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 list their work as interior design while others are interior decorators. Suddenly you’re faced with new questions, namely, “What’s the difference?” And more importantly, “Which one do I need?”

Interior design and interior decorating are often mistaken for being the same thing, but the terms are not completely interchangeable.

There are many similarities between the two jobs. So many, in fact, that opinions vary on exactly where to draw the distinction. Yet there are more than a few differences between what makes an interior designer and an interior decorator – some subtle, some significant. So with nearly as many opinions on the subject as there are people to express or hear them, here is a brief comparison of the two that can help you make the distinction for yourself and decide which one you really need to help in your home.

What Is Interior Design?

Schooling – Interior design is a profession that requires specific schooling and formal training. The work involved usually includes studying color and fabric, computer-aided design (CAD) training, drawing, space planning, furniture design, architecture and more. Upon graduating designers often apprentice with a registered and established interior designer before moving on to create their own companies.

Credentials – In some states and provinces professionals are required to pass an exam and become registered with a governing board (which one will depend on what country and state/province he or she is in) before they can be called designers. However, there are just as many where this is not the case.

So it’s a good idea to find out what the situation is in your area before starting your search.

What They Do – Designers are comfortable with spatial planning and can help design and renovate interiors, right from drawing up the initial floor plans to placing the last decorative accent. They don’t just enhance the look, they enhance the function of a room and focus on how the room(s) are used by its inhabitants.

Who They Work With – Interior designers often work closely with architects and contractors to help achieve the look the client desires, whether that client is designing a residential home, an office, a hotel, or any other interior space.

What Is Interior Decorating?

Schooling – Interior decorators don’t need to have formal training or schooling because decorators focus primarily on aesthetics. Decorators don’t generally take part in renovations or structural planning. They come in after that part is complete and focus on the surface look of the space.

Credentials – Even though no schooling is required to become an interior decorator there are many programs and courses available. These courses often focus on color and fabric, room layouts, space planning, furniture styles and more.

What They Do – Decorators are great for coming into a room and oranamenting the space with nice and beautiful furnishings.

They can help clients decide on a style, choose a color scheme, purchase furniture, and accessorize. They’re often brought in to spruce up an existing space that needs to be updated or redone.

Who They Work With – Decorators don’t generally work with any contractors or architects since often any structural work is complete before they come on board. They do however work with furniture makers, upholsterers, and other industry professionals.

Should I Hire a Designer or a Decorator

Who you should hire will depend on your needs. If structural changes are desired (such as removing a wall, moving plumbing around, or adding new windows or doors) then generally an interior designer would be the better choice. They can help plan for significant structural changes and help make them happen. On the other hand, if there are no structural changes needed but you need help deciding on a style; choosing wallpaper, paint, and furnishings; picking window treatments, and choosing lighting and accessories, a decorator will often be sufficient.

However, if you need both, hiring an interior designer can handle all of the interior design AND the interior decoration of the space. Whereas an Interior Decorator can NOT perform all of the duties that an interior designer can perform.

Edict not only can provide you with interior design and interior decoration services, but we are also an M.Arch. (Master of Architecture) led firm which means we can also handle the structural and building design of the space.