luckily, Johannesburg is brimming with interior designers who are both passionate and qualified to meet your design needs.
As a bustling city that seamlessly integrates local and international trends, Johannesburg is fast becoming a design hotspot on the African continent. With it’s global outlook and local implementation, the city is bursting at the seams with interior designers and decorators who have their finger on the pulse of international trends that can be incorporated locally.
Here are four general services you can expect from design professional:
1. Renovations. This can include overseeing construction, space planning, council submissions and detailed drawings. These design services tend to carry the more hefty price tag and Costs are based on how much time and effort required per task. Note that these quotes won't include the actual renovation costs—those would naturally vary depending on the scale of the job.
2. Design Concept. In a consultation, interior designers handle the overall design concept of the space making sure it fulfills their clients visual and functional requirements. An average cost for such consultations ranges between R150—R350 per hour.
3. Procurement. Here’s where it gets interesting. The interior designer then sets out to source all personnel, contractors and products agreed upon. And while juggling different service providers can be tricky in any industry, working in Johannesburg can be a lot easier than other cities in South Africa due to its global take on service provision and vast array of design options. This service is usually included in the cost of their retainer.
4. Interior décor. While some Interior designers choose to focus heavily on the architectural elements of revamping a space, most see the value (and fun) in including the décor aspects to their portfolios. As a client, you’d be wise to find a designer that offers a full house of services from start to finish in order to get the most bang for your buck. Alternatively, you could hire someone to consult on your project or completely handle the construction and city council phases to ensure you are up to code, while you take a stab at decorating yourself.
Since a decorator generally deals with the softer elements of design such as furniture, art and accessories, they are not required by law to operate with a license as their work does not have structural implications. However, an interior designer often works with architectural, lighting and irrigation aspects and so would need to be very familiar with national construction codes and regulations. In Johannesburg, designers are expected to be members of the The African Institute of the Interior Design Professions (IID) which is the only professional body representing the Interior Design industry in South Africa. As well as being registered with South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) which is a body that oversees architecture & construction in South Africa. When taking on a design project that requires any structural modifications, it’s essential to ensure that your interior designer is affiliated with the IID and licensed to operate in your city.
When revamping one's space, it’s important to do your research before hiring an interior designer or decorator. Use living in the digital age to your advantage and compare portfolios, read reviews and price check.
A few questions to first ask yourself:
1. What do you want your space to become?
2. What will it be used for?
3. What is your budget?
4. What is your personal style?
5. How much time do you have to work on this project?
A few questions to ask your potential designer:
1. Can you show me your design portfolio?
2. How long will the project take?
3. Do you charge an hourly or flat rate?
4. Do you have any referrals?
5. Are you registered with the SACAP & licenced to operate in Johannesburg?
6. Do they personally oversee each project?
When considering the fee structure, note that these can be split up throughout the various stages of the project. Generally, a 50%—70% deposit is required with the balance paid on completion of the project.
When considering working with an interior designer in Johannesburg it’s important to know that there are as many price points and taste levels as there are suburbs in Gauteng, so while it might take a little vetting, you will be able to find a designer who fits your specific needs.
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