Designer vs. Decorator

Terms “Interior Decorator” and “Interior Designer” are often used as synonyms, and not everyone knows what lies behind them in reality. The difference in the range of services both specialists are qualified to provide and the amount of responsibilities they are able to take on is huge.

That’s why being able to differentiate between these two may help you with making the right decision when looking for professional assistance.

Interior Designer


Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. That’s what interior designers are supposed to do: design spaces that will meet the needs and requests of their owners, while keeping in mind local building codes, fire safety, accessibility, efficiency, functionality, and acoustics.


While the design is not only art but also science, the Interior Designer profession requires formal education. But getting a degree is not the final step. NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) certification is a critical aspect of becoming a licensed professional and being able to start working on real design projects and serving clients.

What they can do

Interior Designer’s area of competence is very broad. They are usually responsible for space planning and design. Some people put an emphasis on the creative side of the profession, thinking that interior design is only about making your room look beautiful. That’s not true. Besides enhancing the display, a designer works hard on making the space functional and tailored for the needs of its owners. This technical background is the main factor that distinguishes Licensed Interior Designer from Decorator.

Interior Decorator

Job Outlook

Interior Decorator’s job doesn’t imply designing spaces and making any structural modifications. What they do is just decorating already designed space using different fabrics, colors, lighting, flooring, furniture, and accessories.


Interior Decorator profession doesn’t require any diploma or formal degree because they don’t take part in the technical side of the project, focusing on creation beautiful look. Often it’s enough to take a kind of training course to learn designing essentials such us principles of design, style and color theory, walls and floor decoration.

What they can do

Interior Decorator is usually responsible for the visual appearance of previously designed space. They can implement a new color palette, select the best materials and finishes as well as furniture and accessories, and create design projects and 3D Renderings with special design software. They can help you by combining different styles and choosing the best options for your interior.

To sum everything up, interior designer is the specialist that can do both: designing and decorating, while interior decorator is limited in functions. But job title isn’t the only thing that matters: when looking for a professional, pay special attention to the reputation and experience.