Interior Decorator vs Interior Designer

You may be wondering if there is a difference.  I don’t blame you.  Even the dictionary is vague – “the art or process of designing the interior decoration of a room or building…”

Many people use these terms interchangeably.  They are very different.  The end goal of both a Designer and Decorator is to create a space that reflects the needs of its users while bringing forth creativity and innovation.

Interior Design is the science of understanding behaviors to help create functional space within a building. Designers have completed intensive education in color theory, computer software, furniture design, structural design, architecture, drafting and other design/media based programs. We work on how you experience and use the space.  The correct interior can affect how you work, live, play and even heal.

Interior Designers make indoor and outdoor spaces functional, safe and beautiful by determining space requirements, selecting finishes and decorative items. Designers are capable of starting projects from the ground up through preliminary work in construction plans, building codes, space plans, lighting plans, electrical/plumbing/HVAC, and other drafted plans.  They can either start from scratch, re-design through renovations or simply update a space. Designers must also be aware of building codes and accessibility standards since we are part of the construction team.

Interior Decorators typically focus on decorative details.  Due to this, there is less requirements for standardized education.  Most Interior Decorators undergo a one or two year diploma or certificate program, while others are self taught.  They focus on selecting color, purchasing new items, arranging layouts and updating décor.  They are not usually thinking about or understanding the health, safety or well being of your family as a designer does.

So next time you need help, think about exactly what it is you’re looking for and need help with.  Design errors are costly.  Hire the right person the first time around.