Designer vs. Decorator. What’s the difference?


Designer or Decorator, what’s the difference?

Living room design

While the terms interior designer and interior decorator are often used interchangeably, the roles they take on actually differ quite a bit. So, what is the difference between a designer and a decorator? Both work in the field of interior design but have different roles and responsibilities. Below were outlining the key differences between the professions so you’ll know who to call to help you with your next project.


An interior designer is a licensed professional who is trained to create functional and safe interior spaces that meet the needs of their clients. They have a deep understanding of design principles, building codes, and construction materials, and they may be involved in the design of entire buildings, including structural changes and electrical and plumbing systems. Interior designers often work with architects and contractors to ensure that the design is properly executed.

In contrast, an interior decorator typically focuses on the aesthetic aspects of a space. They may select and arrange furniture, lighting, and decor to create a specific look or feel in a room. Interior decorators may not have formal training or licensing requirements, although share a strong sense of style and knowledge of design principles with designers.

Designers can handle the responsibilities of both professions while a decorator would not be able to tackle any renovation type projects.

Marble shower design

Areas of expertise

While there is overlap between the work of interior designers and decorators, the main difference lies in the scope of their work. Interior designers have a broader and more complex set of responsibilities, while interior decorators are focused more on the decorative elements of a space. However, both professions can help clients create beautiful and functional spaces that meet their needs and reflect their personal style. Designers are often on board during renovations and other projects involving construction. They can assist with custom buildings, mill work and cabinetry drawings, along with full building schedules. Decorators on the other hand are usually brought on board after any major construction work is complete. They will assist with paint selections, furnishings, and other types of decorative accessories. Your designer can do both, while your decorator may only be able to assist with aesthetic elements. 

As you can see there are some similarities between the two but also differ in some key ways. If you don’t know whether your project requires the help of a designer or decorator we can help walk you through it! Schedule a discovery call with us to chat details.

Kristin is a licensed interior designer and has worked in the field for over 10 years. Her and the Kozy team take on all types of projects, including full scale renovations, residential new constructions, room furnishings & decor, and even commercial work! Ready to book your next project with KozyKasa? Click here and let’s get started!

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