The Difference Between a Decorator and a Designer

A lot of assumptions are made about the roles of Interior Designer and Interior Decorator because of their similar job titles. However, there may differences in the two positions, including required education, client responsibilities, general skill sets, and day-to-day tasks. In this article, we answer some common questions on this topic.

Aren’t Interior Decorator and Interior Designer different names for the same job?

Not at all! While there are some similarities in their job description, most of their work is very different. Decorators spend the bulk of their time helping clients select finishes furnishings and equipment for their space, whereas Interior Designers spend most of their time creating comprehensive drawings for permit, tender, and construction.

Why should you go to school to become an Interior Designer when you could become an Interior Decorator sooner?

Interior Designers are usually able to find work immediately after graduation. At this point, they already have 2-4 years of experience with the programs they will be working in. (AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.) Interior Decorators have a harder time starting out because no formal education is required, therefore most of their work is based on experience and reputation.

Aren’t Interior Designers Just Architects with a focus on making things pretty?

Interior Designers and Architects are like two separate parts of the same puzzle. Architects focus on the exterior of the building (roof, windows, concrete/steel/wood framing, etc.) and select the exterior finishes (mullions, siding, mullions, facades, etc.).

Should I hire an Interior Designer or an Interior Decorator?

This is subjective, depending on the scope of the project in question. If you are simply looking to refresh furniture and finishes, an Interior Designer will be able to a good fit for your needs. If you are doing a renovation that involves the removal or addition of walls, glazing, and doors, an Interior Designer will be needed, regardless of the size of the project.

Can I save money by just using an Interior Decorator?

The cost of who you hire varies according to the scope of the project. A full renovation will cost a lot more than a small refresh of your space but will require an Interior Designer, a small refresh can be done with an Interior Decorator.