Interior decorators plan and implement decoration schemes for homes, offices, shops and professional rooms. Decorators consider the use to which the area will be put, as well as the budget and the taste of the client.
Interior decorators advise clients on the selection of colour schemes, layout, lighting, furniture, floor coverings, curtains, paint, wallpaper and hardware products (e.g. curtain fittings). After visiting clients’ premises to observe and study existing conditions and to take measurements, they provide sketched designs, specifications and cost estimates to clients for their approval. Once an agreement has been reached, they supervise and coordinate the installation and arrangement of furniture and furnishings.
They may be involved in direct selling if working in a retail shop. Decorators in shops also advise buyers and executives on style and colour trends in interior furnishings.
Interior decorators use colours harmoniously and effectively, while working with architects, interior designers and homeowners to provide expert advice on the variation and effect of using colours and shades.
Clients depend on interior decorators to make their homes and offices as pleasant as possible and might even give them the freedom to plan the entire layout of the decor of a high-rise building or hotel. This would include furnishings, curtains, paint and the other colour touches needed to enhance each room.
When working with architects and given the task of decorating a residential home, for example, an interior decorator is given a copy of the blueprints and consults the owners of the property before studying the structure and deciding on a plan of action. Factors that would have to be taken into consideration would be the size of the rooms, the desired effects and the cost of all the decorating materials. Thus, knowledge of what wallpapers, paints and wall and ceiling finishes are available is essential in order to procure the necessary materials and to decide on the quantities required. If furnishings are needed, the interior decorator would visit retail or wholesale stores with the client and suggest suitable furniture, curtaining, carpets and so on.
Some interior decorators design furniture to be used in various settings. A few decorators work on stage sets to be used in film or television studios; these designers are known as set designers or set decorators.
This career requires a definite artistic talent. It is never easy to choose furnishings, colour and decorating aids for other people. A flair for colour, initiative and a knowledge of technical matters relating to bricks, tiles, undercoats, types of paint and so on are necessary to be successful in interior decorating.
Interior decorators sometimes have to work extended or irregular hours to meet clients’ needs. Working conditions may involve quite a lot of travelling and shopping as well as time spent in the office designing decors. This is a people-orientated career and prospective candidates need to be prepared to spend time with clients and be able to change or alter ideas until solutions are found that are mutually satisfying to all parties.
Interior decorators work in a variety of work settings. They may work in their offices or in the homes and offices of their clients. They may also work in stores and showrooms where furniture and other accessories are sold. A few work in television or motion picture studios or in theatres.
Degree: BA Fine Arts - all universities.
Diploma: N.Dip: Interior Design - CPUT, DUT, TUT, UJ, NMMU. Fine Arts - CUT, DUT, TUT, VUT.
Certificate: Port Elizabeth TVET College
A National Higher Diploma: Interior Design, can be achieved with a further one year’s study
In-service training is also possible with practising interior decorators
Some training in interior decorating is included in Home Economics degrees or diploma courses offered by universities
Interior decorating firms
Universities of technology