Interior Designing or Interior Decorating?

Onyinye Osunwoke Written by Onyinye Osunwoke · 1 min read >

I have a natural flare for interior décor, so it’s not unusual for my friends to request my expertise or opinion in this regard.

This year, on the 11th of September a dear friend of mine sent me a chat, asking me if I knew a good interior designer or decorator. He is quite a careful and intelligent speaker, and I was quite pleased at his specifics. Of course, I probed further to determine his requirements, so I could recommend the best fit.

Interior design or interior décor – I notice these two terms are very often loosely used and interpreted to mean the same thing, even among the business owners. You’ll even find some vendors claim to be interior designers when they are interior decorators. It isn’t that one skill is superior to the other. Not at all. In fact, both skills could be complementary. However, it’s important we know the difference, to help us hire appropriately when planning changes to our homes and offices.

An interior designer typically works with structural changes to a space, such as adding new windows or doors, changing electrical fixtures, building new spaces entirely, removing walls, and other architectural related functions. They work best with the architects, builders, and contractors and provide direct oversight to see an interior project to its completion.

An interior designer will go through formal training to learn architecture, floor planning, material, fabric, furniture design and much more to enhance the look and function of a room.

An interior decorator is ideal to transform a space aesthetically. The decorator works with the client’s theme to decide on the right accessories to use such as lighting, fixtures, window treatments, paint, furnishing, and other decorative concerns. They require no formal training as they aren’t involved in structural changes of a project. An interior decorator might come in when in a project is completed to work on the aesthetics of the space.

While interior decorators do not require formal training, they may elect to acquire some certifications to enhance their skills on design, space planning, fabric, and colour mix and so much more. Interior decorators can also repurpose furniture. As a result, you find interior decorators working closely with furniture makers, painters, and other related professionals.

Can we see the difference?  According to Interior Designer Caitlin Campbell, “the biggest difference is that the interior designer typically has a number of other issues on his or her mind. For instance, when it comes to floor coverings, an interior decorator will probably be responsible for choosing the type, colour, texture, and pattern. The interior designer, on the other hand, will make the selection based on those criteria, with an additional eye towards the appropriateness of type, usage, sound transference, acoustic properties, flammability, off-gassing properties, static electricity requirements and flammability.”

Creating a new feeling entirely within the same space, using design and décor is such a beautiful art.

My personal interests lie in décor. I have been commended on my style, though have no formal training. Décor is simply something I enjoy and might pursue soon.

My very best wishes, everyone.

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