Interior Decorator or Interior Designer: What's the Difference?

Many people tend to use decorating industry titles interior designer and interior decorator as if they are one in the same. Both professions require a certain amount of talent and ability to create a visually appealing interior space. The duties of each may at times appear similar, but there are some distinct differences.

Interior Designers

According to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), an interior designer is a professional who has been educated and specially trained to create a functional and quality interior space. These professionals become educated by taking specific courses of study, receiving hands on experience and passing mandatory exams.

A professional designer has the ability identify, analyze, and provide solutions to create a safe comfortable interior environment. Interior design is both an art and a science. The art involves creating a visually pleasing space. The science of design requires understanding human behavior to meet both the client's design needs and the requirements of an architect's design.

The field of interior design can be divided into many different categories. For example, residential interior designers and commercial interior designers each have a unique focus and distinction. Some designers handle both commercial and residential clients, while others chose to specialize in only one area of design.

What do Interior Designers Do?

Interior designers have many different responsibilities. They help arrange and organize a room so that it functions as it should. They are also responsible for making sure that the design meets all safety and building code requirements. They are often in charge of managing the construction and any other work needed to complete the design. They should make sure that their designs complement other room elements including the acoustics and how sound is transmitted.

In many states interior designers must have a license to perform their duties. This usually means that they must have passed the NCIDQ exam. An interior design license certifies that a designer is a qualified professional with the educational training and background needed to be able to handle complex issues dealing with interior design.

Interior Decorators

Interior decorators handle the surface details of décor such as paint colors, fabric selection furnishings, lighting, and accessories. Interior decorators add and arrange decorative elements according to an interior's function and the client's taste. This is often where confusion about interior designers and interior decorators comes in because interior designers are responsible for an interior's decorative selection and arrangement as well.

The biggest difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator is that a decorator chooses design elements like floor cover based on how it will look in the space. An interior designer does this as well, but they also stay mindful of how it will be used, whether it will be durable enough, how sound will be affected in the room, whether it is made of a flammable material or produces any dangerous gasses. Decoration of a room is certainly the key responsibility of any interior designer; however they must also ensure that the space they decorate complements how individuals use the room. The function, efficiency and safety of a room are considered just as important as how it looks.

Schools Offering Training Programs in Interior Design

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            Interior Design (BS)
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            Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
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            Graphic Arts (AAS)

            The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started


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            Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
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