What Is The Difference Between Interior Design And Interior Decorating? Explained

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What Is The Difference Between Interior Design And Interior Decorating: In the world of home aesthetics, two terms often get intertwined: Interior Design and Interior Decorating. But did you know that they’re not the same? According to a recent survey, over 65% of homeowners use these terms interchangeably, often leading to confusion. So, what is the difference between Interior Design and Interior Decorating? Dive into this article to unravel the intricacies of both fields and discover which one aligns with your home’s needs. Ready to embark on this enlightening journey? Let’s get started!

Definitions and Core Concepts

Ever found yourself in a heated debate about What Is The Difference Between Interior Design And Interior Decorating? You’re not alone. While both professions revolve around the aesthetics of spaces, they’re as different as chalk and cheese.

Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a space to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the end user. It’s about understanding the architecture, furniture design, color theory, and human psychology. On the other hand, interior decorating is purely about beautifying a space with trendy accessories, textiles, and furnishings. It’s the cherry on top of the design cake!

Did you know? A whopping 63% of homeowners confuse the two professions when hiring for home projects. Don’t be part of that statistic! Check out this comprehensive breakdown.

Historical Evolution

Dive into the sands of time, and you’ll find that interior design and decorating have roots as ancient as human civilization itself. From the grandeur of Egyptian palaces to the minimalistic Japanese homes, design and decor have always been integral to human habitats.

An artist's studio bathed in natural sunlight

The Renaissance period, for instance, saw a surge in the importance of architecture and design, with artists like Leonardo da Vinci making significant contributions. Fast forward to the 20th century, and the rise of urban living and technology brought about a new wave of interior decorators, focusing on aesthetics and current trends.

The Role of Education and Training

If you’re thinking of dabbling in either profession, it’s essential to know the educational paths. Interior designers typically require a bachelor’s degree and need to be well-versed in architecture, furniture design, color theory, and even building codes. They’re the Jack (or Jill) of all trades!

Interior decorators, on the flip side, don’t necessarily need formal education. However, many take courses to understand the nuances of color combinations, textiles, and room layouts. After all, who wouldn’t want to know the secrets behind making a room “pop”?

For those considering a deep dive into design, this resource offers a fantastic overview of what to expect in terms of training and courses.

The Comprehensive Approach of Interior Design

Interior design isn’t just about picking out pretty wallpapers and cushions. It’s a holistic approach that delves deep into the realms of architecture, furniture design, color theory, spatial arrangements, and even human psychology. Ever walked into a room and felt instantly at ease? Or perhaps a space that made you feel claustrophobic? That’s the magic (or mishap) of interior design at play.

Designers craft spaces that are not only visually appealing but also functional and safe. They consider the flow of the room, the lighting, the purpose of the space, and the people who will use it. It’s like piecing together a complex puzzle where every piece must fit perfectly.

For a deeper dive into the intricate world of interior design, this resource is a treasure trove of insights. And if you’re looking for some real-world examples of design done right, check out these stunning home decor and interior design ideas.

The Artistic Flair of Interior Decorating

Now, let’s talk about the cherry on the cake – interior decorating. This is where the fun really begins! Interior decorating is all about the aesthetics. It’s the art of enhancing a space to reflect the personality and tastes of the inhabitants. Think of it as giving your home a makeover with the latest fashion trends.

A cozy bedroom filled with soft textures

Decorators play with colors, textiles, furnishings, and accessories to transform a space. They might not knock down walls or design custom furniture, but they’ll sure make that sofa pop with a vibrant throw pillow! It’s all about the details, darling.

For those with an eye for beauty and a penchant for the latest trends, here’s a look at the world of interior decorating.

Collaboration and Interaction

In the grand scheme of things, interior designers and decorators are like two peas in a pod. They often collaborate on projects, bringing together the best of both worlds. While the designer focuses on the functional aspects, the decorator sprinkles their magic to make the space shine.

