Interior Designer Vs. Decorator.

6 Key Differences: Interior Designer Vs. Decorator

You know that feeling when you look around your home and think, “This could be…so much more”?

Maybe you dream of a space that flows effortlessly, reflects your personal style, and just makes life flow easier. Maybe you’re looking for ways to help your family function better day-to-day (Lord knows we could all do with some of that), or you’re trying to make a room actually feel like a room you’d be happy to spend time in:

And maybe, like many others, you’ve started researching how to make it happen, and you came across terms like “interior designer” and “decorator” and are trying to figure out the difference.

Well, you’ve come to the right place, and the good news is, understanding the differences of an interior designer vs. decorator will put you in the driver’s seat of your home transformation.

That’s why I want to break it down for you, as today we talk about what these professionals do, the skills they bring, and how to figure out which one is the perfect fit for your project.

Sound good? Let’s dive in and ensure you choose the right partner for your dream home!

What Does An Interior Designer Do?

Difference Between Interior Designer and Decorator.

Let’s start by diving into the magic an interior designer’s work brings to the table.

Interior designers end up building long lasting relationships with their clients since the design process is deeply personal. Professional designers are trained to approach each project with a bit of psychology, which allows them to truly understand you, your style, and how you function in your space.

You see, it isn’t all about choosing pretty colors. We’re all about that balance between how a space looks and how it functions. We’re also all about you.

Here’s another thing about interior designers – we offer what’s called “full-service design.” That means we handle things from start to finish, even all the nitty-gritty details, so you don’t have to:

  • Space Planning: We figure out the best way to use every corner of your space so your daily routine flows effortlessly, and you have all the good stuff – like enough storage, good lighting, enough room to walk around without banging your knees on coffee tables, that kind of thing.
  • Design Concepts: Custom design concepts are what interior designers are known for. Your space will be designed with your personal style and tastes in mind. Not only that, but we’re experienced in producing 2D and 3D visuals to help you envision your dream before spending any money!
  • Project Management: You won’t have to worry about dealing with tricky timelines or coordinating with contractors and builders during your remodel or build project. As interiors designers, we work in coordination with other industry experts, guide you through the tough decisions, and oversee everything from start to finish, ensuring detailed execution. It’s essentially outsourcing all the technical stuff so you can focus on what really matters.
  • Procurement & Installation: Full service interior design often times includes the design and selection of furniture, art, and accessories. When working with an interior designer they will handle all of the design, selections, orders, coordination, tracking, and quality control of your items. When it comes time to installing the furniture, you can count on them and their trusty team of experts to place the furniture, providing a true turn-key experience.

See, an interior designer doesn’t just think about whether something looks nice. We think about how it will impact your entire experience in your home and ensure your project is executed at a high level. The goal of an interior designer is to create a space that feels uniquely you – a place that tells your story and makes your life easier at the same time.

What Does An Interior Decorator Do?

Interior Designer Vs. Decorator.

On the other hand, take a moment to imagine having a personal stylist by your side. This is one major perk of working with an interior decorator!

They don’t change the overall shape or layout of the space itself, but they help you find those perfect accessories, the finishing touches that make the whole thing shine.

Interior decorators have this superpower regarding the details that make a space sing. They’re masters of:

  • Color Schemes: They understand how colors make you feel and can create a room that’s either a cozy retreat or an energizing space – just by choosing the right shades.
  • Furnishings: Want a sofa that’s both comfy and stylish? They’ve got your back! Decorators know what pieces feel amazing and how to make them work perfectly for your space.
  • Décor: They’re the experts at mixing those textures, patterns, and little accents that take your room from “nice” to “wow!” Think of them as the ones finding the perfect statement piece to bring it all together.

The best part about working with an interior decorator is how they transform your existing space. No major renovations are needed! They add those magical touches – the perfect throw pillows, a statement art piece – and suddenly everything feels just right.

Their superpower?

Making your space feel completely and uniquely you. It’s about translating your personality into the colors, fabrics, and all those little details that make your home an absolute reflection of who you are.

Hopefully that gives you a bit more clarity when looking at the difference between interior design and interior decorating. Both offer creative solutions, but interior designers heavily include technical solutions and create functional spaces. Both offer a unique design experience, it all just depends on the needs of your project!

However, there is a bit more to it than that, which is what we’re diving into here.

Interior Designer Vs. Interior Decorator

Okay, let’s talk about what’s “under the hood,” so to speak.

When it comes to education, there is a difference between interior designers and interior decorators.

Think of it this way: interior designers go through a lot of schooling and formal training because they’re dealing with the bones of your space – sometimes even how it’s built! In some places, they even need special licenses to do their work.

Interior decorators, on the other hand, don’t always need a fancy degree. Of course, they might have training and certificates, but it’s a bit less formal.

Their superpower is an amazing eye for design and a knack for making things look effortlessly stylish, and this can come from personal experience. It’s subjective because taste and preferences are individual to us all.

On top of all design itself, Interior designers also work with technical aspects such as electrical wiring, positioning light fixtures, and placing windows, and there are rules and regulatory requirements that need to be followed, something interior decorating ventures don’t need to consider.

After all, you can’t put a massive glass window up if it’s going to reflect the sun and blind your neighbors all afternoon, for example. It’s this kind of consideration that makes interior design just that little more complex.

Let’s talk about the difference in experience here.

