Design Specialists glossary

Taking a renovation project from dream to reality requires professionals who can transform a client's rough sketches and wish list into a workable plan that fits within the allotted budget. Learn about what each role means.

Designer working on colour schemes and architectural plans with the help of a tablet and a computer
ARTICLE Patricia Moore with the help of renovation specialist Tim Walters


An architect will have a formal tertiary degree in Architecture. The architect will be able to develop and deliver drawings and a suitable design to solve the needs of the homeowner, as discussed with the renovation specialist. The architect will have a LBP (Licensed Building Practitioner) license so that plans can be submitted to council for the build to commence. 
An architect must be registered with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) and hold a practicing certificate issued by the NZRAB.

Architectural Designer/Draughtsperson/Draftsperson

Architectural designers and draughtsman/draftsman specialise in building design to develop ideas passed on from the renovation specialist. There is no technical difference between an architectural designer and draughtsman/draftsman. He/She will be familiar with all requirements around the building code and local authority building and resource consents and can hold a tertiary qualification. However, without an architectural degree they cannot call themselves architects. While licensing is not required, many architectural designers or draftsman are represented by Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) and will have different levels of a LBP (Licensed Building Practitioner) license. 
Specialists working on architectural plans on a tablet with coffee on the table

Colour Consultant:

A colour consultant provides a professional colour scheme or palette across a home to create a harmonious flow involving walls, flooring, furnishings, window dressings and finishing touches in kitchens and bathrooms. This is done by determining the best colour combinations, colour effects and textures that complies with the brief the renovation specialist has provided. 
Colour consultation services are often offered by retailers of paint and wallpaper and soft furnishings.

Interior Architect/Designer:

Interior architecture or design has evolved as interior decorators widened their range of activities from creating an aesthetically pleasing environment to one where the focus is on everything that affects the users of the space. An interior architect designs the interior layout, while considering the existing structural design and human function that it will deliver for the homeowners. 
An interior architect/designer will usually hold a tertiary degree and will have background knowledge around the restrictions to consider in resource and consent application processes.

Interior Decorator:

Interior decorators focus on the aesthetics of the finished project, rather than the design or layout. An interior decorator will advise on the use of colours, textiles and textures, and source furniture and decorative items.
A key attribute for an interior decorator is the ability to understand a client’s personality and lifestyle. While interior decorating does not require formal training decorators will typically hold a qualification such as a diploma.
Design specialists smiling and working together on a project

Lighting Designer:

The lighting design process involves planning the lighting for a home or commercial premises. This may include both natural light and lighting systems, the choice of which depends very much on the activities being carried out in a particular area.
The services of a lighting designer are frequently provided by lighting specialists.

Spatial Designer:

Spatial design is effectively the design of human environments; as such it includes aspects of architecture, interior design and landscape design. A comparatively new discipline, spatial designers working in the architectural area may be involved in everything from structural alterations to aesthetic elements such as furniture, fixtures and fittings.

Get inspiration for your renovation project by visiting our Case Studies or Design Ideas

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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