Interior Decorator or Interior Designer?

Interior design and interior decorating are often mistaken for being the same thing, but the terms are not interchangeable. While they have many similarities, interior design and interior decorating have a few differences: some subtle, some significant. 

What is an interior designer? 

Interior design is one of those careers much like fashion and entertainment that holds a very romantic notion that all you do all day is create warm, comfortable, and interesting home environments for other people. This is not entirely true and requires specific schooling and formal training. The work involved usually includes studying colour and fabric, computer-aided design (CAD) training, drawing, space planning, furniture design, architecture and more. 

Interior design is not just about picking out colours and fabrics to make a space more beautiful,  it's about considering the structural planning  and architectural features to reflect the client's needs and lifestyle. They must ensure that less glamorous details (like electrical outlets and air vents) fit into the scheme. Interior designer's need to have strong project management skills because they work with the painters, wallpaper designers, electricians, furniture manufacturers, fabric wholesalers and the general contractor to make the design process seem effortless and stress free. 

So what is interior decorator then? 

Interior decorators don't need to have any formal training or schooling and they don't generally take part in renovations or any structural works, they primarily focus on aesthetics. They come in after the renovations or structural part is completed and focus on the surface look of the space. 

Interior decorating is mainly about using various forms of colour and accents to make a particular space more visually appealing. Arranging objects such as art, photos, pillows, floral arrangements and other things that make the best of the space that is already available. Interior decorating is strictly about the art and the science is left to the designer.  Decorators don't generally work with any contractors or architects since structural work is usually complete before they come on board. They do however sometimes work with furniture makers, upholsterers, and other industry professionals. 

Should I hire a interior designer or a interior decorator? 

This will depend on your needs. If you require any structural changes, such as removing a wall, moving plumbing around, or adding new windows or doors an interior designer is the better choice. They will be able to help with the planning  for any significant structural changes and help make them happen. 

If you don't need any structural changes but you need help deciding on a style or choosing wallpaper, paint, and furnishings, picking window furnishings, choosing lighting and accessories, a decorator will probably do the trick. Decorators know what works together and can transform a room to suit the clients' needs and desires, without doing any technical work. Both interior designers and interior decorators create beautiful and functional spaces, but they are separate professions. You should assess your needs before deciding which one to hire.

Thinking of renovating your home?

Recommended Posts: