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Differences between an interior designer and a decorator

Often times the terms "Interior Designer" and "Interior Decorator" or simply "Decorator" have been used interchangeably to refer to the same profession. To many, an interior decorator is exactly the same as an interior designer, and they both provide the same design services, work on the same projects and have the same responsibilities and liabilities. However, these are just common misconceptions. No worries, I am here to help clarify the roles of an interior designer and point out a few differences between a designer and a decorator.

Interior designers and interior decorators are both professionals who work to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of interior spaces, but they have distinct roles and areas of expertise. Here's the difference between the two:

Interior Designers:

Interior designers are trained professionals who focus on creating functional and safe interior spaces that meet the needs and preferences of their clients. They typically have formal education in interior design, architecture, or a related field, and they often hold licenses or certifications depending on their location.

Interior designers analyse the layout of a space and plan how furniture, fixtures, and other elements will be arranged to optimize functionality and flow. They might suggest structural changes like removing walls, adding partitions, or modifying the layout to improve the space's functionality. Interior designers develop a cohesive design concept that considers colour schemes, materials, lighting, textures, and more, to create a harmonious and visually pleasing environment.

They oversee the entire design process, from concept development to implementation, including coordinating with contractors, architects, and other professionals. Interior designers need to be aware of building codes and regulations to ensure their designs comply with safety and legal requirements.

Interior Decorators:

Interior decorators focus primarily on the aesthetics and decorative aspects of interior spaces. They work with existing structures and layouts and often do not require formal education or licensing, although many have training and experience in design.

Interior decorators specialize in selecting and arranging furniture, accessories, artwork, textiles, and colour schemes to enhance the visual appeal of a space. They work with the client's preferences to create a specific style or theme for a room or space. Interior decorators help choose accessories like curtains, rugs, lighting fixtures, and decorative items that contribute to the overall ambience.

In essence, interior designers have a broader scope that encompasses both aesthetics and functionality, involving aspects like space planning, structural changes, and adherence to building codes. Interior decorators, on the other hand, primarily focus on aesthetics and decorative elements, working within the existing framework of a space. The roles can sometimes overlap, and in some cases, an individual might provide both interior design and decorating services. However, understanding these distinctions can help you choose the right professional based on your needs and the complexity of the project.


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