Understanding the Difference Between Interior Design and Interior Decoration


Many people speak of interior designing and interior decoration in the same breath. As much as they may sound similar, both are different in their objectives.

Understanding the Difference Between Interior Design and Interior Decoration - Understanding the Difference Between Interior Design and Interior Decoration

It is for this reason that many home owners think that interior designing is just about decorating the interiors using various add-ons and designs.  To understand the exact nature and difference between interior decoration and interior designing it is important to first understand the basic similarities between the two.

The common grounds: design or décor, it’s all about spaces

The common aspects or subset covered by both interior designing and interior decoration is functionality of using space optimally. Interior decorators focus primarily on decorating up a space and focusing more on how it looks. Interior decoration is primarily linked to aesthetics of a room. The world of interior designing is also linked to beautifying a space just as interior decorators do; but they take into account a broader picture and multiple factors that impact the best utilization of space for aesthetics, utility and comfort.

Interior designer: master craftsman of functional spaces

The basic difference between interior designers and interior decorators is how they work towards space management in a building. Interior designers are usually involved with the building from its inception and their primary role is to create and manage functional space of the entire building.

Interior designers understand how each home resident will use every room. They will chalk out a design plan accordingly. All structural needs are balanced as per the final needs to make sure there is a synergy between various contractors and the final design element post completion of the building.

According to National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), considered to be one of the top US credential bodies for interior designers, interior designing is an art and science of creating functional spaces. An interior designer plans a building in such a way that all aspects of the building reflect an underlying theme right from its structure to its final room and design aspects.

Interior decorator: champion of style quotient

Interior decoration on the other hand involves with the aesthetic embellishment of the building. They enhance the style quotient including interior and external spaces. An interior decorator’s primary role is to add a sense of style along with easy living as per the needs and preferences of the residents.

An interior decorator will therefore focus on use of colors, textures, furniture, the textile quotient in the room and its interiors to blend everything to reflect on the style aspect of the room. An interior decorator is therefore more prone towards increasing the beauty quotient of the room.

Qualification of interior designers and interior decorators

Designer: synergizing with architects

The work of an interior designer involves multiple aspects like working with various contractors, understanding structural needs of a building to finalizing use of steel, wood, electric equipment etc. Interior designing for that need is a fully fledged course in various universities where applicants are taught the finer details of how they can work in synergy with architects.

Decorator: torrential flow of creative juices

Interior decoration on the other hand requires a sense of creative passion. Although these days there are many courses and diplomas teaching interior decoration, a good interior decorator can just be naturally talented to play with design aesthetics to understand the role of various elements to increase the beauty quotient of any space. Of course an interior decorator well versed with various courses has an advantage of being updated on use of latest materials and textures which can add value without escalating the costs for the clients.

So should you hire an interior designer or a decorator?

Now that you know that both interior designers and interior decorators handle different aspects of making your home livable, it may help you resolve the common dilemma of whom to approach for your home needs.

As a thumb rule if designing your home involves the change of any structural changes like civil, plumbing or wood work, it is ideal to seek services of an interior designer. An interior designer would be able to gauge the exact nature of change that can be allowed as per your building’s structure and opt for designing the core elements accordingly.

On the other hand if your designing needs does not involve any such changes and you are looking at more aesthetic changes like use of unique colors, decors, adding fresh paints or furnishings to enhance the beauty quotient of your room, the services of an interior decorator is what you must seek.

Interiors designers and interior decorators may appear to be very similar but both have their own uniqueness. Opting for either a interior design company or an decorator will depend on what stage of construction you bring them on board, and what you expect them to do on the aesthetics and design theme of your building.

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