A n interior designer and an interior decorator are two different professionals, though they are used quite interchangeably. There are some similarities and cross-functional involvement, but there is a significant difference between the two professions.
An interior designer works with architects providing holistic design solutions that are functional, the key to space utilization and applying aesthetics. An interior decorator, on the other hand, is not involved in designing or structural modifications. Their expertise lies in providing trendy ideas for space enhancement. Often they provide suggestions regarding accessorization, furnishing and upholstery.
Design Concepts, UAE, headquartered in Dubai, is an interior design company with design-build capabilities and having worked on projects across the UAE.
Four critical differentiators between an interior designer and interior decorator
Interior designers are required to complete a certified course specializing in the field. They must go through formal training in technical drawings, space planning, architecture, furniture designs, and even structural engineering. On the other hand, interior decorators do not need any formal qualification per se. However, some have college degrees in any related or unrelated stream. They are not required to have any technical qualification or license to operate.
2. Knowledge base
Interior Designers work with architects or consultants. They are expected to be well versed in the construction field, having good knowledge of structural mechanics, technical drawings, materials specifications and overall designing skills. They are expected to provide expert advice and, on several occasions, act as consultants on some projects. Decorators, on the other hand, are not involved in structural planning or any other mechanical process. Their expertise lies in knowing the latest trends and fashions, helping in space enhancement. They suggest soft furnishings like wallpaper colours, furniture styles, colours and shades of curtains and carpets.
3. Scope of work
A professional interior designer creates layouts and technical drawings and designs a room from scratch to the final touches. An interior designer’s role is not just a creative role that is merely design lead. However, more of a solution provider role to make spaces aesthetic and functional to meet client requirements. Experienced interior decorators skillfully enhance the look and feel of the space. They help with sprucing up an otherwise dull space by brightening up the soft furnishings like choosing lively colours for carpets, curtains, trendy furniture arrangements and other accessories.
4. Who hires them
Architect firms and contractors engage interior designers for large commercial projects or private home and business owners. They work as a team with the main stakeholders and help them achieve the desired space design and functionality. Interior decorators generally work with direct homeowners and executives with companies where the requirement is primarily cosmetic and soft makeover or space enhancement. They also
work with furniture makers, lighting retailers, upholsterers and other industries in providing space enhancement solutions to customers.