What Does a Residential Designer Do?

An interior designer is professionally trained to create a functional and quality interior environment. Qualified through education, experience and examination, a professional designer can identify, research and creatively resolve issues and lead to a healthy, safe and comfortable physical environment.

A decorator fashions the "look" of a space and its outward decoration—paint, fabric, furnishings, light fixtures and other materials. In addition to enhancing the total visual environment, an interior designer creates a space that is functional, efficient and safe.

Among the many areas of expertise a professional designer commands are

  • Space planning and utilization, including organizational and storage needs
  • Long-term project and lifestyle planning
  • National, state and local building codes
  • Safety and accessibility
  • Ergonomics
  • Design for people with special needs
  • Conservation and “green” design
  • Historic restoration
  • Interior detailing of background elements, such as wall and ceiling designs
  • Custom design of furniture, drapery and accessories
  • Selection of appliances, plumbing fixtures and flooring materials
  • Acoustics and sound transmission
  • Audiovisual and communication technology
  • Construction documents and specifications

For more information, see the definition of interior design developed by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, as well as an explanation of the differences between interior design and decorating.