Under Florida law, an Interior Designer is permitted to do some light contracting, including installing cabinetry and flooring. Interior Designers are regulated by the Florida Department of Business Regulation ("DBPR"). Contractors, on the other hand, are permitted to complete an entire renovation job. Contractors are also regulated by the DBPR. In Florida an individual who wishes to engage in the business of interior design but who does not meet the qualifications to be an interior designer under the DBPR is a decorator. Decorators are allowed to make paint and fabric decisions and install furniture.
Interior Designer vs Decorator
Under the requirements set forth by the DBPR, to register as an Interior Designer, the person who wishes to engage in this type of business must complete a lengthy application form. This form requires the person to include such information as education background and work experience. While the DBPR requires anyone who does both residential and commercial interior design to be registered, it is not necessary for a person who only does residential interior design to be registered with the DBPR. However, to use the term "Interior Designer" in marketing or otherwise, the individual must meet the qualifications as an Interior Designer.
Interior Designer vs Contractor
An interior designer is not allowed to perform functions reserved for contractors. This includes such tasks as paying sub-contractors, billing the client, ordering fixtures for the property, and directly hiring sub-contractors. This list is not exhaustive. When an interior designer engages in activities that are outside what is permitted for an interior designer, the interior designer becomes liable to the client for money damages. In addition, the interior designer may be charged criminally.
Additional resources provided by the author
Florida Statutes Chapter 489
Florida DBPR Architecture and Design Licensing Portal
Florida DBPR Construction Contractors
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