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Supporters of Licensing
Interior design student Jill Roberson Awbrey shares her stance on the issue: "As an interior design student who has also practiced interior design prior to working towards a degree, I find some value [in licensing]. There is a big difference between decorating and designing. Any time you are dealing with building codes, there should be a license [requirement]. Decorating is a talent that cannot be learned through schooling, but architectural and structural elements should be taught, the same way as plumbing or electrical knowledge is taught."
Somewhere in the Middle
Others in the industry say a fine line distinguishes professional interior designers who are educated in surface maintenance, light fixture selection, fireproofing, soundproofing, material types and durability, and green issues, among other things, from decorators who may or may not have as much training but can compose a balanced, beautiful space. Green certified interior designer Tineke Triggs says that although she doesn't think it's necessary to have a license to decorate a home, it's important for an interior designer to have a licensed engineer or architect in the picture if structural materials are moved or remodeled. "Personally, I think experience is really the most important factor to consider," says Triggs.
A general contractor from Oasis Design and Remodeling says, "Good design is not just about throw pillows, it is about balance, scale, lighting, color, among other things. Some aspects of that are taught, some are innate." Houzz user cjbirk adds, "a license won't make a designer better, but in hiring a licensed designer, the client will be assured that the professional has met the minimum competency of the profession."
Houzzers, tell us: Should a license be required to practice interior design? Please share your thoughts below.