Part 1: What You Didn’t Know About Interior Decorating, Building Code, and Design Standards

Interior Decorating vs Building Code: What you need to know!

I’m sure you’ve heard the term interior decorating and thought that’s just the simple function of putting colors, furniture, and accessories together.... you know the fun and pretty stuff.

But in fact Interior Decorating is so much more!

So we wanted to go over a few of the less talked about parts of our interior decorating projects and why selecting furnishings, decor, and styling your space is more than what you might think of as interior decorating and how its portrayed on TV. As part of our design process, we address issues and evaluate things that you might not even know of or have hear about because it’s part of our design process behind the scenes.

Note: Many of these issues can be found in building codes, technical bulletins, and other documents that govern interior decorating and interior design standards and principles.

What You Didn’t Know About Interior Decorating, Building Code, and Design Standards (PART 1):

1. Ergonomics and Anthropometrics:

The study of the human body, how it functions in relation to furnishings, the location of furnishings, and how it effects the design concept. If you have a desk job and have had back, neck, shoulder pain, your probably well aware of bad ergonomics and have researched to find out what you can do to make your desk job more comfortable. One piece of furniture may be perfect for one you and not for another person. Selecting furnishing is a process.

Designing a room can’t be done in a few hours or a quick 15 minutes in a game on your phone.

Size, scale, proportion, and the dimensions of furniture are part of the analysis process during a project. Ergonomics and anthropometrics play a large role in the design process when selecting products.

2. Flammability:

You might have seen some decorating programs that specialize in low budgets. They sometimes use unconventional materials in unique ways in an attempt to save money and create an interesting interior. Although these may be inspiring, some of the materials and their applications don’t meet flammability standards even for residential application. With commercial application, building code has even more strict flammability standards with items and their placement within a space such as upholstered furniture, art, and window treatments down to even the foam in furniture.

However, if your a residential client its important to know that as recent as the 2016 Building Code has ventured deeper into minimum standards for residential code and we should expect this to continue.

Building code talks about decorative materials, draperies, wall coverings and egress. And while many hobbyist interior decorators are great at putting together a space, we recommend hiring a professionally educated interior designer to help you best achieve your design goals that will create a safe interior.

3. Space Application:

Materials and products have intended space application set by manufacturers that should not be ignored. Building code also set standards for where and the amount of furnishings, art, and draperies can be in a room for all building classifications not just commercial buildings. Space application limits also includes whether an item is meant for outdoor use, the location of lighting, furniture meant for one building classification and using it in another, or using items that aren't meant to be used as furniture or home decor at all.

Just because you can buy it doesn’t mean it can be installed anywhere in your home.

Also, the alteration of pre-manufactured materials to fit a space and function in a different way than intended by the manufacturer which can often happen in interior decorating diy projects. Stay safe and make sure your decorator is reviewing these standards when selecting items for your home.

If your decorator is helping you select tiles, flooring, or other materials that are permanently installed, following building code and reading specs sheets is essential to creating a safe interior. Specifying a product for a particular application is that is not recommended can cause safety issues for you the homeowner. An educated designer will review the product specs and know what they are looking for.

In Short (For Now): A professionally educated interior designer not only has the talent but the knowledge from their design program and the trade resources you need for your interior decorating project!

And this is the end of Part 1 in our 3 part series...

With Part 2, we go into other health and safety concerns with interior decorating. So please come back.