An interior designer is tasked with creating usable and aesthetically pleasing architectural spaces inside a physical structure. Interior design professionals typically study the behaviors and movements of individuals in the working and living environment in order to create spaces that are both attractive and functional. Interior designers know and understand the current design trends in the industry and can help guide homeowners through the process.
Interior designers may also perform the interior decorating work on the spaces they design. An interior decorator, by contrast, does not design the space in which he or she works. Instead, interior decorators focus on the furnishings, wall and floor treatments and artistic touches that provide ambience and atmosphere to the interior space.
Differences between hiring a designer vs. a decorator
Most interior design professionals are employed by construction or architectural firms and work in conjunction with builders and architects to design usable spaces for a variety of human activities. In other cases, interior designers may be called upon to create a functional and beautiful set of interior spaces for a private home. Generally, however, interior design experts work for builders and contractors rather than directly for private individuals. Sometimes interior designers work with architects to redesign a home's space to maximize existing space, before homeowners remodel to add more space to the home.
Interior decorators are typically hired by homeowners to improve the aesthetic appeal of an existing space. These interior decor experts usually specialize in commercial or residential spaces and may use lighting, wall treatments, flooring, furnishings and accessories to create a look pleasing to the owner or manager of the space in question.
An interior decorator can pick the perfect accessories that help a room make a statement in your house. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Lorna W.)
Benefits of hiring an interior designer or decorator
The services of a qualified interior designer are crucial in order to create usable spaces for working and living. Contractors and builders depend on these professionals to provide advice on a variety of ergonomic and acoustic issues and to help in the design of lighting and traffic flow patterns that make sense in the specific interior environment.
Homeowners can benefit significantly by enlisting the help of an interior decorator when remodeling or revamping their living and working areas. Interior decorators are knowledgeable about the effects of color and the right use of accessories to create an illusion of greater space or to provide a cozy, comfortable environment for everyday living. Interior decorators can also help homeowners avoid common decorating mistakes.