Business of Home: License and Registration, Please: Why Legislation of the Design Trade Matters
Perhaps the only thing more confusing than the state-by- state laws governing the work of interior design professionals is the plethora of definitions of what “interior design” entails. That question—What the heck is interior design, anyway?—is what led designers in the 1970s and ’80s to organize and advocate for regulation in the first place. It’s important to make one thing clear: No national regulations govern the interior design profession, and all interior design- related state laws exempt single-family homes—meaning there is no licensing requirement to practice residential interior design anywhere in the U.S. Nor is the label interior designer regulated. When they were first introduced, many state regulations included an attempt to control use of the phrase, but that legislative debate fizzled quickly. “Interior designer was such a wide variety of what people do and how they’re educated, that the effort to regulate it was met with a lot of resistance,” explains Emily Kelly.