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The difference between an Interior designer and an interior decorator

What is the difference between an Interior designer and an interior decorator?

This is an age-old question in the interior world! And I wanted to explain the differences to you once and for all!

So here it is:

Interior decorators and interior designers are technically very different. However, there are some elements that overlap because both have to work together for the final look of the space they are renovating.


Both the interior decorator and the interior designer are creative. They work with the client to create a space that enhances living/work space and lifestyle according to their clients’ brief. They both have a budget to work with.


The interior decorator is generally more cosmetic. The focus is on styling the finished space with soft furnishings and décor to enhance the space created. In essence, they dress the space up to look the part. For example they’ll work with the interior designer and choose tiles, colours, styles for the bathroom as well as the mirror on the wall with plants and candles to make the place look and feel a certain way.

The interior designer is more technical. They draw up a plan to show the client and their team how the finished look will be. They create a design using the space the architect has planned. Their focus is to enhance the space, making it a space that can be used well, is easy to access and that also fits the clients brief.

They look at kitchen designs, bathroom designs, bespoke joineries, what doors to use, handles, windows – so all the technical side of the design element.

So who do I need?

This depends on YOU and your project. There are some home renovators who do not need an interior designer and can quite happily boss the architect and builder about with their vision. As long as they’re clear and the vision works, chances are the architect and builders will agree with the plan and advice against it where possible/needed.

Then there are the home renovators who simply cannot wait for the building work to be completed so that they can start decorating, therefore not really needing an interior decorator.

So it all depends. If you’re hands-on, you don’t need them. If you want to walk into a show home without lifting a finger (apart from writing cheques) then you need both!

And finally.. What am I? I’m an interior ARCHITECT! No I am not a qualified architect and I know this sounds confusing – it is! So I’ll explain the difference here too! Check out more info here!

I am an interior architect, which means I support builders and interior designers with THEIR job. I make sure they know where the big stuff, the fixtures, the non-removable fittings that will cost a lot to change go.. That’s the fittings for the lights, bathtubs, kitchen layout, stove, and fireplaces. All the while, working with the space the Architects have designed and interior designers have planned. I talk about budgets and provide tools to the home renovator so that they can plan and keep tabs on their finances and the next steps so they don’t feel overwhelmed and know what’s going on throughout the journey.

Check out my Youtube page for a video with Interior designer Charley Morgan and yours truly talking about these differences!


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