Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating: Main Differences

Monday, April 26, 2021

Many people use Interior design and decoration interchangeably, but there are some fundamental differences between them.

There are some similarities between interior design and decoration, but there are some aspects that make them fundamentally different, and you should be aware of them if you are interested in pursuing a degree in any of them or if you are in need of one of these professionals. 

Main Differences between Interior Design and Interior Decorating

1. Education

In order to be an interior designer, it is required that you have formal training. Their education usually includes the study of color and fabric, CAD tools, space planning, furniture design, architectural knowledge, and more. 

On the other hand, even though there are some Interior Decorating programs, in order for an interior decorator to work professionally, it is not necessary that they study formally. Their job focuses primarily on aesthetics and don't participate in renovations or structural planning. That is, the job of the decorator is needed once the structural planning and renovations have come to an end. 

2. Professional credentials

In some countries, interior designers need to pass an exam and become registered with a governing council before being called professional. 

However, interior decorators need no schooling, even though there are some programmes available. If someone goes on to pursue a program in interior decorating, they would study color and fabric, room layouts, space planning, furniture styles, among other things related to decorating a space resorting to aesthetics, but they don’t need this training to perform their jobs.

3. Main job

Interior designers’ main job is to enhance the functionality of a space and its overall look. Interior decorators focus on the style and visual shape of the room.

That is, while the former are in charge of spatial planning, and can help design and renovate interiors, the latter decide on a style, a color scheme, are in charge of purchasing furniture, among other things related to the visual shape.

3. Interdisciplinary work

Interior designers work together with architects and contractors to achieve the space clients desire, no matter what kind of space they want. 

Interior decorators, on the other hand, don’t generally work together with architects of contractors, since their work is generally done before the interior decorator is needed. They may work with furniture makers, upholsterers, and other industry related professionals. 

In a nutshell, Interior Designers may decor, but interior decorators do not design. Even though there are some points of contact between these two, they are fundamentally different. While interior designers are in charge of understanding people’s behaviour to design functional spaces within a building, which may or may not include the decor of the space, interior decorators only do the latter, meaning that they won’t design, but they make sure that spaces are aesthetically pleasing resorting to the furnishing or adorning of a space. 

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