A colleague of mine, John Trosko of Organizing LA, recently posted in Facebook about having a conversation on who to bring in first – a designer or organizer. His statement was pretty cool, and prompted me to write about this. He says,

I think the difference is […] the organizer TRANSFERS skills to the client and just does not ‘do-it’ for them, leaving clients with a take-away of independence versus dependence. Then, the interior designer can work their magic and make it truly beautiful!”

Although he’s referring to designers, not decorators, he made a pretty powerful statement there, in a rather nonchalant way. So, I wanted to elaborate on this.

First, I want to clarify the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator. They both do mostly the same thing – design new spaces – however it’s the Designer who has a college degree and studied about architecture. Whereas, the Decorator doesn’t require a college degree to practice decorating,, and typically gains there skills from an already inherent knack and personal study (just like a professional organizer!).

When I first established HandyGirl, it was about helping people get organized. As years moved on, I discovered that after clearing the clutter, clients could actually see their room clearly, as if for the first time. And, many of them decided to go all the way and improve the space even more – rearranging furniture, replacing furniture, removing old stuff to bring in new, giving the room a fresh look with new paint, and adding splashes of new home decor.

That next step led me to an in-depth study on interior decorating, as I was pretty much winging it on all the above room improvements! At least I started with a sense of style to pull off some drastic room changes and carry me into the next level of my evolving profession- study interior decorating!

Well, thank goodness for Candice Olsen of Divine Design! I recorded and watched every show (plus Design On A Dime)! I bought every cool book I could find on the subject. I picked up every interesting magazine about it. I was so ready.

That’s when my service Room Makeovers was born.

It’s interesting though, this evolution of my profession came as a natural step because, after tackling organization issues, it was time to (as John put it) work some magic and make the space more beautiful.

I began focusing on color schemes, wall art, fabric, room arrangements, and overall space options.

Often times, I find that organizing and decorating go hand-in-glove, especially while I’m assessing the issues and recommending solutions. The disorganized person became that way because they didn’t have solutions in place – like having a place for everything – so stuff ended up everywhere and anywhere. These days, it’s just as easy to buy stylish stuff as it is plastic, if it’s not for a storage area.

So, for solutions to blend in with the person’s style, it was clear that they would need stylish solutions. And, ones that blended with their environment.

For instance, if a particular desk isn’t working well to keep the person well organized, than they need a new one. And, it’s typically the Organizer who knows what’s needed in having a functional desk for that person’s needs. The Decorator would be able to select a desk based on those needs, and one that fits in the space and looks great for it, too. The Organizer would, of course, make sure the person has all the necessary desk accessories and paper management tools to create a place for everything!

I have to say that, sometimes when I watch these decorating shows that transform a cluttered, disorganized home office into a new space, that the area looks good, but often lacks what’s needed to keep the person organized! I’ve seen design makeovers where the person lost filing cabinet space, so where did all those files go, and where will new files end up?!

You’ll find some stylish solutions in my article “Creative and Decorative Organizing Solutions” at The Organized Home Club site. I wrote,

Hiding clutter (ok, stuff!) is better than ever now. There are so many pretty accent-type furnishings that store stuff, each providing a decorative touch to any room. […] Now, more than ever before, the store shelves are lined with decorative storage solutions to organize the home or office. Even shelf baskets are becoming more decorative and designed for grouping like-items together on a shelf.”

There are photos that show some decorative storage solutions in that article.

All in all, it’s the Organizer who can determine organization solutions and make the space functional, while the Decorator can transform the space into something moreĀ  beautiful. And sometimes those two people are one person (like me)!

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