The terms interior designer and interior decorator are related and often used interchangeably, but they have distinct differences.
An Interior designer focuses on creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing space by designing the layout, considering elements such as lighting, acoustics, and the overall functionality of the space, selecting fixtures and accessories and choosing colors, materials, and finishes.
On the other hand, an interior decorator focuses on the style and appearance of a room, including the choice of artwork, rugs, curtains, and other accessories that complement the design.
Interior designers often collaborate with interior decorators to help choose appropriate furnishings and decorative elements that align with the overall design concept.
While there is some overlap between interior design and interior decoration services, they are fundamentally different disciplines that require different qualifications and expertise. If you’re looking to make changes to your living space, it’s important to understand what interior design is and what interior decorators do so you can find the right person for the job.
The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) defines Interior design as the art and science of improving the interior of a building or space with the goal of creating a more functional and visually appealing environment.
It involves understanding and fulfilling a space’s functional and aesthetic requirements of a space by selecting and arranging decorative elements such as color, lighting, furniture, fabrics, and accessories.
Interior design also considers aspects such as traffic flow, spatial planning, acoustics, and sustainability. It can be applied to various types of spaces, including residential homes, offices, retail stores, hotels, and public buildings.
What is the purpose of interior design?
The purpose of interior design is to transform ordinary homes into something extraordinary by creating a living space that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Interior designers work hard to combine form and function so that residents can live in comfort, security, and beauty. They balance colors, textures, furniture pieces, window treatments, lighting fixtures, and more to give their clients the perfect home.
Interior design is about creating a space that is both enjoyable and practical to live in. That means considering the layout of a room, the design of furniture pieces, the materials used for flooring, wall coverings, and window treatments, as well as considering how people use a space and how they move around it.
An interior designer is a professional who can help transform your space into a beautiful, livable area that reflects your personal style.
Interior designers are also knowledgeable about architectural elements such as space planning and structural considerations. They will consider how much natural light comes in and what kind of flooring you have before deciding which pieces will work best in the room. Their expertise can help bring your vision to life with bespoke touches that make your home feel comfortable yet chic.
They work with clients to create a design plan that meets their functional and aesthetic requirements, including selecting and arranging furniture, choosing colors and materials, and designing lighting and other key elements of the space. They may also collaborate with other professionals, such as architects, contractors, and engineers, to ensure the design is implemented correctly and safely.
Architect vs. Interior Designer: Who Should You Hire?
One of the key differences between an architect and an interior designer is that architects focus on the design and construction of buildings. In contrast, interior designers focus on the interior spaces within those buildings.
Depending on the scope of your project, you may benefit from hiring one or both of these professionals. For instance, if you’re building a new home or making significant structural changes to your current space, you’ll likely need the services of an architect.
On the other hand, if you’re simply looking to refresh your interiors with new furnishings, lighting, and decor, an interior designer may be the better choice. Ultimately, the decision of who to hire will depend on your project’s specific goals and requirements.
Required Credentials for Interior Designers
To become an interior designer in the United States, one must pass an exam and register with a governing council such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). ASID is the oldest and largest professional organization for interior designers, suppliers, and manufacturers.
So if you are looking to hire the services of an interior designer, make sure you look for someone with qualifications from a governing body like ASID.
Interior design requires extensive and systematic training, formal education, and a great eye for aesthetics. A talented interior designer must have experience in space architecture and be able to look at different surface finishes with artistic flair.
Steps Involved In Working with an Interior Designer
- Consulting: Interior designers meet with you to discuss your needs, preferences, and budget. They may also assess the space they will design and take measurements and photographs.
- Develop design plans: Based on your requirements, interior designers create design plans that include a layout, furniture selection, color scheme, lighting, and other design elements such as patterns and texture.
- Source materials and products: Interior designers select materials and products, including furniture, fabrics, lighting fixtures, and accessories, that align with your design plan and budget.
- Oversee the project: They oversee the installation of the design plan, working with contractors and other professionals to ensure the design is implemented correctly.
