Quite often the job of the interior design consultant is confused with the job of an interior decorator. In fact, they are vastly different. While the interior decorator tends to be concerned with the colour schemes and decorative look and feel of a space, the interior design consultant takes part in the planning, design and the types of required furnishings of a space. This will include the interior of a home, office building, hotel accommodations, restaurants or any other building. The interior designer would be needed to design plans that are functional, visually agreeable and appropriate to the practicalities, uses and location of the area. In addition to technical and drawing knowledge, the interior designer will also project manage the design project, and act is the prominent source of liaison between the contractors, builders and owner of the buildings.
Interior design consultants meet with their customer or the owner of the building to determine the financial plan, the requirements of the space and the expectancies of the parties involved. A design is then put together alongside a project plan with a timeline and a budget, and proposed to the stakeholders, before any work is done. A good explanation of the design and reasoning behind certain expenditures is sometimes required. The progress and process of the building designs are then project managed by the interior designer. It is the responsibility of the interior designer to ensure that all the development takes place within given budgets and time constraints. Quite often a large number of regular meetings and visits to the building location is required.
The typical interior design consultant would be in possession of a relevant diploma or university degree, and thorough knowledge and experience in technical drawing and design, artistry, construction of buildings and safety principles are required. Other skills that are needed include the ability to work with clients, project management, and logistical organisation. The ability to function in an administrative capacity is also key.
Areas of specialization can also vary – some interior designers choose to work with one or more particular elements or industries, for instance, some people prefer to work only on hotels and are extremely knowledgeable about this area of work. Specialised design generally pays better but there is more work for generalists.