Interior designer or decorator?

Jun 27, 2016 | Uncategorized


A lot of people think the terms ‘interior designer’ and ‘interior decorator’ are interchangeable.

Yes, the distinction is arguably subtle, but depending on the services you’re expecting, it is important to know the difference.

So… what is an interior designer? There are a lot of different aspects to building design. It’s not uncommon for an architect or building designer to be tasked with designing every single part of a house, but in many cases specialist designers will be employed/subcontracted.

An interior designer’s role is to create functional, safe, efficient, comfortable and beautiful interior spaces that are fit for their purpose. And can include consultation and sourcing of:

  • Lighting design
  • Materials, finishes and colour
  • Design concepts
  • Building systems and technologies
  • Introduction of sustainable design
  • Design for accessibility and utility
  • Project management.

Designers normally have a good working knowledge of construction practices and documentation requirements, and can work confidently with other designers and tradespeople (sometimes their own team) to ensure interior spaces are properly finished.

Just to add to the confusion, some designers also refer to themselves as ‘interior architects’.  However, they are normally trained architects who choose to specialise exclusively on interior projects.

While interior decorators work on many of the same things, their job typically doesn’t involve moving walls, installing services or planning, which is the main difference.  Decorators are aesthetic specialists concerned with decorating what’s already been built.

Interior stylists are specialists at ‘styling’ interiors, and as such they’re often employed to temporary style, furnish and decorate spaces, for example: for sale properties, magazine shoots, advertising etc.

So… what am I?  Well with a degree in art and design, plus my interior qualifications, I class my myself as a residential interior designer and decorator.   My projects are generally a good mix of more structure renovations and cosmetic improvements.

If you want to know more about how I can help with your project, contact me here.

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