Interior Designer vs Decorator: Understanding the Distinction

Are you puzzled by the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator"? Do you find yourself wondering if there's a difference between the two? In this article, we'll demystify these design roles and clarify their unique...

Are you puzzled by the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator"? Do you find yourself wondering if there's a difference between the two? In this article, we'll demystify these design roles and clarify their unique contributions. Whether you're planning a major home renovation or simply looking to revamp a room, understanding the difference can help you make an informed decision.

What is an Interior Designer?

selecting swatches An interior designer is the crème de la crème when it comes to creating stunning interiors. Their expertise lies in both the art and science of design. They possess a deep understanding of human behavior, enabling them to craft functional spaces that cater to their clients' needs.

Interior designers go beyond selecting furnishings and decor. They also consider building plans, location, social context, codes and regulations, and environmental sustainability. Their goal is to create spaces that not only look beautiful but also serve a purpose. Think of interior designers as squares – attractive and fashionable squares – who excel at both decoration and design.

What Sets Interior Designers Apart?

Interior designers have a distinct advantage thanks to their qualifications and experience. Here's what sets them apart:

  • A degree in Interior Design or Interior Architecture from an accredited 4-year college or university, often accompanied by an existing Bachelor's degree
  • Internship experience under a licensed professional
  • State licensing obtained by passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam
  • Extensive knowledge of art history, architecture, furniture, and industrial design
  • Proficiency in design technology, such as CAD, as well as skills in sketching, modeling, and drafting

What Does This Mean for You?

When it comes to your home or design project, hiring an interior designer ensures a seamless experience and expert problem-solving skills. Designers can work directly with architects, obtain building permits, supervise construction or installation, and provide advice on various aspects such as electricity, plumbing, structural changes, and ADA requirements.

If your project involves significant structural changes or if you're building a home from scratch, an interior designer is essential for functional, safe, and beautiful design. However, if you're solely looking to repaint or redecorate a room, an interior decorator can be a more suitable choice. Decorators focus on aesthetics and can help you achieve the desired look and feel without altering the building's structure.

Pro Tip: Beware of individuals who identify themselves as interior designers without the necessary qualifications. Always research before hiring someone, ensuring they meet the criteria mentioned above to ensure an interior designer level of expertise.

What is an Interior Decorator?

selecting swatches Interior decorators excel at selecting beautiful furniture and home decor to enhance your living space. They possess a keen eye for color, fabric, furniture arrangement, and accessories. However, unlike interior designers, formal training is not required to become an interior decorator.

Decorators lack the qualifications and expertise to modify building structures or make electrical changes. They are typically not trained in design technology like CAD or advanced sketching and modeling techniques. When hiring a decorator, it's crucial to choose someone you trust, ensuring they can provide a portfolio showcasing their past work. Additionally, note that decorators should not charge you for an interior designer level of expertise.

Pro Tip: Online services offering "designers" to create mood boards or design concepts often employ interior decorators rather than interior designers.

What is a Stylist?

pouring champagne In the world of interiors, you may come across the term "stylist." Stylists have a broad scope of work, which extends beyond interior design. They are often involved in various lifestyle interests, with fashion being a common industry for stylists.

Stylists focus on dressing and creating visually appealing interior spaces, emphasizing smaller accessory items and following current design trends. You may consider hiring a stylist for events, such as themed parties or photo shoots, when you want every detail to be picture-perfect. It's important to understand a stylist's area of expertise before engaging their services.

Kathy Kuo Home Design Services

Feeling inspired? At Kathy Kuo Home, we offer more than just beautiful furnishings and decor. Our team of professional interior designers is ready to assist you with all your interior design needs. Whether you're seeking multiple layout and design options or require guidance for a specific room, our designers and project managers will ensure you love where you live.

To get started, call us at (888) 908-3486 or email [email protected]. Our team is eager to bring your design visions to life.

(Call (888) 908-3486 or email [email protected] today to get started!)