While style and aesthetics are important to both interior designers and interior decorators, there are quite distinct differences between the two disciplines. Homeowners can become confused as to which one they need working on their project, so let’s bring some clarity. 

There is interchangeability surrounding the job titles, and often designers work across both disciples. This is the first reason why homeowners and the wider community are confused! So let’s answer the question: What’s the difference between an Interior Designer and Interior Decorator.

Interior Designers are trained to be able to understand, plan and change the internal structure of a building. Interior designers can alter internal walls and the shape, size and volume of spaces, as well as specify lighting, finishes and furnishings. Spatial planning and material specifications are important aspects of the role of an interior designer. The Design Institute of Australia states that interior design is also referred to as interior architecture because interior designers are trained to consider the modification of the interior structure of the building rather than just refinishing and furnishing existing spaces. In a nutshell, interior designers understand and evaluate spaces. They give consideration to how the space will be used and understand which design elements to use in order to meet the clients needs. Interior designers need to know how local council and building codes will impact their designs. Design management and construction are also important skills of interior designers in both residential and commercial environments. They may design custom furniture and cabinetry and develop documentation packages, schedules and specifications.

Interior Decorators will work within the existing interior space and are responsible for the cosmetic design and decoration of that space. An interior decorator can change the look, ambience, mood and colour of an existing space within a building. They develop design concepts and colour schemes for clients’ individual rooms or homes. Encompassing furniture, fabrics, lighting and decorative accessories, interior decorators can bring together a room to its final styled design.

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