Interior designers put in some severe time honing their skills, with a minimum of 15 hours a week for 12 months on average. Then you have work placements, experience either in a studio or self-employed working with interior spaces, and so on.

During these occupations, they dive deep into the nitty-gritty stuff like:

  • Building Codes and Safety: They know all the rules to ensure your space is safe and up to code.
  • Function and Aesthetic: They’re experts at figuring out how to make a room flow and feel amazing to be in.
  • Materials That Last: Want floors that look beautiful and can handle your busy life? They know what’s best.

It’s not just book learning, either! Interior designers gain real-world experience working with builders and other professionals – that’s how they get really good at what they do.

Interior decoration often takes a different path.

They might start by helping out on projects or even transforming their own space! They build up a portfolio showing off their amazing sense of style, and their talent speaks for itself. That means people with an excellent eye for design can often get started as a decorator much faster.

In essence, you might think you have a good eye for detail and venture out to start your own interior decorative elements business tomorrow, and you could do that. There’s no legal or educational requirements stopping you. With an interior designer, you need to prove you know what you’re talking about.

Your home transformation can be small or it can be a total overhaul. That’s where understanding the difference between interior designers and decorators becomes key!

Interior designers love to dig in deep – we think about how to change the space itself to make it work better for you. But we also love the beautiful stuff!

We can be your color stylist, furniture finder, and perfect accessory picker-upper all in one.

Again, interior decorators on the other hand are all about making your existing space shine.

They’ve got a magical knack for colors, textures, and those details that take a room from “meh” to “amazing!” And, sometimes, the lines get a little blurry because many designers have that same decorator’s eye for making things pretty.

And yes, there’s a bit of a crossover here. Interior designers also work with color and textures, giving you a complete experience, whereas as an interior decorator will act as a specialist in these areas.

It really depends on what kind of transformation you’re dreaming of and how much of a change you want to make.

Think of interior designers as home renovation superheroes. We have some serious superpowers:

  • Technical Skills: We speak the language of blueprints and design software. That means we can turn your dreams into detailed plans that make it easy for builders to realize your vision.
  • People Skills: Honestly, a huge part of the job is listening to you and figuring out how to make a space reflect who you are and how you live. It’s about communication and turning your wants into a beautiful reality.

Decorators have their own kind of magic:

  • The Eye for Style: They see colors, textures, and all those little trends in a way that most people don’t. It’s that particular skill of taking a blank space and making it look effortlessly amazing.
  • Trend Spotters: They know what’s hot in home design and how to bring those fresh elements into your space without it feeling too trendy.

See, both of us need a mix of skills! Designers get down to the details, while decorators bring something special that makes your home feel incredible.

Let’s be honest, interior designers are serious networkers!

We know the best builders, the people who source those amazing materials…we’ve got connections. Connections we may have been working with for years and know how to call on when the time is right.

This comes in handy when your project involves many moving parts or if you’re looking for discounts and the best prices. We can streamline things and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Decorators have their own kind of network magic.

They’re plugged into the world of furniture and home décor, where they find those one-of-a-kind pieces that take your space to the next level. Think of them as having access to all the cool, hidden gems that most people never even see!

No matter which way you go, the right designer or decorator will have those connections that ensure your project goes smoothly and that your space ends up feeling just the way you want it to.

Choosing the right partner is key to an amazing home transformation! Let’s break down the pros of working with each kind of pro:

Interior Designer:

  • The Whole Package: We think about how your space looks and how it works for your life.
  • Project Boss: No more dealing with timelines and contractors – we handle the stressful stuff!
  • The Inside Scoop: We’re connected with all the best builders, suppliers, and everyone you’ll need.
  • Rules and Regulations: We know all the boring but important stuff, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Interior Decorator:

  • All About the Pretty: They’ve got the magic touch for making your space look its best.
  • Style Experts: Amazing colors, perfect furniture, and little details that make a huge difference.
  • Easier on the Budget: Decorators are a great choice when you don’t need major renovations.
  • Quick Magic: They can transform a room fast by focusing on those décor changes that pack a punch!

See, it really depends on what kind of help you need with your home. Both of us can make your dreams a reality – it’s about finding the perfect fit for your project!

Do I Need An Interior Designer Or Decorator?

Let’s figure out who the perfect partner in crime is for your project! Here are a few questions to help you decide:

  • Are You Making Big Changes? If you’re knocking down walls or rethinking how your rooms flow, an interior designer is a great choice. They’re the experts at space planning and handling those major overhauls.
  • Craving a Style Upgrade? Dreaming of new colors and furniture and bringing in those perfect finishing touches? A decorator is your style superhero!
  • What’s Your Budget Like? Designers handle it all, which sometimes comes with a higher price tag. Decorators are amazing at making your existing interior space feel brand new, often at a lower cost.

Think about these questions, and be honest with yourself about what kind of transformation you’re dreaming of. The right choice will have you walking into that new space and feeling like it’s the home you’ve always wanted!


Your home should be more than just pretty – it should feel like you! Designers handle the big changes, while decorators are your style saviors. What kind of transformation do you crave? The right choice depends on your dreams (and your budget!).

That’s where Haus Grimes comes in!

My team of passionate Phoenix interior designers are ready to unlock your home’s potential. Whether it’s a full overhaul or a stylish refresh, we’ll make it happen.

Ready for a home that’s beautiful, functional, and truly yours?

Let’s make it happen! Visit the Haus Grimes website today, and let’s start dreaming about your perfect space.