Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator: What’s the Difference?

Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator: What’s the Difference?

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Maybe you’ve been sitting around your home for too long and realized your space is in serious need of some new design changes. And in order to fall in love with your home all over again, you know you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional eye. But you’ve probably noticed that when it comes to people who work in home design, there are different titles—including interior designers and interior decorators—which are often used interchangeably. So which one do you need?

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Design vs. Decorating In a Nutshell

[vc_empty_space height=”10px”]Here’s the thing. Interior design and interior decorating are often mistaken as the same thing. And it’s true that there is some overlap in the two backgrounds, but they are, well, fundamentally different. Here’s why:

Interior decorating

A professional in this role has a goal to make a space as gorgeous as possible while working within its functionality. Think of them as personal stylists. Interior decorators take care of furnishing and beautifying a space in a way that reflects a homeowner’s personality and showcases their style.

Interior decorators concentrate on design elements like furniture, color palettes, textiles, and art—but they don’t usually work with architectural features, exterior elements, or the way a space functions the way an interior designer does. They might recommend changing the layout of a room’s furniture, or updating a home’s rustic farmhouse theme for something a bit more contemporary but are limited when it comes to moving walls, giving a house a better flow or making a bathroom more functional.

Interior design

The pros in this role (including yours truly) dig a little deeper into the psychology of the way people function with the spaces they live in. Yes it’s an art, but it’s also a science. In addition to having a refined eye for design, we understand interior architecture, renovations, and construction processes. They may have extensive construction backgrounds (like myself) in addition to decorating prowess. Interior designers concentrate on proper space planning, and we’re often involved in a renovation or even the construction of a home from the ground up. It’s why we’re often referred to as the design professionals who “move walls.”

In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design. We interior designers are passionate about getting a feel for who our clients are and how they want their homes to function. Then, we can implement thoughtful and stunning solutions to drastically improve the home experience of the people who live there. If interior decorators are the personal stylists of the design world, we are the psychology professors . . . who also went to art school.

Working with a Designer vs. a Decorator In Your Home: Which One Do You Need?

Still unsure who you need to help make over your home? An interior designer is usually your best bet because they can help either way. Need to completely renovate your space? An interior designer can help. Just need a refresh of your home’s “look”? An interior designer can still help. But if you’re considering structural changes in addition to an aesthetic makeover—such as knocking down a wall, adding new doors or windows, or moving the location of wiring or plumbing—an interior designer will be your best bet.

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Looking for Austin Interior Designers?

[vc_empty_space height=”10px”]Hiring an interior designer to redo your home is a big deal. But the most important thing is to choose someone who has both the savvy know-how and a jaw-droppingly beautiful portfolio to back it up. At J.Fisher Interiors, we’ve got the building experience and the eye for design to make your home look exactly the way you envision it—and then some! Contact us today, and let’s get started collaborating on your home’s fresh new face.


J.Fisher Interiors’ studio is located in east Austin. To schedule your consultation appointment, please fill out the contact form or call us at 512.954.0904. We would love to hear from you!

Interior Design Consultation

J.Fisher Interiors’ studio is located in east Austin. To schedule your consultation appointment, please fill out the contact form or call us at 512.954.0904. We would love to hear from you!