- Provide ongoing support: After the installation, an interior designer may continue to support you by answering questions and making adjustments as needed. They may also offer additional services like seasonal updates or design refreshes.
Should you hire an interior designer?
Hiring an interior designer can be a smart investment to improve the look and function of your living or working space. Here are some scenarios in which you might consider hiring an interior designer:
- You’re planning a major renovation: An interior designer can help you with everything from creating a design plan to selecting materials and coordinating with contractors.
- You’re starting from scratch: If you’ve just moved into a new home or office space, or you’re starting a renovation from scratch, an interior designer can work with you to create a design plan that considers your needs and preferences.
- You need help with a design challenge: An interior designer can help with design challenges such as oddly shaped rooms and find creative solutions for such spaces.
- You want to improve the function of your space: If you need help with using your space more effectively or efficiently, an interior designer can help you find solutions that improve the function of your space.
- You want to refresh your space: An interior designer can help give your space an entirely new look or theme.
Interior decorators use their expertise to select and arrange decorative elements like paint, textiles, and furniture to determine the overall look and feel. They understand how physical arrangement impacts an individual’s experience of their environment; they consider the emotion associated with specific color combinations, fabrications, lighting, and artwork.
An understanding of the impact physical elements have on a person helps interior decorators determine how to create the desired atmosphere while maintaining your personal taste. They thoughtfully arrange elements within a space to create an inviting home.
What is interior decoration?
Interior decoration is the art of enhancing the appearance of a room or space to make it more aesthetically appealing. A professional decorator can help create a home, office, or commercial space that reflects your taste and personality. The process involves choosing furniture, fabrics, finishes, and accessorizing with art and accessories.
Do interior decorators need credentials?
While interior decorators don’t have to have formal certification, many of them choose to pursue courses and certification programs to enhance their knowledge and credibility. These courses cover selecting colors, furniture layouts, and understanding furniture styles.
There are a variety of professional organizations and certification programs available for interior decorators. Certified Interior Decorators International (C.I.D.) is an example of an organization that provides support and resources to interior decorators and may offer certification programs.
While specific credentials are not required to work as an interior decorator, having a certification and some experience helps to establish credibility with clients and employers.
Working with an Interior Decorator
Working with an interior decorator is a hands-on process that starts with presenting clients with multiple options and mood boards. After the client gives their feedback, the decorator will then go shopping for the pieces that best represent their client’s goals.
After finalizing decisions, the interior decorator will make arrangements for transportation and install all the furnishings.
When Should You Hire an Interior Decorator?
Bringing in a professional decorator to help create your dream home is a great idea, especially if you don’t know where to start. They provide insight into what works best and which colors and fabrics will bring out the beauty of your space.
Other situations where you might need interior decorating services include when:
- You’re extremely busy and don’t have the time to research, shop around for accessories, and decorate your house. An interior decorator can handle all these logistics and save time and energy.
- You want to save money. If you have a clear budget, an interior decorator’s goal will be to work within that budget. They will know where to source high-quality furniture, pillows, curtains, and other items you need without breaking the bank.
- You want to boost your home’s resale value. A professionally decorated home will wow potential buyers and boost its resale value.
Whether you’re looking to update or refresh your living space, hiring an interior decorator is a good idea if you want quality results. Don’t be afraid to invest in professional help; it’ll pay off in the long run.
The decision between hiring an interior designer or an interior decorator depends on your needs, time schedules, and budget. Both professions can help bring your vision to life by using their unique skill sets to create beautiful spaces that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.
If you need to create a unified look for an entire space, including factors like space planning, structural design, and combining colors, shapes, fabrics, and furniture, consider hiring an interior designer. On the other hand, if you seek to add or change some decorations in your space or blend furniture and artwork to create a stylish environment, you can opt for an interior decorator instead.
Whatever your decision may be, it is important to ensure that the person you choose understands your requirements and desires. With their help, you can transform any space into a beautiful place perfectly tailored to meet your personal taste.