Designer, Decorator or Stylist? What's the difference?

Are you an interior designer? I get asked this often and the answer is no. I am not. Interior designers have a degree in design and if I had been more in tune with my passions when I was a freshmen or sophomore, I probably would have switched majors. You'd think my roommates would have mentioned after the 10th time I repositioned the bunk beds and fluffed all of our bedding that something was up. Many weekends I'd say, "let's rearrange the room!" And everyone would look at me like I was crazy and maybe I was (just a little bit.) Looking back, I can see clearly that while my friends were interested in partying and scoring the cutest guy at the frat party, I was wondering if  TJ Maxx (HomeGoods didn't exist then) had any cute dorm accessories or fun pillows to brighten up my space. Obsessed? Yes! You could say so.

Because I get asked this often, I thought I'd clear up some gray area when it comes to design. Interior designers have a degree in design or interior architecture from a 4-year university. Most have taken the NCIDQ, have a studied art history, architecture, furniture and industrial design and can also use design technology such as CAD. Designers also have skills in sketching, modeling and drafting, allowing them the knowledge to work directly with architects, deal with building permits and pretty much anything structural. One of my favorite designers is Nan Sloan from The Sitting Room. Nan is such good listener (key to successfully implementing your clients vision) and  able to work with architects to create the perfect home. Oh and The Sitting Room is darling!!

So what is an interior decorator? A decorator is someone who understands pattern, color and style. They can draw a floor plan for your room-picking out fabrics, furniture and paint colors that suit your taste and style. I believe that interior decorators are the golden touch to bringing personality to your home! When it comes to decorating, I believe that you either have a good design eye or you don't. So schooling in this area isn't really needed. Some of the best decorators I know, never went to school for design, but good decorators do-however stay up to date on trends, classic decor and listen carefully to their clients wishes for their home. Keep in mind that no formal training is needed for this area of design, so a lot of people can call themselves,"decorators." In the past, I have done some decorating for friends and love the thrill of changing a room by just moving a piece from here to there, changing a wall color or picking out a new fabric to update a tired piece. More often than not, you just need a fresh eye to see a room in a new way. My strengths (and I've learned this over time ) are small vignettes; bookshelves, side tables, night stands, mantles. And that currently, may fall more into the styling category.

Interior stylist! What do they do? A stylist is like a decorator in the sense that they are both interested in making a space beauftul, but a stylist takes it a step further and looks at the dressing of a space and often the entertaining value of room. Stylist tend to focus on smaller areas or niches. Think of a photographer taking a photo...Everything in the picture frame has to be perfectly dressed. That is what a stylist does. Currently, on my instagram @sweetshadylane I am styling corners, tables, counters, beds. Looking at a space through the lens of a camera and seeing the truth in it's design. If it's not styled properly, the camera will show it. My previous home was in Better Homes and Gardens and also, Midwest Living-both of those shoots came with an amazing stylist, Bonnie Broten who propped, perfected and made every picture count. I remember the first time I met her, I was like...I CAN DO THAT! And now with my instagram, I am. It's so much fun and feels so true for me that with every pictured published, my soul is instantly ignited with passion. 

What category do you fall into? Or what area of your home do you need help in? I'd be happy to give my two cents. Send me a picture and I'll send you my ideas. I want you to also experience coming to life through design! It's too much fun!

XO ~Heather