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Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator

Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator When it comes to transforming your living or working space into a beautiful and functional environment, you may come across the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator.  

While the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator" are often used interchangeably, it's important to recognize that these professions encompass different skill sets and provide unique services. Understanding the distinctions between an interior designer and an interior decorator is essential in order to make an informed choice when hiring a professional who meets your specific needs and objectives. This blogpost aims to delve into the roles, services, qualifications, and factors to consider when deciding between an interior designer and an interior decorator.

Interior Designer

Interior designer work

An interior designer assumes a multifaceted role that encompasses both aesthetics and functionality. These trained professionals possess in-depth knowledge of space planning, color schemes, materials, lighting, and overall design principles. Working closely with clients, interior designers strive to create visually appealing and practical spaces that are tailored to their client’s unique preferences and lifestyles.

Services provided by an interior designer 

  1. Space planning: Interior designers possess a discerning eye for optimizing space and creating functional layouts that maximize usability and flow.

  2. Concept development: Collaborating with clients, interior designers assist in developing a design concept that aligns with their vision, taking into account factors such as style, theme, and desired atmosphere.

  3. Material selection: Interior designers aid clients in selecting appropriate materials, finishes, and furnishings that complement their personal taste, budget, and project requirements.

  4. Project management: From coordinating with contractors to overseeing the installation process, interior designers ensure that projects are executed smoothly and within the given timeframe.

Educational requirements for becoming an interior designer

Educational requirements for becoming an interior designer typically include a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field.  

Formal education in interior design equips designers with essential knowledge of design principles, architectural drafting, computer-aided design (CAD), and building codes, providing them with a strong foundation for their work.

Who Interior designers Work With

Interior designers often collaborate with a variety of professionals, including architects, contractors, and engineers, to ensure seamless integration of their design vision into the overall construction or renovation process. They undertake a diverse range of projects, including residential homes, commercial spaces, hospitality venues, and public institutions.

Interior Decorator

Interior decorator arranging furniture in a living room

While interior designers focus on the broader aspects of space planning and design, interior decorators specialize in enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a space. They possess a keen sense of style, color coordination, and decor selection, working closely with clients to transform existing spaces through furniture, accessory, artwork, and other decorative element choices.

Services typically offered by an interior decorator 

  1. Color schemes and paint selection: Interior decorators assist clients in selecting appropriate color schemes and paint finishes to achieve the desired mood and ambiance.

  2. Furniture and accessory selection: They help clients choose furniture pieces, fabrics, rugs, lighting fixtures, and other decorative items that align with their style and preferences.

  3. Window treatments and textiles: Interior decorators provide expertise in selecting window coverings, curtains, drapes, upholstery fabrics, and other textiles to enhance the overall design.

  4. Styling and arrangement: They excel in arranging furniture, artwork, and accessories in a visually pleasing and cohesive manner.

The training and qualifications needed to become an interior decorator

The training and qualifications required to become an interior decorator can vary. While specific educational requirements may not be necessary, many interior decorators acquire formal training or certifications through design programs, vocational schools, or specialized courses. This training equips them with knowledge of design principles, color theory, and various decor styles.

Who Interior Decorators Work With

Interior decorators often work directly with homeowners or business owners who seek to refresh or update their spaces. They also collaborate with furniture suppliers, upholstery services, and other vendors to source necessary items for their projects.

Read more: What is the Difference Between Interior Architecture and Interior Design?

Bringing Style and Flair: The Power of an Interior Decorator

When your primary focus is on enhancing the visual appeal of a space, an interior decorator can work wonders. They specialize in creating stylish and personalized environments through their expertise in color coordination, decor selection, and furniture arrangement. Whether you're looking to refresh your home or revamp a commercial space, an interior decorator can bring a fresh perspective and transform your space into a visually stunning masterpiece. By collaborating closely with you, they consider your preferences, style, and desired atmosphere to curate the perfect selection of furniture, accessories, and decorative elements that bring your space to life. An interior decorator's keen eye for aesthetics and attention to detail can elevate your space, creating a harmonious and inviting environment that reflects your unique taste and personality.

