The Difference Between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator

When bringing in help for an interior design project, it can be hard to find a perfect fit due to the large variety of options available. Part of the struggle is the different lingo used to describe roles in the field, with the biggest confusion being whether you need an interior designer or interior decorator. Many people use these terms interchangeably but there is actually a big difference between the two professions. We’ve highlighted the key roles and characteristics of each below so you can decide which you need for your project.

What is an Interior Designer?

Interior designers create optimal functionality in interior spaces based on human behavior, which can include architectural elements such as the shape of a room’s walls and floor plans. A large part of their job goes into planning how space will be used and how to add the most function. This is especially important for maximizing space of city homes as there is typically less square footage to work with. While the obvious goal is to make the interior spaces of the home look nice, an interior designer must keep local building codes, fire safety, accessibility sound transmission, and overall functionality in mind when designing. An interior designer will have a formal education and must be registered through the local government. They can be a significant asset to the home planning process and are often employed by architects and home builders to build on the basic design of a home. Some interior designers stay on after the home is constructed to decorate the interior.

What is an Interior Decorator?

Interior decorators are more focused on the aesthetics of a space more so than design. The layout and functionality of the living area have already been established so decorators will consider things like fabrics, lighting, fixtures, paint, furnishings, flooring, and decor accessories when they are building out the look of a space. For instance, if you wanted to update your living room for springtime, then they would know the best materials, color schemes and decor pieces to do so. With so much focus being on decorative details, there is less of a need for formal education, however, most interior decorators have basic training on foundational principles of design. They can be employed by architects and home builders as well to deliver a polished end product, but many home-owners also enlist their services for new and existing homes.

Choosing Between the Two

It is important to note that while interior designers can both design and decorate, interior decorators only decorate and cannot perform design work. So if you need help in bringing your interior design ideas to life after moving into a new home, then an interior decorator would be a good option. They can help you choose a color scheme, artwork, new furniture and more to create a beautiful space. However, if you need design work past aesthetics, like with a remodel or when building a custom home, then an interior designer would be the right choice. They can help you design or redesign your space from the ground up while working in conjunction with a contractor.

The Design Team at Simonini

Simonini has been crafting homes for nearly 2 decades with the help of our experienced interior designers. Our design team offers a vast knowledge of state-of-the-art designs and trends to give you the best possible home. We work with you from start to finish on nailing down design intent and bringing your vision to life, all with minimal stress on the home buyer or owner. Since our designers are all in house, our clients do not have to worry about working with multiple vendors and partners, saving them time and effort. If you are interested in building a custom home or renovating your current home, then contact us today for a consultation.


Whether you’re interested in a new build, collective home or renovation, our team is excited to understand your plans and answer your questions. Kindly fill out this form to start the conversation.