Interior Design vs Interior Decorating

What is the difference between Interior Design and Interior Decorating.


So you've decided to make a few changes at home, and you realize that you're going to need a bit of help. You begin looking for possible services and find that some professionals describe their work as interior design while others are interior decorators. Suddenly you're faced with new questions, namely, "What's the difference?" And more importantly, "Which one do I need?"

Interior design and interior decorating are often mistaken as the same thing, but the terms are not completely interchangeable. There are many similarities between the two jobs—so many, in fact, that opinions vary on exactly where to draw the distinction. There are also more than a few differences between the professions—some subtle, some significant. As you decide which kind of help you need when planning changes in your home, it will help to understand the differences between professional designers and decorators—their schooling, the credentialing, their services, and their clientele.





Who Should I hire?

Who you should hire depends on your needs. If structural changes are needed (such as removing a wall, moving plumbing or wiring around, or adding new windows or doors), then generally an interior designer is the better choice. Designers can help plan for significant structural changes and help make them happen by working directly with architects and builders. On the other hand, if there are no structural changes needed but you need aesthetic help—deciding on a style; choosing wallpaper, paint, and furnishings; picking window treatments, and choosing lighting and accessories—an interior decorator will probably do the trick. Experienced decorators know what works together and can transform a room to suit a client's needs and desires.

In the end, however, choosing the right professional depends largely on the skills of the particular professional, not the job title. A great many designers with formal schooling spend most of their time doing work that can be best described as decorating since it involves no renovation or structural work. And there are just as many professional decorators who, through long experience, are perfectly capable of working with contractors and builders in the same way as a designer.

When hiring a professional, begin with clearly understanding your own needs and look for a pro who has a proven reputation for meeting those needs, no matter what the formal job title. It's generally true that designers are for space planning and structural execution, while decorators are for the final aesthetic decisions. But don't be afraid to cross lines to hire a decorator with a reputation as a good designer, or a designer with a flair for decorating, provided their skills are proven.


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