#MostGoogledQuestions About Interior Designers

When most people think about hiring an interior designer, they zero in on beautification and decoration: paint colors, wallpapers, window treatments, and pillows. But that's just scratching the surface of what an interior designer can do. Interior designers go beyond cosmetic concerns to ensure that a space is harmonious, safe, economically viable, sustainable, and code compliant. Here are 5 Most Googled Questions about interior designers:

1.) What does an interior designer do?
You may have a clear vision for your space, but an interior designer can help you bring it to life while making sure it satisfies nitty-gritty considerations such as space planning and ergonomics. A trained eye and a creative mind-set allow for devising solutions that you might never have imagined, and attention to the tiniest details will transform your space into a haven that looks polished and pulled together.

Interior designers also make sure your interior spaces are code compliant as they are part of the building professions, inlcuding architects and engineers. Professions that involve “building” need to know certain codes, laws and regulations on safety, health and well-being; such as ventilation and fire safety. This all the more holds true for interior designing commercial and public spaces like malls, schools, concert halls, and gymnasiums.

2.) Why should my interior designer have to be licensed?
In the Philippines, in most states in the US, and in other European Union countries, interior design (otherwise known as “interior architecture” in the EU) is a regulated profession. Meaning, practice of the profession requires registration and/or license. The Republic Act 10350, otherwise known as the “Philippine Interior Design Act of 2012” mandates the regulation and licensing of Filipino interior designers. This regulation is meant to protect consumers from unskilled tradesmen. The law also holds licensed interior designers liable for their commissioned projects for a maximum of one (1) year, which may not be applicable to unregulated practitioners.

3.) What is the best way to hire an interior designer?
The best way to hire an interior designer is to ask for the designer’s portfolio, profile and professional license identification. Interior Designers are not allowed to render professional services without compensation except for small, civic or community projects. They shall neither offer nor provide preliminary services on a conditional basis prior to definite agreement with the client for the commission of the projects. 

Interior Designers are also discouraged to compete with other interior designers on the basis of difference of professional charges, nor use donation as a device for obtaining competitive advantage except for worthy civic projects. Neither shall they submit solicited or unsolicited sketches or drawings in competition with other interior designers unless agreed upon by the parties involved (Interior Designers’ Code of Ethics).

4.) Why can’t I just hire an architect or an interior decorator?
To make things clear, the words “interior design” and “interior designer” are regulated by the Philippine Government just as the words “architecture” and “architect” are also. Only natural license holders can use the title appropriately. Architects cannot claim they are interior designers, and vice versa, unless they are a holder of both licenses. For comparison, a Filipino architect has 2 units only of interior design education in college (CHED CMO 71 s.2017), while an interior designer has a total of 4 years of interior design specialized education. An interior designer is specifically trained to employ evidence-based interior designs, codes and regulations for interior spaces. There is only so much an architect can do. Clearly, architectural jobs require an architect, while interior design jobs require the expertise of an interior designer. 

When you hire an interior designer, it is expected that the person has gone through formal schooling (education), training, apprenticeship (experience), and licensing (examination). Hiring an interior decorator does not guarantee you a person who has gone through the rigors an interior designer is qualified for. All interior designers can decorate, but not all interior decorators are qualified to design. When you hire an interior designer you are assured of building code compliance, civil liability and professional identification. How do you distinguish a decorator from an interior designer? You simply ask for their license. But that does not mean an interior decorator is inferior, you just have to address the professional appropriately.

5.) Is hiring an interior designer expensive?
A huge misconception that prevents people from contacting their local designer for aid is that that only the rich can afford interior designers. The truth is a true and talented interior designer will work within your budget. Most designers offer services per diem, hourly or daily, which is applicable if you only need help with one room, or choosing the right paint color or accessories. 

I published a research regarding the way interior designers in Cebu charge. I beg to disagree on this one based on a published research I have done, well in Cebu that is. If one compares the fees and the scope of work for hiring an event stylist or a couturier in Cebu, an interior designer’s fee would not vary that much. I would like to reiterate that interior designers are licensed professionals (guaranteed 4 years schooling from a CHED accredited institution, complete with PRC registration), and the delivery of services range from signed and sealed drawings, to project supervision, down to finishing touches such as home accessories. For further comparison, an interior designer’s commissioned work is intended for long term, while an event stylist’s or a couturier’s may be for an event only. A well-designed space also increases real estate value, and contributes to the economy of commercial spaces by attracting clients and customers. Designers are also hired for such jobs as heritage conservation, adaptive reuse, accessibility compliance, and sustainable design. Truth be told, the benefits of hiring an interior outweigh the financial remuneration.

The International Federation of Interior Designers (IFI) advocates, “supporting the human dignity of all people through Interior Design by changing the perception that design remains the domain of an elite segment of the world’s population; and encouraging professional designers to use their best abilities as creators and innovators to solve social and environmental problems."