The Real Deal Between Designers and Decorators in Home Design

Designing a house is a fun activity for most people. From the colors, decors, and textures, you’re taking control of everything you put inside your house. But doing all the designing yourself can be a little tricky if you have no idea how colors and elements blend together. That’s why most people seek design professionals to achieve the desired feel and look they want for their house.

The design industry is filled with professionals whose purpose is to guide you from the planning to the execution of the project itself. We have engineers, architects, interior designers, and interior decorators. A future homeowner can also consult a design-build firm for architectural design and contracting services to achieve a tailored design approach according to their preferences.

Among these professionals, interior designers and interior decorators often confuse many. While there are a few overlaps between these two professions, the two have key differences that can significantly affect your living space. As you think about the expertise you’ll need for your home, it’s important to understand how the two differ in terms of their approach and services.

Interior designer

Interior design is a multifaceted field that follows a coordinated and systematic approach, including the analysis, research, and integration of skills and expertise into a creative process. To be a designer, a student needs to finish a two- or four-year program from an accredited college or university. The study involves drawing, architecture, space planning, furniture designing, color, and fabric. After schooling, designers apply for apprenticeships with established and prominent interior designers to improve their practice and obtain experience.

In some states, designers need to pass a test and register at a governing body to become licensed professionals. Others may require a certificate to indicate their qualifications and proficiency in interior design principles. Meanwhile, other states don’t strictly require credentials and exams for designers, but others opt to undergo certification and credentialing to set them apart.

The core duties of a designer focus on spatial planning and interior renovations. They also analyze their client’s preferences to create design layouts that are aesthetically, socially, and physically functional. From floor plans to decorative accents, designers use various technologies to enhance the function of a room.

Interior designers work with developers, contractors, and architects to achieve the client’s desired layout and design plan, whether for a house, office, hotel, or any interior space.

Interior decorators

interior decorator

Unlike designers, decorators don’t work with architects, and they’re often concerned with decorating existing spaces with aesthetic elements, such as rugs, accessories, wall-coverings, and furniture.

Formal education and training are not a requirement for decorators since they focus on aesthetics, and they don’t involve in structural planning and renovations. Still, other decorators may obtain college degrees in the related field or undergo training for their hobby or business.

While education is not required to be an interior decorator, courses and programs are available for space planning, furniture styles, room layouts, color, and fabric. Decorators can also obtain formal certifications to authenticate their training.

Skilled decorators are adept at adding visual depth to any room. They help clients pick a color scheme, decide on the style, and purchase accessories and furniture. Homeowners also seek their expertise in sprucing up existing spaces that require some updates.

Decorators often work with business owners and homeowners. They don’t get involved with architects and contractors since the structural work is already done before they come in. But they collaborate with painters, upholsterers, furniture makers, and industry professionals that offer services and products for home decors.

Should I hire a designer or decorator?

The choice is up to you whether you hire a designer or decorator. To help you decide, evaluate your needs first to identify which type of expertise you’ll need to spruce up your space. If your home requires structural changes such as adding new doors or windows, rerouting wiring or plumbing, or removing a wall, then the job calls for an interior designer. Otherwise, if your home will only need some aesthetic updates, such as choosing paint, furnishings, wallpapers, lighting, and accessories, an interior decorator would be a better fit.

As you plan your next design project, there will be a few important details to deal with, and working with a decorator and designer is one of them. Consider our suggestions as your guide to sort the differences between these two professions and find which one is the best fit for your design needs. So before hiring a designer or decorator, evaluate your budget, needs, and what you want to accomplish.

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