If you’re considering a career in interior design, you may wonder – what exactly is the difference between an interior decorator vs. interior designer? While the roles overlap, there are some distinct differences in their focus, responsibilities, and credentials.
An interior decorator generally focuses on the aesthetic design of a space. Their primary goal is enhancing the appearance of a home or office through stylish decorating choices like color schemes, furniture, lighting fixtures, art, and accessories. Interior decorators have a keen eye for pulling together furnishings and colors into a cohesive, attractive look aligned with a client’s taste. They are experts at creating “a look” for a space.
Interior decorators typically don’t need professional accreditation or degrees. Skills are often developed through on-the-job experience, self-study, or apprenticeship. The role involves meeting with clients; selecting paint colors, fabrics, furnishings, and finishing touches; and overseeing the decorating implementation. Interior decorators may also assist with vendor selection and purchasing. There is an artistry to creating beautiful, functional spaces solely focused on decor.
Interior designers perform some similar duties in terms of decorating, but have a much broader scope. Interior design involves assessing and planning the entire structure of a space with technical considerations in mind. An interior designer might reconfigure walls, ceilings, flooring, lighting, layouts, and more to optimize the function and flow of a home or office.
Interior designers in Sanibel generally have formal training and degrees related to interior design in Sanibel, architecture, engineering, or construction. They possess strong technical skills for tasks like creating accurate floor plans and furniture placement charts. Their role goes beyond just decorating into spatial planning, building codes compliance, accessibility standards, safety regulations, and managing complex renovations. They often oversee entire design projects from concept through completion.
The difference could be summarized as interior decorators focus on aesthetics alone, while interior designers do this plus handle technical/structural elements. There is certainly crossover, as designers must decorate attractively and decorators consider functionality. But designers have more rigorous academic training, facility with technical skills, and involvement in structural aspects of spaces. In the end, decorators and designers collaborate to unify form and function in living and work spaces.
Both offer valuable services. Interior decorators excel at styling, décor, and pulling together the look of a beautifully designed space. Interior designers ensure homes and offices meet building safety codes and standards, while also making them as stylish and functionally optimized as interior decorators do. For residential projects focused solely on décor, an interior decorator may suffice. But for commercial spaces and major renovations, a credentialed interior designer is generally needed. Whichever professional you hire, they’ll help create the space of your dreams through their unique combination of skills and sensibilities.