The Top 5 Misconceptions of an Interior Designer


In this profession, we are frequently asked about what it is an Interior Designer actually does, and given the background of this field, it’s easy to understand how easily people get confused.  With the Chip and Joanna Gaineses of the world and the HGTV influence behind Interior Design, many people think of us as ‘Interior Decorators’, but that’s far from the reality of what it is that we actually do.

  1. DESIGN –  Our scope of work extends far beyond the task of picking out pretty pillows, rugs and draperies.  In a typical new-construction project, an architect is hired to create the shell of a home – from the exterior elevations, to the general layout of the interior and the construction details behind the walls.  But what most people may not know is that a true ‘Interior Designer’ is like the architect for the interior of the home. Not only are we trained to know building codes, ADA compliance and spacial awareness, but we help determine how the general workflow happens in a space.  In our ideal scenario, we work hand-in-hand with an architect to develop a plan that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also is extremely functional for the end user. Once the layout is finalized, then the real work starts for us.
  2. TECHNICAL TRAINING –  We have technical training, ranging from AutoCAD to Sketchup, we create detailed drawings with not only furnishings layouts but also tile patterns, cabinetry and mirror details, and custom carpentry elements.  Interior designers scale decorative lighting into elevations and floor plans so that we can determine the correct proportion and height. It’s not uncommon to see custom storage solutions detailed in drawings and meticulous excel spreadsheets that outline grout joint thicknesses and colors. It’s much more than a hobby or a “creative eye” – it’s a profession full of custom details and selections made for the discerning client.
  3. PRODUCT –  Interior designers handle every step of the procurement process – including ordering furnishings, art, and accessories.  We are here to manage the minute details, even when that console table comes in damaged five times or a custom sofa arrives two weeks early.  From managing purchase orders and payments to detailing custom elements and tracking orders to coordinating deliveries, interior designers oversee the process from start to finish.
  4. COST –  Our personalized approach begins with discovering each client’s individual needs, budget and style preferences. Etch provides as much or as little assistance as our clients desire, ultimately creating a stress-free and seamless design experience that will be appreciated for years to come.  Most interior designers bill hourly, collecting a retainer at the beginning of the project, which is applied to the final invoice. We use this model for new construction, remodels, and furnishings contracts. We also provide in-home consultations for a flat fee, which are helpful if you aren’t sure if full design services are needed or within your budget.
  5. FINISH LINE –  Interior designers take a client all the way from the drawing phase to art and accessories.  We oversee design implementation and address any concerns in the field. Upon construction completion, we begin to install furnishings and accessories, while you sit back and relax.  We take pride in crossing the finish line with our clients, and in most cases, our friendship lasts far beyond the last install. It’s an honor to serve our clients.