What is an Interior Designer?

The profession of interior design requires specialized education, knowledge, qualification, and training and extends far beyond aesthetic concerns to matters of public health, safety, and welfare.

Sometimes confused with the occupation of interior decorating, professional interior designers can be distinguished by their successful fulfillment of several criteria including:

  • Education (minimum 4 year’s of education in interior design and/or architecture),
  • Experience (minimum three years practice in the field in Nova Scotia), and
  • Examination (NCIDQ Examination and Certification which includes verifying competent application of building systems, codes, and construction standards).
  • Must be a Registered Member or Non-Resident Registered Member of IDNS.
  • Carries liability insurance
  • Participates in ongoing professional development
  • Upholds a professional code of ethics and standard of practice


Interior design includes:

  • Analysis, planning, design, documentation, and management of interior non-structural/non-seismic construction and renovation projects
    oEnsuring  compliance with applicable building design and construction, fire, life-safety, and energy codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines for the purpose of obtaining a building permit, as allowed by law.

Interior Designers:

  • Must be qualified by means of education, experience, and examination.
  • Have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect consumers and occupants through the design of code-compliant, accessible, and inclusive interior environments that address well-being, while considering the complex physical, mental, and emotional needs of people.

Official definition of Interior Design developed by CIDQ, Council for Interior Design Qualification: Click here


  • analyse client needs, goals and context, both social and environmental;
  • develop a program based on information gathered;
  • integrate program information with knowledge of interior design to create preliminary   design concepts;
  • develop design concepts from preliminary through to final designs integrating client input;
  • present design recommendations through various presentation media, both visual and written;
  • prepare contract drawings and documents for interior construction as well as furnishings and equipment;
  • collaborate with other related professionals such as architects, engineers, exhibit designers, graphic designers, etc. to create fully integrated projects;
  • adhere to building, fire, accessibility and other applicable codes and submit contract documents to building officials for approval;
  • administer tendering processes for construction and/or furniture and equipment as clients representative;
  • provide site inspections during construction and monitor contractors progress to ensure a high quality result;
  • conduct post occupancy evaluations.

Besides working in an interior design firm, Interior Designers are employed in a variety of other work environments including architectural firms, government offices, health care facilities, financial institutes and numerous facilities departments in larger corporations.