People talk about an interior designer and a decorator as two professionals who do exactly the same thing, but nothing is furthest from the truth. Although both may possess the same abilities and talents to create gorgeous spaces, there are important differences between the two.
So, what exactly are these differences that are so fundamental but still not recognized even by dictionaries?
As the American Society of Interior-Designers states, an interior designer is a person who is “professionally trained to create a functional and quality interior environment. Qualified through education, experience, and examination, a professional designer can identify, research and creatively resolve issues and lead to a healthy, safe and comfortable physical environment.” Basically, interior design is the art and science of understanding human behavior so as to create living spaces.
Interior-designers have lots of responsibilities; they organize a space to work for a certain activity; they ensure the designs comply with building and safety codes; they manage the whole process of construction and installation of a design; they design for the right acoustics and lighting; they are responsible for choosing the fixtures, furnishings, products, materials and colors.
In many states, interior designers require a license to work, and they have to take a test to earn it. Only then, is the interior designer acknowledged as a professional with the right qualifications to make difficult decisions in regards to living spaces.
In contrast, interior decorators only worry about the surface decoration, this is, fabrics, paint, furnishings, lighting, and other materials. Decoration is the act of adorning and furnishing a space with beautiful things.
Besides doing the above, interior designers also have to worry about many other things. While a decorator will just have to select the floor’s type, color, and texture, the designer will have to also consider the use it will be given, the acoustics it will produce, how flammable it is, its toxic properties, and the static electricity requirements, among others.
The interior designer’s main concern is the human interaction and behavior that will accompany a space; this is not so for the interior decorator. The decorator centers on visual beauty, while the designer works to make beautiful work in terms of functionality, efficiency, and safety as well.