Interior design

Hiring a designer or an interior architect?

If you want to change the look of your interior, it is not easy to find your way around all these professionals. Architect, interior architect, designer, decorator… it sometimes seems that they all do the same thing.

However, each one has a well-defined area of expertise, so what are the differences between a designer and an interior architect? What kind of services do they offer and at what price? And where can you find the right one? In this article, we try to give you some answers to your questions.

What is the difference between an interior architect and a designer?

An interior designer or decorator is an expert in the enhancement of spaces and design. He or she plays with colours, room space, materials, furniture design and lighting to bring out the client’s desired atmosphere.

He or she is always on the lookout for the latest trends in accessories, styles, design and furnishings, and will implement his or her ideas while respecting the function of the building (flat, house, office, shop), without making any structural changes.

The core business of an interior architect is the design, architecture and layout of spaces according to the dimensions, technical feasibility and safety of the building.

In contrast to the interior designer, he has the possibility to carry out structural changes, renovation, knocking down a wall to gain space, creating a partition or installing stairs for the interested client.

How to become an interior designer?

How do you choose between a designer and an interior architect?

This will depend on the work and the project to be carried out. If you only want to refresh your interior design, give the impression of a larger space with design or more light without touching the walls or the foundations, it is more appropriate to turn to a designer.

However, if your plan includes major work such as creating a secondary room or installing a terrace or mezzanine, you will need the services of an interior designer.

How much will they cost?

The cost of these two professionals varies according to several criteria, namely :

  • the level of service decided upon (advice, project coordination, purchase of furniture and accessories or all-inclusive);
  • the degree of complexity of the project to be carried out;
  • the skills and experience of the decorator or interior designer;
  • the initial budget set for the work.

This last point is very important if you are using an interior designer, as the cost of their services can range from 3% to 15% of the cost of the work excluding VAT. When the service only includes advice, count on 30 to 250 € per hour.

woman-design-planFor an interior decorator, the services are varied, ranging from consulting, training, shopping lists with address books, or taking full charge of the project.

Count on between 50 and 100 € per hour for advice and an average of 500 to 550 € per room to be decorated for a complete handling of the project. If you have several rooms to decorate in your house/apartment, you can ask for a reduced rate (promotion).

Please note that decorating a house, a flat or a workspace is not the same thing, so prices will certainly vary accordingly.

Where to find your designer or interior architect?

In France, in Paris or in the provinces, the profession of interior architect is fairly well regulated. The Order of Architects lists just over 30,000 qualified architects on its website, which is a good place to start your search.

You will also find many references on specialised websites. For example, the ArchiBien website offers you the opportunity to select the three interior architects most likely to meet your requirements, after writing a description of your project online, whether it be a complete renovation of a room, the layout of furniture, etc.

On the “Mon Maitre Carré” website you can also choose between several interior architects and designers carefully selected by the website team. The price is 25 €/m2, and there are additional costs for visiting the building and taking measurements.

An important point to keep in mind

Please note! Unlike the profession of interior designer, it is not necessary to have a diploma to work as a designer or decorator. Be sure to check out the website of your chosen decorator (a professional decorator will regularly update his or her website and take care to respond to comments). Don’t hesitate to have a look at their portfolio to see their previous creations, and to do some research on decorating websites to consult the customer’s opinion. As you can see, design and architecture are two different things.