Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator

So you’ve decided to make a few changes at home, and you realize that you’re going to need a bit of help. You begin looking for possible services and find that some professionals describe their work as interior design while others are interior decorators. Suddenly you are faced with a new question, “What is the difference?” And most importantly, “Which one do I need?”

Interior design and interior decoration are often confused as one thing, but these terms are not completely interchangeable. There are many similarities between the two jobs – so much so that opinions differ on exactly where to distinguish them. There are also more than a few differences between these professions – some subtle, some striking. As you decide what kind of help you need when planning a change in your home, it helps to understand the difference between professional designers and decorators – their education, their reputation, their service, and their clients.

Interior Designer

Schooling: Interior design is a profession that requires schooling and formal education. The work usually involved studying colors and fabrics, computer-aided design (CAD), design, space design, furniture design, architecture, and more. After graduation, designers often do internships with a registered and established interior designer before starting their own company.

Credentials: In some states and provinces, professional designers must pass an exam before being named a designer and register on a governing council (depending on the country and state/province). However, there are just as many places where authentication is not required. Therefore, it is better to know the status of your area before starting the search.

What they do: Designers are comfortable with spatial planning and can help design and renovate interiors – from drawing floor plans to placing the final decorative accent. Designers do not just enhance the look. They also increase the performance of a room.

Who they work with: Interior designers often work closely with architects and contractors to help the client look good, whether the client is designing a home, an office, a hotel, or any other interior.

Interior Decorator

Schooling: For professional practice, interior decorators do not need formal education or schooling, as they focus primarily on aesthetics and do not participate in structural reconstruction or planning. After completing the planning and execution of the structure, a decorator enters the image to focus on the surface view of the space. Many professional interior decorators have a university degree in a related field, but this is not a requirement for the profession.

Credentials: Although you do not need to study to become an interior decorator, there are many programs and courses available. These courses often focus on color and fabric, room layout, space planning, furniture style, and more. 

What they do: Good decorators are good at coming into the room and turning it into a visual. For new spaces, they can help customers decide on the style, color scheme, furniture, and accessories. They also often come in to create an existing space that needs updating or remodeling.

Who they work with: Decorators usually do not work with any contractor or architect, as structural work is usually completed before entering the ship. However, they work with manufacturers of furniture, upholstery, and other industry professionals. However, most of them work directly with homeowners or business managers.

Should I Hire a Designer or a Decorator?

Who you should hire depends on your needs. If structural changes are needed (such as removing walls, moving plumbing or wiring around, or adding new windows or doors), an interior designer is generally a better choice. Designers can help plan for major structural changes and work with architects and builders to help achieve them. On the other hand, if no structural change is necessary, but you need aesthetic help – decide on a style. Choice of wallpaper, paint, and furniture; Choosing windows and choosing lighting and accessories – this is probably what an interior decorator will do. Experienced decorators know what works together and can change a room according to the needs and wants of the customer.

In the end, however, choosing the right career depends largely on specific professional skills, not the job title. Many formal educated designers spend most of their time doing things that can best be described as decorating because they involve no renovation or structural work. And there are equally professional decorators who, with long experience, are perfectly capable of working with contractors and builders in the same way as a designer.

When hiring a professional, start with a clear understanding of your needs and look for a professional who has a consistent reputation for meeting those needs, regardless of the formal job title. It is generally true that designers are for space planning and execution of structures, while decorators are for final aesthetic decisions. But do not be afraid to cross the line to hire a well-known decorator as a good designer, or a talented decorator, provided their skills are proven.