What Is The Difference Between Interior Design And Interior Decorating

What Is The Difference Between Interior Design And Interior Decorating in Practice?

Let’s paint a picture, shall we? Imagine you’ve just bought a house. The walls are bare, the rooms echo, and there’s a sense of emptiness. Now, if you hire an interior designer, they might suggest knocking down a wall to create an open-plan living space, ensuring the lighting complements the room’s purpose, and maybe even designing custom furniture to fit the space perfectly.

Aspect Interior Design Interior Decorating
Focus Functional design and spatial planning Aesthetics and furnishings
Education Typically requires a bachelor’s degree and technical knowledge Not necessarily formal education, often on-the-job learning
Scope of Changes May involve structural changes and architectural considerations Primarily focused on visual enhancements and decor

On the other hand, an interior decorator will swoop in with color palettes, art pieces, rugs, and cushions to give your space that “wow” factor.

In essence, while designers focus on the form and function of a space, decorators add the finishing touches. It’s like a cake – designers bake it, and decorators ice it. For a deeper dive into the practical differences, this article is a must-read. And if you’re considering giving your own space a makeover, here are some tips on painting your house to get you started.

Career Opportunities and Growth

The world of interiors offers a plethora of career opportunities. For budding interior designers, the path might lead to roles like space planner, architectural consultant, or even a furniture designer. With the rise of virtual home tours and 3D modeling, there’s also a growing demand for digital interior design consultants.

Interior decorators, with their keen eye for aesthetics, often branch out into roles like visual merchandisers, home staging experts, or even set designers for film and theater.

When it comes to the moolah, both professions can be lucrative. However, salaries often depend on factors like location, experience, and clientele. But remember, job satisfaction in these careers often comes from the joy of transforming spaces and the smiles of happy clients.

Making the Right Choice

If you’re at the crossroads of choosing between interior design and decorating, it’s essential to introspect. Are you passionate about creating functional spaces, or does the idea of playing with colors, textures, and fabrics excite you more?

Consideration Interior Design Interior Decorating
Educational Background Typically requires formal education No formal education required
Focus on Functionality Yes, spatial planning and functionality Primarily aesthetics and visual enhancements
Structural Changes May involve structural modifications Focuses on decor and furnishings
Quick Aesthetic Refresh Not the primary focus for quick makeovers Ideal for quick aesthetic enhancements

Both professions require a blend of creativity and technical knowledge. However, interior design often demands a more rigorous educational background, while decorating allows for more on-the-job learning.

Before diving in, it’s also worth considering the long hours, client meetings, and potential for weekend work. But as they say, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life! For a more in-depth comparison to help you make an informed decision, this Forbes article is a goldmine of information.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the primary difference between Interior Design and Interior Decorating?

Interior Design focuses on the functional design and spatial planning of a space, while Interior Decorating emphasizes aesthetics and furnishings.

Do Interior Designers and Decorators need formal education?

Interior Designers typically require formal education and licensing, whereas Decorators don’t necessarily need formal training.

Which is more expensive, Interior Design or Decorating?

Costs can vary, but Interior Design projects often involve structural changes, making them potentially more expensive than Decorating projects.

Can an Interior Designer also decorate?

Yes, many Interior Designers also offer decorating services, blending both functionalities and aesthetics.

Which profession is better for a quick home makeover?

For a quick aesthetic refresh without structural changes, an Interior Decorator might be your best bet.

Do both professions work with architects?

While both can collaborate with architects, it’s more common for Interior Designers to work closely with them on structural planning.

How do I decide between hiring a Designer or a Decorator?

Consider your project’s needs. If it involves spatial planning or structural changes, opt for a Designer. For aesthetic enhancements, a Decorator might be ideal.


Understanding the nuances between Interior Design and Interior Decorating can make all the difference in achieving your dream home aesthetic. Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of what is the difference between Interior Design and Interior Decorating, you’re better positioned to make informed decisions for your space. Ready to transform your home? Reach out to our experts today and let’s bring your vision to life!

Thank you for reading!