Modern living room with a TV and a white coffee table

Making cosmetic or structural changes to your home is always a big undertaking that requires you to engage in detailed research to understand design trends, compare interior designers, finalize the home improvement project you want to undertake, and much more. While looking for companies or firms that offer home improvement services you might have come across the terms interior decor and interior design.

While both interior decor and interior design sound similar and are often mistaken to be the same thing, they are not completely interchangeable. The difference is even more prominent when you compare the professionals who offer these services, namely interior designers and home decorators. If you're curious about the difference between home decor and interior design, we have got you covered. Let's look at what makes interior design and home decor different.

Difference Between Interior Design and Home Decor

white sofas in living room interior design

The Definition

Interior design is described as the art of creating a functional living space based on the interior designer's understanding of the people living in the place. The interior design process follows a pre-defined methodology that includes research, analysis, and integration of this knowledge in a visual manner. An interior designer is much more deeply involved in your home interiors and also suggests structural and constructional changes to your home in a bid to make it more functional.

Interior or home decoration, on the other hand, can be summed up as the adorning of a home with beautiful objects and items that all work together in visual harmony. So, an interior designer can decorate a home but a home decorator does not design. They are involved only in visually uplifting the interiors with the use of colors, furniture, and furnishings.

blue sofa blue wall in living room interior design

The Education

In most countries, interior design is a legitimate profession that mandates specific education and formal training. Part of the interior design curriculum includes the study of colors and fabrics, space planning, computer-aided design training, architecture, and drawing. Post-graduation, an interior designer is expected to intern with an established designer before launching their interior design firm.

For interior decoration, a professional isn't required to be academically certified or complete a specific course. This is because, like painting or a similar art form, interior decoration focuses primarily on aesthetics and visuals. Since there's little to no focus on structural planning or construction, an interior decorator can come in once all the structural changes are done and work their magic.

The Credentials

marble kitchen interior design

In many US states and provinces, interior designers need to pass an exam to become a registered member of the governing council and obtain a working license. But many places also don't require an interior designer to have the relevant credentials, so the rules aren't set in stone.

While interior decorators don't need to undergo a professional college program to start their practice, they can partake in the many programs and certificate courses available. Most of the interior decoration courses focus on room layouts, furniture styles, color and fabric, and more visual topics. Interior decorators can authenticate their practice by getting certified by organizations like the Certified Interior Decorators International (C.I.D.).

The Work

The scope of work in interior design is quite vast and includes everything from the design and renovation of home interiors to space planning as well. An interior designer, if brought on to a home construction project on time, is responsible for sketching up the initial floor plans and adding the final decor touches to the home once the construction work is done. Unlike interior decorators, designers don't just enhance your home interiors visually but also make your living space more functional through structural changes.

An interior decorator, on the other hand, is primarily responsible for visually upgrading your home interiors. Typically called in during a home renovation or improvement project, an interior decorator is in charge of choosing the furniture, furnishings, and other decor items and also works out their placement in your space. For instance, if you're looking to renovate your living room, an interior decorator can suggest the right sofa or couch, coffee table, and other living room furniture after evaluating your current space. For a new construction project, a decorator can help you decide the aesthetic, pick out a color scheme, purchase furniture, and choose matching accessories and furnishings.

The Partners

Interior designers are the brains behind your home improvement project and their role involves interacting with architects and contractors. By collaborating with other parties that are part of your home makeover or construction, an interior designer works to achieve a look and space as close to their original plan as possible.

Unlike designers who are brought on to home construction or improvement projects at the start, interior decorators come in much later. Since most of the structural work is complete by the time they come on board, their interactions with the architects or contractors are very rare. Interior decorators work with furniture manufacturers, upholsterers, and other professionals who deal with home decor items to source the correct items. Finally, an interior decorator works prominently with the homeowners to help achieve a look that appeals to them.

As you can see, there's a lot that's different between interior design and interior decor on a fundamental level. If you're looking for an in-depth design consultation to upgrade your home interiors or design your new home from scratch, CasaOne can help. We offer personalized design consultation with our design experts. Schedule your appointment right now.

Got Questions?

  • What is the difference between Interior Designer and Interior Decorator?

The primary difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator is fundamentally about their scope of work. While an interior designer is responsible for space planning, structural improvement, and the visual and design aesthetics of your home, an interior decorator functions to improve your home interiors on a purely visual level.

  • How does the skillset of an Interior Designer differ from that of an Interior Decorator?

An interior designer is expected to know about colors and fabrics, architecture, space management, computer-based design training, and drawing floor plans. The skills required by an interior decorator are mostly aesthetics and visuals based and focused on having a good sense of colors and styles. This is mostly something they pick up over time or are naturally blessed with.

  • What are the charges of Interior Designer and Interior Decorator?

Typically, interior designers charge an hourly rate for their services in the range of $75 to $90 because they are more involved in the home improvement project than an interior decorator. An interior decorator generally charges a one-time fee for their services in the range of $2500-$3000 depending on their experience and past projects.

  • What is the difference between Interior Designer and Interior Stylist?

An interior designer is more focused on the craft and function of a space, while an interior decorator or stylist is more interested in the look and beauty of a space. The former is responsible for making the home interior more beautiful and functional while the latter focuses on improving your home on a purely visual level.