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Home design and styling tend to run together or the lines separating the two have become very blurred to many. While people tend to think they are the same, home design and styling are two different specialized areas. Although they are separate, when done correctly, the styling of a space will accentuate the design of the home.

Designers are responsible for planning how the space is used in forming the aspects of a home design. Think functionality of a home, not just how it looks, but how each room flows into another, how a room is laid out and the size. Do you really need two staircases leading to the second floor? Or can that space be utilized as a larger pantry for the kitchen or help achieve a larger laundry and mud room? Hiring on an interior designer should begin at the same time a build plan is in process. Having your designer work alongside your builder from the beginning can save you both time and money.

An interior stylist is someone who helps the client to bring their own individual style and uniqueness to their home. A successful project shows a style that is a combination of the stylists signature aesthetic and a clients taste and requirements. A stylist will help with a color scheme, the choosing and purchase of furniture and to accessorize the space.

Design will turn a structure into a functional space for a client, styling will draw upon the design of a room and needs/wants of a client and give the individual style, uniqueness and custom look to a home.

Who do you need to hire for your project? If structural changes are needed (think the moving plumbing, taking down a wall or the addition of doors or windows), then an interior designer is the better choice. Designers can help plan for the structural changes and help make them happen by working directly with the builder or architect. If aesthetic help is only needed, deciding on wallpaper, paint, lighting, flooring, furnishings, accessories… an interior stylist is the way to go. Experienced stylists know what works together and can help transform a space for clients.

It is important to note that choosing the right professional largely depends on their skills and the job. Many designers spend large amounts of their time styling and there can be just as many stylists, who, through long experience, are capable of working with contractors and builders like a titled designer would be.

When deciding on hiring a designer or stylist, begin by clearly understanding your own needs and project scope before looking for a professional with a proven record who can help you meet those needs.