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Interior Designer vs Interior Decorator: What's the Difference?

When it comes to creating or revamping a space, it's common for people to use the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator" interchangeably. However, these professions are not the same. They differ in critical ways,...

When it comes to creating or revamping a space, it's common for people to use the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator" interchangeably. However, these professions are not the same. They differ in critical ways, including their education, skill sets, and areas of expertise. Understanding these differences is important when choosing the right professional for your home or commercial space.

Professional Requirements

Interior designers typically require higher education due to the complexity of their role and professional status. On the other hand, interior decorators often don't need formal training or licensing. They usually develop expertise through on-the-job experience, workshops, or self-study. Interior designers not only learn about design principles but also adhere to code and regulatory requirements while promoting the principles of environmental sustainability.

Interior Designer

Interior designers are experts in recognizing the behavior of people to construct usable spaces in a house. They work closely with architects and other professionals to make an interior space functional, safe, and beautiful. They have additional expertise in developing floor plans and using design software. Interior designers approach a space holistically, considering the layout, flow, and purpose of each room. They create detailed plans, including floor plans, electrical layouts, and construction documents, to help you visualize your space before it's brought to life.

Interior Decorator

Interior decorators specialize in the art of embellishing a room with decorative elements to achieve certain aesthetics. They work with styles, color schemes, furnishings, textiles, and other decorative elements to beautify a space. Interior decorators collaborate with furniture makers, upholsterers, and other home decor professionals to create a cohesive and pleasing ambiance. Unlike interior designers, decorators do not make structural changes but work with existing architectural elements of a home.

Should I Hire an Interior Designer or an Interior Decorator?

The choice between an interior designer and an interior decorator depends on your needs and the scope of your project. While the job title is important, it's essential to consider the skills and expertise of the particular professional. Here are some guidelines to help you decide which one is suitable for your project.

Hire an Interior Decorator If:

  • Your aim is to enhance a room's aesthetics, such as choosing color schemes and furniture.
  • You don't require structural changes, like wall alterations, and prefer a cost-effective solution.
  • You have a limited budget and want to stylishly update spaces without major renovations.
  • You have tight timelines and need a professional who can quickly transform spaces with expert furniture and decor choices.

Hire an Interior Designer If:

  • Your project involves more than just aesthetic changes, such as structural modifications or space planning.
  • You want to optimize the functionality and layout of a space, considering practical needs.
  • Your project requires compliance with building codes and regulations, especially for commercial spaces or extensive residential renovations.
  • You're looking for a long-term investment that focuses on creating spaces with lasting value and functionality.
  • You need a comprehensive approach that covers everything from concept development to project management and coordination with contractors.
  • Your project demands custom solutions, such as bespoke furniture or unique design elements.


While many people use the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator" interchangeably, it's important to understand their differences. While decorators focus on decorating, designers not only decorate but also design the interiors. Both professions offer unique skills and expertise that can greatly enhance your space. So, whether you need a designer or a decorator, make sure to choose the right professional for your specific project.

Professional Designer

Interior design moodboard


House Designer

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