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Understanding the difference between an interior designer and a decorator

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Updated on:
April 26, 2023
April 26, 2023
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Many people get confused between an interior designer and a decorator. You’re also at the right place if you are also one of them. In this article, we have tried to help you understand their differences and similarities. Read further to learn more!

What is Interior Design?

Interior design is the comprehensive and professional practice of creating an environment that protects, responds to, and addresses human needs. The primary aim of interior designing is the science and art of enhancing the interior of the house, office, or any other building to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing and healthier environment for the people using the space.

Interior designers are the professionals who research, manage, plan, and coordinate, such as remodeling projects. Interior designing is not a simple task – you need skills to artistically design every corner of your space. Some skills required for interior designing include:

  • Creative eye
  • Trend identification
  • Computer knowledge and sketching ability
  • Superior communication
  • Knowledge of sustainable methods
  • Critical thinking

Not only will you need skills, but you also need a degree in interior design to start your career in the field. Some people also take training and courses to learn more things.

Examples of interior design projects

Home renovation, office renovation, commercial unit reinstatement, renovating spaces with learning areas, the interior design of storefronts, and nursery design are some examples of interior design projects.

What is Interior Decoration?

Interior decoration is decorating commercial businesses or residential homes according to a client’s style and preferences. It includes selecting flooring materials, color schemes, artwork, furniture, and accessories. Interior decoration transforms a space into a budget-friendly and aesthetically pleasing design.

Note that the decorator doesn’t change the flooring, roof, wall, or other thing in the space. They only work on the accessories, furniture, and other things present in the room. Anyone can become an interior decorator if they have skills like:

  • Creativity
  • Sense of color scheme and accessories
  • Knowledge of current trends
  • Ability to mix and match different things together
  • Attention to detail

The interior decorator doesn’t need any degree to start a business. However, they need to create a strong portfolio to get work in the industry.

Examples of interior decoration projects

Adding frames and furniture to a space, using complementary textiles in an area, and placing carpets or floor mats in a room are examples of decorating a space.

Differences between interior design and decoration

Scope of work

The scope of work is the primary difference between interior design and decoration. Our interior design scope of work template can help you further delineate between the two.The interior designer aims to design the entire space to make it more functional, aesthetically pleasing, and efficient. On the other hand, the interior decoration brings change to an already-designed room. It either adds or eliminates the design of the room.

Approaches to design

Interior design and decoration have different approaches. Interior design aims to completely change the area, while interior decoration adds or eliminate one or more element from the space.

Design elements and principles

You need to follow certain rules in interior design to get desired results. But you can design the space based on your needs and requirements in interior decoration.

Level of involvement with construction and renovation projects

Based on the interior design project, it may need repairing, renovation, and construction. Interior decoration needs minimal work and effort.

Budget considerations

Interior decoration requires less money. But interior designing needs a massive budget to improve the overall space.

Similarities between interior design and decoration

Interior design and decoration also have some similarities. Here are a few things that both interior designers and decorators need to consider.

  • Use of color, texture, and pattern- both interior designers and decorators need to consider these things
  • Selection of furniture, lighting, and accessories- choosing the right elements for the space is crucial for both types of experts
  • Collaboration with clients- both designers discuss clients’ needs and requirements before starting the project
  • Attention to detail- they focus on details to provide the best results

How to Find the right clients as an interior designer or decorator

Here are the tips for finding the right expert for your project.

  • Research potential designers or decorators - check the market for suitable options for yourself
  • Meet with designers or decorators in-person - range a meeting to learn whether they will be right for you
  • Check references and reviews - before hiring, make sure to learn about people’s experiences with them

Collaborating as an interior designer or decorator

If you plan to collaborate with the decorator or designer, here are a few things you need to do.

  • Setting goals and expectations - think about what you are designing for
  • Communicate your vision and preferences- determine what results you are expecting
  • Providing feedback and making revisions - use your client’s concerns to offer them their desired results
  • Working within your budget - choose materials, furniture, accessories, and other things by staying within your budget

Successful interior design and decoration projects

Examples of successful interior design and decoration projects

Gensler is a world-famous interior design company that has completed various projects in the country. AtlaSea in California is one of their best project and a perfect example of the best design.

How to measure the success of your project

Your client’s satisfaction rate is the simplest way to understand the success of your project. Also, if you have designed something similar to what you imagined, you have completed a successful project.

Tips for maintaining your newly designed space

Here are a few things that you need to consider.

  • Keep it clean and organize
  • Ensure to make repairs as soon as you notice any issue
  • Regularly make changes to improve the appearance of a space

Common misconceptions about interior design and decoration

Interior design and decoration are the same things

This is not true. As discussed above, they are different because of their different purpose, scope of work, and methods.

Hiring an interior designer or decorator is too expensive

No, you can find affordable interior designers and decorators in the market. Do a little bit of research in the market, and you will find reliable experts easily.

Interior designers and decorators only work with high-end clients

This is not true. Anyone who wants to improve the appearance of their space can hire experts.

Interior design and decoration are just about making a space look pretty

They have the responsibility to meet your requirements and needs. So, if you want to make your area more functional or spacious, you can ask for it. Hence, they can do just more than improve the façade of your house. Therefore, this is also a myth, and there’s not much reality to it.

FAQs about Interior Design and Decoration

What are some of the most important qualities for an interior designer or decorator to possess?

They need to be creative, understand the current market trends, and know about the right materials.

What is the typical timeline for an interior design or decoration project?

The timeline depends on the clients and the type of work they demand. An interior design project typically takes more time than a decorating project.

Do interior designers and decorators only work with residential clients, or do they also work on commercial projects?

They both work for residential and commercial properties. Just look for an expert based on their specialties.

What should I expect during the initial consultation with an interior designer or decorator?

The initial consultation helps you and your designer to understand each other. You need to share your requirements and needs with the experts. They will give you ideas on how to bring your vision into reality.

What is the difference between an interior designer and a design-build firm?

The interior designer designs the space. If you hire a design-build firm, you will get an entire team that will do everything from initial design planning to the final physical construction of the project.


Interior designers and decorators help you improve the look of your house. They both have different responsibilities and ways of working. Research well about the specifications and expertise before hiring one.

Want to entirely change your space? Then, hire an interior designer. Do you need to improve your already-designed space? Then, hire an interior decorator. If you are confused, hire experts to get guidance. Reach out to (XYZ) for professional help.

Trends and Innovations in Interior Design Services

Emerging design trends and styles

The use of warm colors and choosing minimalist styles are trendy these days.

New technologies and tools for designers

Mobile applications and VA and AR technologies have been introduced in the industry.

Innovative sustainable design practices

Upcycle is getting popular and considered the best sustainable practice.

Creative use of materials and textures

Designers are now choosing completing textures and materials to create a unified look in the room.

Smart home technology and automation

Smart technologies are becoming an integral part of interior design.


Interior design services are important for businesses and residential spaces to create an appealing and functional space. Interior design services, including renovating spaces, 3D visualization, repairing, and adding contemporary furniture, help you completely change a space. So, if you want to work as a designer, provide services that can boost the ambiance of the space.

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