Designing a home is an art form that very few people can truly understand and master. The task is filled with jargon and concepts that are similar, but not quite the same. This can make fully understanding the intricacies of design and the people who do it quite challenging. No example is more true than the debate over what the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator is. The two are often mixed up by the uninformed, even though they are not one and the same. The debate between the positions of interior designer vs interior decorator is something that amateurs in the housing industry have struggled with mightily. Homeowners often struggle in choosing which position they should hire for their projects, as they don’t know what the difference between the two entails. Even though the two positions are both quite important when it comes to the completion of a home’s interior, each has their own unique aspects that sets it apart from the other. So what exactly is an interior designer, and what does an interior designer do that separates one from an interior decorator?

Interior Designer

An interior designer handles all aspects that redesigning a room may require. For example, an interior designer can completely redesign a space, and always aims to get the maximum value out of a room. The interior designer may place a new window to let in more natural light, or they may knock down a wall in order to make a room feel more open and inviting. The basis of interior design revolves around changing the functionality of a room to best match the vision that the owner and designer share. Interior design usually involves in-depth planning and thinking, and can take quite a long time. In order to become an interior designer one must attend school for a two or four year program. Here the designer will learn all sorts of concepts such as the basics of architecture and the fundamentals of engineering a successful remodel. Due to their history of education and experience, an interior designer is more likely to be able to completely take over a project. An interior designer should be able to manage all aspects of a project, including working with various contractors and other outside help. If you’re looking to completely alter the landscape of a room, then you should probably look into working with an interior designer. An interior designer will able to help you on a much deeper level than simply telling you want color to paint your walls or what curtains will look best.

Interior Decorator

Although interior decorating is less about creating new spaces and designs, that doesn’t mean that it is any less important. An interior decorator primarily focuses on what you already have, and then attempts to work with that to create a beautifully decorated room. For example, an interior decorator is much less likely to alter floor plans and divide a room into two, but instead may work to alter the room’s appearance to make it appear less empty. The interior decorator typically uses basic methods such as changing colors, altering furniture, and introducing singular items to change a room. An interior decorator may use less drastic methods in order to change a room, but that doesn’t mean that a particular room’s appearance will be of a lower quality than one that was completely redesigned. Due to their simpler methods, interior decorators usually require much less education and training than interior designers. Most interior designers have an understanding of the basics of design and have taken some hands-on learning, but a degree isn’t required. Interior decorators also usually take a much less controlled approach than interior designers. This typically means that you would have to work with contractors and control other elements of construction all by yourself. For some the added work may be a hassle, but others enjoy the extra control and freedom. Even still, an interior decorator may still provide input and insight on how to handle various problems and difficulties as they pop up. Sometimes a complete overhaul of a room isn’t necessary, and is just excessive. In some cases all you need to do to spruce up a room is to introduce a few new design schemes and correct some old ones. In these situations an interior decorator really shines and can be a huge help to your efforts.

Which One Is Better?

Now that you know the similarities and differences between the two, you may be asking yourself about which of the two is better and more useful. The answer, much like all of designing a home, is complex and revolves around many factors. The answer relies solely on what each particular room needs, and what the owner would like to see done with their home. For example, if you have a room in your house that seems dark and dreary, then there are multiple ways you can tackle the problem. An interior designer can install a skylight, cut out a new window, or knock down a wall to combine two rooms to make it feel more inviting. These are all great ways to solve the room’s dilema. However, they aren’t the only one solutions. In contrast, an interior decorator may propose to simply change the room’s color scheme to a much lighter color in order to brighten the room and make it seem more inviting. So which idea is correct, and who should you hire for the project? The answer relies on what you want for the room and what you are willing to do to it. If you want a complete overhaul and redesign, then you should definitely look into hiring an interior designer to handle the project. However, if you feel that a room can be changed by altering a few design elements, then you should definitely look into working with an interior decorator. Like most things in life, the answer to your question isn’t simply black and white, and requires thought and reflection in order to truly find the right person for the job.