Many of us may consider ourselves to be good at choosing colour schemes or incorporating particular themes into our homes, but there’s a bigger difference between decorating and designing than you might think. Whilst an interior decorator seeks to inject personality and style into a room through furnishing a space with eye-catching items and enhancing it with specially selected colours, patterns and textiles, the job of an interior designer goes far deeper.

Interior decorators require no formal training, often relying on their innate sense of creativity and flair for colour to guide them in their development of an inside space. Designers, however, have been professionally educated to fully understand and appreciate the art and even ‘science’ behind the enhancement of a room.

Taking into account human behaviour and habit, they anticipate the need for functional design and effective use of space, whilst also endeavouring to create stylish and aesthetically pleasing inside areas. Unlike decorators, interior designers are not simply involved in the final stages of dressing a room – their role begins long beforehand. These professionals will often work alongside architects in the early stages of a project and become heavily involved at the very beginning of the remodelling process.

Designers are included in the research and planning stages as well as in the coordination and management of the project as it unfolds. It’s likely that they will also be influential in the conceptual development, spacial planning and, of course, the final execution of the design as a whole. So how did this pivotal role of the designer come to be such an integral part of our modern day architectural process?

A little bit of history….

In the past, interior decoration was generally the concern of the homemaker, with upholsterers or craftsmen sometimes being employed to give a little stylistic or artistic advice. In fact, interior design was not widely recognised as a profession in its own right until relatively recently.

The industrial revolution of the eighteen century gave rise to unprecedented economic growth in Britain which, as a result, increased the general standard of living and enabled the middle class in particular to grow in both size and prosperity. A newfound desire to reflect this rising wealth within the four walls of their homes led to already thriving furniture firms offering new interior design and management services. This then gave way to the emergence of a few independent interior designers until the middle of the twentieth century when houses began to become a lot more reflective of individual taste and interior design finally arose as a recognised and respected profession. In fact it was only after the end of the Second World War, during the fifties and sixties, that spending on our homes dramatically increased, thus securing interior design a valid and secure place amongst the list of reputable professional careers.

And now….

With different styles, patterns, colours and textures to choose from, making a decision about your interior is a lot more difficult than it once was, yet with so much scope and opportunity to make a difference in your home there’s no question that recent designs provide style and sophistication if you choose wisely.

Over the next few weeks we will explore some of the best known designer paints so whether you are an interior decorator or designer, you can keep up with the latest trends.