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Demystifying Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating

Park Place Living Room — Interior Design Project in San Francisco Bay Area


Let’s dive into the world of interior design and interior decorating, two terms that are often confused. While they share some similarities, they have different focuses and play unique roles in creating beautiful spaces. Join me as we explore the nuances of these disciplines in a friendly and approachable way.

Understanding Interior Design and Interior Decorating:

Interior Design: 

Interior design is like the conductor of a symphony, orchestrating all the elements of a space. Designers work on the big picture, considering layouts, structures, and how spaces function. They collaborate with architects and builders to make your vision a reality.

Interior Decorating: 

Think of interior decorating as the artistry that adds the finishing touches to a space. Decorators are the artists who choose colors, furniture, decor, and details to enhance a room’s visual appeal.

Let’s Call out the Differences: 

  • Interior Design: Focuses on the overall design, including layouts and functionality.
  • Interior Decorating: Concentrates on aesthetics and decor, enhancing what’s already there.

Education and Certification:
  • Interior Design: Requires formal education and certification.
  • Interior Decorating: While training is helpful, it’s not always required.

Structural Changes:
  • Interior Design: Can make structural changes like moving walls.
  • Interior Decorating: Enhances existing spaces without major construction.

Project Timeline:
  • Interior Design: Involved in the early stages, working with architects and builders.
  • Interior Decorating: Comes in later, once the construction is complete.

  • Interior Design: Collaborates closely with architects, contractors, and builders.
  • Interior Decorating: Works directly with clients to choose furnishings and decor.

Choosing the Right Path:

  • For major projects involving new construction or significant renovations, an interior designer is the go-to expert.
  • If your space is structurally sound but needs a makeover, an interior decorator can work their magic.

Interior design and interior decorating are both essential for creating beautiful spaces, each with its own unique focus. By understanding their differences, you can choose the right path to bring your design dreams to life.