Interior Designer vs Decorator – Is there a difference?

November 09, 2022

Oftentimes, the phrases “interior designer” and “interior decorator” are used interchangeably, but there can be a great deal of difference between the two, and which one is right for your project. While it’s true that anyone can call themself an interior designer or decorator, the designation between the two is that interior design is a profession that requires schooling. 

Interior Designer vs Decorator

In an interior design program, students are required to learn about spatial planning, architecture, building codes, OSHA and ADA requirements, drawing, furniture design, and Computer Aided Drafting (CAD). Most people would be surprised to find out the level of education required to become a designer! Also, any design program that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) is required to complete an apprenticeship program with an established and licensed interior design firm. Although it’s not required in every state, certain states do require that designers complete CIDQ examination to be allowed to call themselves Interior Designers, and allow them to add a Registered tag to their title.

Interior decorators on the other hand, do not have any schooling. An interior decorator’s primary role is to simply help with aesthetics. Decorators are not able to provide services required for building, renovating, or remodeling spaces. While decorators can participate in coursework provided by the Certified Interior Decorators International (C.I.D.) it is not a requirement. 

So while all interior designers can provide decorating services, not all decorators can provide design services. So which one is right for you? If you are simply looking for help with color schemes, patterns, and furnishings, then you could go ahead and hire an interior decorator. But if your project requires structural work, consideration on how the room will be utilized, or more custom solutions, you should look into hiring an interior designer. Do your due diligence and don’t be afraid to ask a potential hire whether or not they’ve completed a design education. Or, just call us at Chi Renovation, where all of our designers have completed the proper education to work on your remodeling project and can offer you decorating services as well!

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