Should I Hire an Interior Designer or an Interior Decorator?

interior designer presenting 3d floor plan to a client
Determining whether to hire an interior designer or an interior decorator depends on the complexity and scale of your project, as well as your specific needs and goals. Consider the following factors:

  1. Project complexity: For major renovations, new constructions, or extensive structural changes, an interior designer's expertise in space planning and construction coordination is invaluable. They can collaborate closely with architects and contractors to ensure seamless integration of the design into the project.

  2. Design and functionality: If you desire a comprehensive design solution that combines aesthetics with functionality, an interior designer's holistic approach is beneficial. They can optimize your space, consider traffic flow, lighting, and acoustics, and provide a cohesive design plan tailored to your lifestyle.

  3. Décor and styling: If you primarily require assistance with selecting furniture, accessories, and decorative elements, an interior decorator's eye for aesthetics and styling expertise may be more suitable.  

  4. Taking your budget into account: Keep in mind that interior designers and decorators often have different pricing structures. To make an informed decision, it's crucial to evaluate your budget carefully and have open discussions with the professionals you are considering. By discussing the financial aspects upfront, you can ensure a clear understanding of their pricing models and payment terms, allowing you to align your budget with the services you seek. Interior designers often charge a percentage of the overall project cost or an hourly rate, while interior decorators may charge a flat fee or work on an hourly basis. Consider your budget and discuss fee structures with professionals to find the right fit for your project.


Can an interior decorator provide the same services as an interior designer?

While there may be some overlap in services, interior decorators typically focus on the aesthetic aspects of design, while interior designers provide a more comprehensive approach that includes space planning, construction coordination, and architectural considerations. If you require structural changes or extensive space planning, an interior designer would be the better choice.

How do interior designers and decorators work together on a project?

In many instances, interior designers and decorators collaborate on projects, capitalizing on their individual strengths. Interior designers establish the foundation by creating the overall design concept, determining spatial layouts, and coordinating with architects and contractors.

Subsequently, interior decorators work within this established framework to carefully select furniture, accessories, and decorative elements that enhance the design and bring the space to life.

Can interior designers assist with both residential and commercial projects?

Absolutely! Interior designers possess the skills to work on a diverse range of commercial projects, including both residential and commercial spaces. Their expertise in space planning, aesthetics, and functionality can be applied to various settings, such as homes, offices, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and more.

What factors should I take into account when deciding between hiring an interior designer or decorator?

When making a decision between an interior designer and a decorator, several factors should be considered. These include the complexity of your project, the level of design expertise required, your budget, and the specific goals you have for your space.

If you need architectural changes, space planning, and a comprehensive design approach, an interior designer is likely the best fit. If you primarily seek assistance with décor selection and styling, an interior decorator may be more suitable.

Do interior designers earn more than interior decorators?

Income levels can vary based on factors such as experience, reputation, location, and the scale of projects undertaken. Generally, interior designers may earn higher incomes due to the broader range of services they provide and the additional education and qualifications required.


In summary, the roles of an interior designer and an interior decorator are distinct, yet both contribute to the creation of beautiful and functional spaces. Interior designers excel in space planning, construction coordination, and comprehensive design solutions, while interior decorators specialize in aesthetics, décor selection, and styling. By understanding the differences between these professions and considering the specific requirements of your project, you can make an informed decision about whether to hire an interior designer or an interior decorator. With the right professional by your side, you can bring your design vision to life and create a space that reflects your personal style and meets your functional needs.

If you are looking for a reliable residential interior design services company in Dubai? Look no further than Decorious, your trusted partner.

With our team of qualified interior designers, we can bring your vision to life and create aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces.  

Contact us today to schedule a consultation session and discover our expertise and approach to how we can transform your space into a personalized haven.

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