Interior design vs interior decoration are 2 similar but different types of interior professional consulting work for a given space. Many new students entering into the interior consulting industry can easily confused by the 2 terms and quite distinctive profession. Before anyone wish to enter into the interior consulting career, you should understand clearly the difference between interior design vs interior decoration. It is important to understand theses 2 professions as they both may perform similar tasks but each profession do play a different type of role and carry different types of responsibilities.
For new students, these differences are important to be defined as some student may not enjoy some of the roles, tasks and responsibilities involved within either of the interior consulting profession and may then have preference toward to become an Interior Decorator and not an Interior Designer or vis- versa.
Lets first talk about Interior Decoration.
Interior Decoration – Role and Responsibilities
Interior decoration is an exciting profession. However, the work and role of a professional Interior Decorator vs an Interior Designer is similar in some areas but also different in many areas on an interior design project.
As an Interior Decorator, you will be working with your client on different types of interior projects. However, Interior Decorator mostly focus on residential interior projects for existing homes. In most cases, an Interior Decorator will be engaged by home Owners or Developers to decorate/redecorate their interior spaces rather to resolve a functional issues or an aesthetic issues. As a part of the interior decoration work, the Interior Decorator perform tasks which may include but are not limited to the following:
- gets to be creative
- drawings and sketches
- design work
- color renderings
- manual drafting
- computer aided drafting
- space planning
- selecting color
- selecting artworks
- selecting materials and finishes
- selecting lighting fixtures and furnitures
- arrangement of furnitures
- staging a home or space
- creating sample color and finish boards
- meetings with clients
- meetings and coordinating with consultants
- meetings and coordinating with Contractors
- job site visit and reviews
Some of the advantages in becoming an Interior Decorator is that acquiring the training and education for it is simpler and much less costly. There are many online interior decorating courses and schools with tuition fees ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
The length of time and the learning curve require to be trained as an Interior Decorator can also be much shorter compare to an Interior Designer training. Most interior decorating training can ranges from a few months to a year (part time studies).
Normally, Interior Decorators do not work for Interior Designers or Architects offices. Many graduates operate their own interior decorating studio or be employed by real estate Developers, Builders, home decor companies and interior supplies’ companies to name a few. Many Interior Decorators also move on for more educations to become an Interior Designer.
Interior Design – Role and Responsibilities
Being an Interior Designer is also an exciting career. One of the major difference between interior design vs interior decorating is that an Interior Designer most of the time are involved in commercial interior projects and less on residential projects.
Furthermore, other major differences between interior design vs interior decorating is that an Interior Designer may redesign the entire space including removing and constructing new load-bearing walls and other structural items, branding and graphic design, designing new millwork, furnitures and lighting fixtures to commercial kitchen design etc. Many Interior Designers also act as project managers for the project as well performing tasks from project costing, contract and construction administration, review shop drawings, job site reviews and deal with City officials etc.
For an Interior Designer, some of the roles and responsibilities include the following:
- all of the tasks by Interior Decorator as listed above
- spatial programming
- feasibility study
- detail design development
- corporate image and branding design
- construction/working drawings
- 3D color renderings
- project costing
- project management and coordination
- work with Engineers and Architects
- construction and contract administrations
- designing furnitures, light fixtures and other millworks
- often work in a team
- can be more creative and challenging due to the size and types of projects
- and more
Unlike becoming an Interior Decorator, to become an Interior Designer can be long and costly. At the moment, there are very little to none online interior design training courses or schools. Many aspiring interior design students will need to spend over 4-5 years at a College or University to study interior design with tuition fees ranging from $4,000 – $8,000 per year. Students may go to a technical institute and spend 1-2 years of studying with a tuition fees raging from $2,000 (for 1 year) – $10,000 or more depending on the selected school. You can learn more by reading this article what subjects are needed to become an Interior Designer.
Lastly, some Interior Designers, like Interior Decorators, operate their own interior design office. However, Interior Designers are employed by interior design studios and Architects offices. There are also some chose to work for various Developers, large institutes and Government departments.
Depending the type of interior projects and companies you are involve with, the salary/wages between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator can also be different.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration Summary
There is no doubt the 2 interior professions are exciting ,challenging and creative. It is again very important for any new students thinking of entering into either of the professions to clearly understand the roles and responsibilities of the two and the type of tasks you may be expected to perform once you have completed your interior design training. You may choose one over another or you may even choose to be both.
- understand the difference between interior design vs interior decorating
- clearly understands the roles, responsibilities and task that will be require for each profession
- you can start by taking some introductory level courses first before deciding
- review your project preferences rather you enjoy residential design more or commercial design or both
- the learning curve will be higher to become an Interior Designer