Ghanshyam Apr 15, 2024
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Interior Designer Vs Interior Decorator: Key Differences

In the world of design, Interior Design and Interior Decoration are often used interchangeably, but they represent distinct disciplines. Interior Design involves planning and designing spaces for functionality and safety, while Interior Decoration focuses on enhancing aesthetics through furnishings and color schemes. Clarity between these roles is crucial for students and professionals to pursue the right career path or hire the appropriate expertise.

This blog will explore the key differences between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators, aiding in informed decisions and fostering a deeper understanding of these creative fields.

What is Interior Design?

Interior Design encompasses the planning, designing, and executing functional and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces. It involves understanding how people use the space and creating environments that enhance their quality of life. From residential homes to commercial offices and public spaces, interior designers collaborate with clients to transform empty areas into functional and visually appealing places.

Read on: Benefits of Pursuing an Interior Design Course

Educational Requirements and Certifications

Becoming an interior designer typically requires formal education in interior design or a related field. Many designers pursue a bachelor's degree, but some opt for associate degrees or certificates from accredited design schools. Additionally, certifications from professional organizations like the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) or the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) can enhance credibility and job prospects.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Creativity: Designers must possess a keen eye for aesthetics and innovative ideas to create unique and visually stunning spaces.
  • Technical Proficiency: Proficiency in design software, knowledge of building codes, and understanding of spatial planning are essential skills.
  • Communication: Effective communication with clients, architects, contractors, and suppliers is vital throughout the design process.
  • Project Management: Managing budgets, timelines, and resources to complete projects successfully.
  • Problem-Solving: Identifying and resolving design challenges while meeting client needs and adhering to regulations.

Check Out: Top Skills to be an Interior Designer

Project Examples

  • Residential Design: Designing functional and comfortable living spaces that reflect the homeowner's personality and lifestyle.
  • Commercial Design: Creating efficient, inviting work environments that promote productivity and brand identity.
  • Hospitality Design: Designing hotels, restaurants, and resorts to provide memorable guest experiences.
  • Healthcare Design: Creating calming and therapeutic environments in hospitals and clinics to enhance patient well-being.

Interior designers use their expertise and creativity to transform spaces into visually appealing and functional environments that meet the needs and preferences of their clients.

Know More: Best Interior Design Software Tools

What is Interior Decoration?

Interior Decoration focuses on enhancing the aesthetics and ambiance of interior spaces by selecting furniture, fabrics, color schemes, and decorative elements. It involves creating visually pleasing environments that reflect the client's style and preferences while complementing the space's overall design.

Educational Pathways and Certifications

While formal education in interior decoration is beneficial, it is only sometimes required. Many decorators gain knowledge and skills through hands-on experience, workshops, and self-study. However, certificate programs and online courses are available for individuals seeking formal training. Additionally, obtaining certifications from organizations like the Certified Interior Decorators International (CID) can demonstrate proficiency and credibility in the field.

Skills and Responsibilities

  • Creativity: Decorators must have a keen sense of style and creativity to effectively select and arrange furnishings and decorative elements.
  • Color Theory: Understanding color psychology and coordinating color schemes to create harmonious spaces.
  • Spatial Awareness: Ability to assess and optimize the layout and flow of a room.
  • Client Collaboration: Working closely with clients to understand their preferences and translate them into cohesive design concepts.
  • Budget Management: Selecting decor elements within budget constraints and negotiating with suppliers.

Project Examples

  • Home Decor: Selecting furniture, accessories, and artwork to enhance the aesthetics of residential spaces.
  • Event Decor: Decorating venues for special occasions such as weddings, parties, and corporate events.
  • Visual Merchandising: Designing displays and layouts for retail stores to attract customers and enhance the shopping experience.
  • Staging: Arranging furnishings and decor to showcase properties for sale and attract potential buyers.

Interior decorators are crucial in transforming spaces by infusing them with style, personality, and ambiance. Their expertise in selecting and arranging furnishings and decorative elements helps create visually stunning environments that reflect the client's taste and preferences.

Interior Designer Vs Interior Decorator: Key Differences

Interior designers and interior decorators may seem similar, but they serve distinct roles in interior spaces. Understanding these Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator differences is crucial for both professionals and clients seeking design expertise.

Here is a comparison table outlining the key differences between interior designers and interior decorators:




Functionality vs. Aesthetics

Focus primarily on the functionality and usability of interior spaces. They consider spatial layout, traffic flow, and ergonomics to ensure efficient spaces meet the occupants' needs.

Emphasize aesthetics and ambiance by selecting furnishings, color schemes, and decorative elements. Their main goal is to enhance the visual appeal of a space and reflect the client's style and personality.

Depth of Involvement in the Design Process

Typically involved in the entire design process from conceptualization to completion. They work closely with architects, engineers, and contractors to ensure that design concepts are implemented effectively and meet building codes and regulations.

These are often brought in after the structural elements of a space are finalized. They focus on the decorative aspects of design and are less involved in the technical aspects of the project.

Collaboration with Professionals

Collaborate extensively with architects, engineers, contractors, and other professionals involved in the construction or renovation of a space. They coordinate efforts to ensure that the design vision is executed seamlessly.

Primarily work with clients and may collaborate with suppliers, artisans, and other vendors to source furnishings and decorative elements. They typically have less involvement with other design professionals.

Legal and Code Compliance

Ensure designs comply with building codes, regulations, and safety standards. They have a deeper understanding of construction laws and regulations and may be involved in obtaining permits for projects.

While they may advise clients on aesthetic and functional considerations, they are sometimes responsible for ensuring legal and code compliance. Their focus is primarily on the visual aspects of design.


Career Prospects and Opportunities 

Career prospects in interior design and decoration are promising, with opportunities in residential, commercial, hospitality, and other sectors. Graduates of interior design courses can pursue roles as interior designers, decorators, consultants, or stylists in design firms, architectural companies, or independent professionals. 

With the increasing demand for aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces, there's ample room for growth and specialization in sustainable design, universal design, or digital visualization. Additionally, networking and staying updated on industry trends can enhance career opportunities and prospects for advancement.


In conclusion, understanding the disparities between interior designers and decorators is crucial for professionals and clients. While interior designers prioritize functionality and safety, decorators emphasize aesthetics and ambiance. By comprehending these distinctions, individuals can make informed decisions when seeking design services or pursuing a career.

You Might be Interested: Careers After Professional Diploma in Interior Design


UI/UX and Interior Designing Trainer

Ghanshyam is a maestro interior designer with more than 11 years of unrivalled industrial exposure. He develops residential, commercial and institutional spaces that spark creativity and nurture emotional well being. 

He is at the forefront of developing and delivering Interior Designing courses at Edoxi Training Institute, Dubai. He leads the efforts of our institute to present the students with a curriculum based on the latest practices of interior design.

As an Interior designing professional, he embraces a work ethic that prompts him to analyse the client's requirements and develop solutions based on contemporary interior designing principles.

Ghanshyam is also an expert CGI and 3D art professional with immersive knowledge of tools like AutoCAD, 3Ds Max, V-ray, Corona, Revit, Lumion, Unity, Unreal, Maya, Nuke, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Blender, DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Creative Suite.