Interior Designers vs. Interior Decorators…What’s the Difference?

An interior designer or an interior decorator…when it comes to redesigning your condominium’s common areas, do you know who to call?

Although often mistaken for being similar, interior designers and interior decorators each offer their own distinct differences. Differentiating between the two will help you choose the appropriate professional for your next condominium common area renovation project.

1. Specialty

Interior designers work hard to understand people’s wants, needs and behaviours in order to create a functional space for them.

Since they can manage structural changes (such as removing a wall or adding a window), interior designers often work closely with architects and contractors to make a client’s vision become a reality. Interior designers use a systematic and coordinated methodology and follow code and regulatory requirements throughout their creative process. Although they can decorate a space as well, that is not their main focus.

If no renovation or structural planning is required and the focus is solely on decorating an area, then an interior decorator is the solution. Interior decorators’ expertise provides them with expert knowledge of what will work well together in a room. Deciding on a room’s style can include considering its wallpaper, paint, window treatments, lighting accessories, furnishings and more – all of which interior decorators are knowledgeable with.

In most cases, the structural work is completed before an interior decorator arrives. So although they don’t work with contractors or architects like interior designers, they do work with furniture makers, upholsterers and other industry professionals.

It’s important to note that although interior designers may decorate, interior decorators do not design.

2. Education

To be an interior designer, specific schooling or training is required in the study of colour and fabric, computer-aided design (CAD), drawing, architecture and more. Before practicing interior design on their own, interior designers often apprentice with a registered and established interior designer.

Since interior decorators focus primarily on aesthetics, they rarely have any formal training or schooling.

3. Credentials

Depending on where they are located, interior designers are often required to pass an exam and become registered with a governing council following their education. In Ontario, that governing body is The Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO).

Although interior decorators often take courses on room layout and space planning, no professional credential is required.

Should I Hire an Interior Designer or an Interior Decorator?

Choosing whether you require an interior designer or an interior decorator will depend on your needs. If you’re looking for assistance with deciding on a decorating style, then an interior decorator can probably provide the solution. But if structural changes are desired in your condominium’s common areas, then an interior designer will make them happen.

Want to learn more about we can make your vision for your condominium’s common areas a reality? Contact us today to learn more about our services!